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Similar to the seismic impact of the 2018 handshake between then-President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga, the emerging dynamics of Raila’s connections, which suggest a clandestine understanding with President William Ruto, are causing significant disruptions in political alignments.

The aftermath of the Raila-Uhuru handshake saw the National Super Alliance (Nasa) irreparably fractured, with co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress, ANC), and Moses Wetang’ula forming the One Kenya Alliance in collaboration with Kanu National Chairman Gideon Moi. This left Raila, with the assistance of Uhuru, in search of a new coalition.

The complexities of the Raila-Uhuru handshake are echoing in the evolving relationship between Raila and Ruto, dubbed as a “bromance” within Azimio. This coalition, born from the remnants of Nasa, is now facing increasing scrutiny and pressure.

The future of Raila’s party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party, appears uncertain, marked by succession politics. Political analyst Charles Njoroge suggests that the party may confront a significant challenge, as Raila’s potential success could leave it without a clear leader, potentially putting it to the test in its most critical period yet.

“The party may face what the former ruling party faced – disintegration and emergence of factions… Should Raila succeed in his quest, the Jubilee party misfortunes will befall ODM and it will be a major transition of Kenya’s party politics,” Njoroge opined.

Oparanya, one of ODM’s deputy party leaders, emphasized in an interview with The Standard that there is no internal discord within ODM, asserting that the party remains robust and unified.

He likened discussions of succession within the party to premature inheritance planning while one’s parents are still alive, emphasizing the need for unity and solidarity while Raila Odinga is still at the helm.

Regarding political alliances, Oparanya acknowledged the likelihood of Raila forming a new coalition for the 2027 elections but stated that it is premature to delve into specifics at this stage.

He noted that historically, political alliances tend to take shape closer to the general election, drawing parallels to the formation of the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) in 2002.

“While it is true that political alliances are formed a few months to the general election just like how National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) was formed in 2022, it’s too early to start discussing who will form which coalition with who,” he said.

As Kalonzo maneuvers strategically, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and Jubilee’s Jeremiah Kioni have shifted their focus back to the Mt Kenya region. They have rallied support from various smaller political parties for the upcoming Limuru Three conference scheduled for April 20. The objective of this gathering is to chart the region’s path forward, with an eye towards forming a political alliance for the 2027 presidential campaign.


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