Addressing the media on Tuesday, August 17, in Naivasha, OKA members announced that they will present one of their own principals as the coalition’s flag bearer after the conclusion of their deliberations.
The declaration is likely to result in a run-off in the upcoming general elections in which Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga have expressed interest in the presidential seat.
“As the ‘Great Rift Valley Declaration’, we hereby unequivocally state that One Kenya Alliance will field a presidential candidate in next yearâ€™s General Election. And the fifth president is here.
“Therefore, our vision and mission is to resuscitate Kenya’s economy and hence, we require practical solutions to the economic challenges our people are grappling with. Empty narratives and sloganeering on economic models are not the antidote to our challenges,” read the OKA statement in part.
Three principals of OKA seeking the presidential ticket are Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, his Wiper Party counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka and Kenya African National Union (KANU) leader Gideon Moi.
They met in Naivasha, days after President Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly pressured them to shelve their ambitions in favour of Raila.
Speaking to kenyagist.com, political analysts Mark Bichachi concurred that OKA’s decision not to support the ODM Leader hurt his chance of cruising through his competition into State House without necessarily suffering a run-off.
DP Ruto, on the other hand, has been building a strong movement under the hustler banner with his newly formed United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
Bichachi further reckoned that the four principles constituting OKA did not stand a chance at winning the presidency, judging by their performance in previous elections.
“Raila has inroads into Western (Kenya). If you withdraw Mudavadi, he has lost inroads. Whereas they may not necessarily bring him down completely, they do damage his chances. They do not damage it to the extent that they will win.
“(OKA) is making a critical miscalculation which is, ‘will they be able to hold their constituencies together?’ Does Mudavadi command all the Luhyas? No. Gideon Moi is not going to bring them any votes. From the Rift, he might not even make it to be Senator. Whatever they are speaking, when you look at it pragmatically, there is nothing they are saying there,” he stated.
He further noted that Ruto has a strong following in Rift Valley as well as some of the Mt Kenya vote, while Raila has the Luo vote as well as part of the vote from Luhya, Kisii as well as the Coast region.
“If they don’t support Raila, they have to remember how many votes they (Kalonzo) got in 2007 and how many they got in 2013 (Mudavadi). The truth of the matter is that it was not many. Mudavadi had 470,000 votes in 2013.
“They have to understand that Kenyans generally vote for the candidate they think is going to win,” he added.
The four principals opposed a call by President Uhuru Kenyatta to support the former Prime Minister for the top job during a meeting the Head of State convened in Mombasa on August 10.
Since then, Raila has formalised his party’s coalition with Jubilee Party ahead of the General Election when the latter’s National Management Committee and Parliamentary leadership approved a pre-election coalition agreement with Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).