After reading what Kenya’s mainstream press write about events in Orange Democratic Movement – Kenya (ODM-K), and after watching both Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila Odinga appear in KTN’s ‘The Road to State House’ series, we have made telling observations regarding the leading presidential candidates of what has been Kenya’s unofficial opposition party.

It is obvious that Kalonzo believes it is only him who can be president besides anybody else. Raila on the other hand believes he is a strong candidate, but has left his fate to ODM-K’s members. It is also worth noting that both gentlemen acknowledge none of them can individually succeed in winning the presidency on their own.

Kalonzo Musyoka used some demeaning words when making reference to his fellow candidates in ODM-K. He feels that none of them are worth being his competitors in democracy and actually says they were ‘planted’ in order to derail his chances at a time he was leading in opinion polls. He alleges some candidates will withdraw to a pre-determined consensus position that will favour one candidate, yet it is only him and William Ruto who are supporting consensus as a method of nominating ODM-K candidate. What hypocrisy is this?

The fact of the matter is, all ODM candidates have been cabinet ministers. In addition, Musalia Mudavadi has been a Vice President while Raila Odinga was NDP presidential candidate in 1997 general elections where he emerged third overall. All ODM-K presidential candidates are Kenyan citizens with vast political and public service experience that is at par, if not superior to that of Kalonzo Musyoka. It seems that Kalonzo is implying that these gentlemen and lady vying for ODM-K ticket are not qualified in their own right to seek the presidency.

Kalonzo made claims that if he summoned his supporters to the streets of Nairobi, business would come to a standstill. Kalonzo also claimed that his defection to LPK from LDP (both ODM-K constituent parties) had received accolades across the country. Facts on the ground prove otherwise. His ratings on the opinions polls are on a downward trend, while that of his rivals are on an upward trend. His own Garissa public rally (so far the only one outside Ukambani) was met with sceptism from Muslim leaders who felt Kalonzo’s strong Christian background could make him hostile to Muslims when elected president. He was also accused of wrecking ODM-K from within. That does not sound like accolades, or does it?

And what has Team Leader – Mutula Kilonzo been telling journalists about the status of ODM-K? It is a political party and not a coalition as Kalonzo is trying to convince Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kalonzo further claimed that when the LDP conducted its grassroot elections, his camp won control of over 150 branches out of total 210 branches and that Joseph Kamotho ( who has vowed to campaign for the re-election of Mwai Kibaki) and David Musila would have been confirmed as LDP’s Secretary General and Chairman respectively. Kenyan’s who have been following ODM-K politics know that it is impossible for Messrs. Raila, Musalia, and Balala to have the support from less than 60 LDP branches (sic). In any case, why should Kalonzo be a hypocrite when he opposes registered officials in LDP but accepts those registered in ODM-K?

Kalonzo went ahead to claim that he was going for presidency in 2002 but Raila Odinga ambushed him by declaring ‘Kibaki Tosha’. Obviously, unlike Simeon Nyachae of FORD-P, Kalonzo compromised his principles to stand down for Kibaki and agree to serve in his cabinet as Minister for Foreign Affairs and later as Environment Minister. A letter to the Standard Editor last week described Kalonzo’s antics ‘wrongful, arrogant and preposterous!’ Mudavadi, Saitoti and Raila were all in the running for KANU’s presidential ticket before President Moi anointed Uhuru Kenyatta and all of them including Kalonzo Musyoka were in LDP wing that formed NARC. This is an open fact.

Kalonzo further claims he is the best bet to beat president Kibaki without deducing any facts. The report he quotes from the Council of Elders shows his inability to deliver his supporters to the ODM-K team if he is not the candidate was his strongest point. The report itself, we have now come to learn, was on the basis of two provinces, Eastern and Nyanza. Moreover, it was prepared by an individual allied to Kalonzo serving in the sub-committee appointed by the Council of Elders. The purported report itself was never adopted by neither the sub-committee or the Council of Elders itself, so the same individual (an MP from Coast province) leaked to the press, in order to glorify his preferred candidate.

The most outrageous lie was that ‘Secretary General’ Abraham Chepkonga was kidnapped to make him surrender ODM-K. Kidnap is a criminal offence. Why hasn’t any report be made to the police? This was an appalling lie given the fact that the man surrendered the party in full view of cameras? Messrs. Maanzo and Chepkonga have both resigned their posts in writing and that incident was the second time Chepkonga was resigning. The court case filed by Maanzo is aimed at preventing the Registrar’s office from registering any other set of officials apart from his group. Doesn’t Maanzo have faith in his own genuine capacity as Chairman?

And in any case,  does Kalonzo Musyoka in his right mind believe Abraham Chepkonga (originally employed as a driver to one of ODM-K officials) should be Secretary General and not Prof. Ayang.Nyongo, someone whose qualifications and experience makes him a ripe candidate for Kenya to nominate as United Nations Secretary General?

Kenyans need to be very observant before they make decisions to elect some personalities to leadership positions.

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