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Kenya’s Political Landscape Heats up Ahead of December Elections

Kenya’s former President Daniel Arap Moi and members of the opposition KANU-Party are reportedly campaigning for incumbent President Mwai Kibaki ahead of this year’s presidential elections. Observers believe there is a gentleman’s agreement between Moi and President Kibaki for the former president to deliver his party base for Kibaki. Meanwhile, Kalonzo Musyoka, leader of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-Kenya) says he is ready to work with members of the other opposition Orange Democratic party (ODM). Musyoka split with the ODM last month, saying only he could defeat incumbent President Kibaki.

Ali Mustapha is a Kenyan political analyst. From the capital, Nairobi he shares with reporter Peter Clottey his views about Kenya’s political landscape ahead of this year’s presidential elections.

“What you are hearing is just a fraction of KANU that is trying to work with NARC-Kenya. Former President Daniel Arap Moi who is now talking with the current president Kibaki, I think he has promised Kibaki that he can deliver some votes, particularly, the Rift Valley province. Now, that faction, which is spearheaded by Nicholas Biwott and perhaps Gideon Moi is just a small faction within KANU,” Mustapha noted.

He said he does not see a coalition between the ODM and the ODM-Kenya ahead of this year’s poll.

“I’m not sure about that. Kalonzo has realized that what he remained with that is ODM-Kenya is just a shell. ODM, which is led by luminaries like, Raila Odinga, Musailia Mudavadi, and the rest, is very intact and it is from the last weekend rally, which they held in Eldorett attracting very large crowd,” he said.

Mustapha said Musyoka needs a coalition to salvage his presidential ambitions, which he said looks dim at the moment.

“Musyoka himself held a meeting over the weekend in the coastal town of Mombassa with Charity Ngilu to see if they can have a coalition. What is actually happening now in Kenya is that the different regions are having meetings and trying to look at ways they can get themselves into power, and the politics itself has become very, very tribalized,” Mustapha pointed out.

He said he regrets tribal sentiments would play a significant role in this year’s presidential election.

“I think the way things are going, it is going to be tribal groupings from the provinces. This is how I think it is going to go, and then the tribal groupings will just form coalitions. I think what they are trying to look at is which of the groupings or the coalitions that can muster particularly the 25% votes in five provinces in Kenya, that is what is going on. Most of these politicians are just dealing with issues of political expediency and immediacy. This is taking the country backwards and is not very healthy for democracy,” he said.