In Kenya, incumbent President Mwai Kibaki has reportedly received a significant boost to his second term bid, after immediate past President Daniel Arap Moi declared support for his candidature, ahead of this year’s presidential election. Moi’s endorsement ends months of speculation that the two men were in the process of forming a political alliance. However, Kibaki is yet to formally declare his candidacy for the December elections. Meanwhile, recent polls show incumbent President Kibaki taking a commanding lead, followed by Raila Odinga of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), with Kalonzo Musyoka of the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-Kenya) coming at a distant third.
Joseph Magud is a Kenyan political analyst. From the capital, Nairobi he shares with reporter Peter Clottey the significance of the former president’s endorsement.
“Politically speaking you reckon the fact that Moi commands monstrously huge resources in the country and also enjoys huge network and intelligence machinery as we speak. And so, I think for Kibaki it is going to be a plus for him because in a sense, the moment he backs Moi, one would also come up to say with Moi’s residual influence, he may be one way or the other able to get a few votes. But on the other hand you reckon the fact that Moi has a legacy that does not reverberate well across the country. And this may have negative ramification on Kibaki,” Magud pointed out.
He said the opposition is in the process of belittling the influence the former president’s endorsement might have on President Kibaki’s candidature in the December election.
“Already the opposition apparently is making grit in the political mill as we speak now to the effect that the incumbent President Kibaki has essentially turned out to be another project of the retired President Moi,” he said.
Magud said politics makes strange bedfellows given that the former president had previously not seen eye to eye with incumbent President Kibaki.
“You reckon that in politics the first article and the last article is interest, and essentially as they say there are no permanent interest. Kibaki and Moi have had a long history; remember that Kibaki was Moi’s vice president for as along as 12 years, and so these folks have had a long history. Number two; I tend to have a general feeling that Moi tends to think that he is part of this government. Recall the fact that he was recently appointed as a special envoy to the southern Sudan as a mediator. One would also say this that I think Moi’s long-term interest is essentially to strategically place it on (Kibaki) for the next general elections. And I think he really wants to secure a good place politically speaking for him,” Magud noted.
He said Kenyans have received Moi’s endorsement of President Kibaki with mixed feelings.
“I think the reaction across the country has been a mixed bag. But generally the reverberating message is that there are fears that Moi’s pronouncement may have negative ramification on Kibaki’s campaign. On the other hand, there are also fears that this essentially may give Kibaki another feather on his cap,” he said.
Magud said although the opposition seems divided, the former president’s endorsement pronouncement might not have a significant effect on the opposition’s chances of winning the December election.
“I think it’s critical to understand this that Moi’s support for Kibaki may not really cut much ice. As a political reader, I think this may not make much impact, politically speaking for Kibaki,” Magud said.