20-08-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
Today, Friday, August 20, is a very important day for Kenyan politics, just under a year from the national elections whose campaign, between the pandemic restrictions that prohibit rallies and rallies and attempts to change the constitution through a popular referendum, has more than begun.
Today the High Court of Kenya will pronounce the appeal ruling regarding the legitimacy of the so-called BBI (Building Bridges Initiative), the bipartisan initiative of the government and opposition to change some articles of the country's constitution, including those that define the current pyramid of power (READ HERE WHAT THE BBI PROPOSES). As those who follow us have already read in the past, President Uhuru Kenyatta's attempt is to add, making a parallel with Italy, to the figure of the President of the Council, who brings together the self also the powers of the President of the Republic. In this way, since after the second term he can no longer present himself as the leader of the Government, he could cede the scepter of command and eventually fill the new figure of President (READ HERE HOW THE POWER COULD CHANGE IN KENYA WITH THE BBI).
In the design of Kenyatta, an exponent of the Kikuyu ethnic group, there is also the will to give the historic leader of the opposition, already defeated twice in the elections, Raila Odinga (of Luo ethnic group), the possibility at 77 years old (he will be many next August) to realize his dream of being head of state.
The two promoters of the BBI have already received a first "no" from the Court of Nairobi.
In addition to the judges who will decide today (Odinga has already announced that he will not present a third appeal to the Supreme Court), the two most influential politicians in Kenya, must defend themselves from the current Vice President William Ruto who symbolizes the "new advances" and who has been at different times the dauphin of both. Ruto not only did not subscribe to the idea of the BBI but, convinced that he has his own chances as the next president, he founded his own party, the UDA (United Democratic Alliance), bringing with him some elements from the governing coalition Jubilee and others from the opposition party ODM.
As if that were not enough, Odinga's former allies, leaders of the other four opposition political groups and exponents of as many ethnic groups, instead of following the leader for whom they campaigned in the last round, have decided to unite and present their own candidate in the elections, which could therefore be the first in Kenya with three potentially winning leaders.
Musalia Mudavadi, sixty years old of the Luhya ethnic group (the second largest in Kenya after the Kikuyu) and former vice president in 2002 is the founder of the Amani Movement (Peace), Moses Wetangula, from the same tribe as Mudavadi and four years older, is a member of the moderate Ford party, Kalonzo Musyoka, 67 years old and another vice president of Kenya (from 2008 to 2013) represents the Kamba ethnic group and the Wiper Movement. Finally, a new entry for the "rooms of the buttons", but an important name: Gideon Moi, son of Kenya's second president Daniel Arap Moi and senator of Kalenjin ethnicity, the same as Vice President William Ruto.
These four leading figures in Kenyan politics have decided to assert their weight of votes and strategies, forming in turn a new alliance, called OKA (One Kenya Alliance).
The move has displaced Raila Odinga, who was convinced to have at least his two loyal Mudavadi, Wetangula with him (the Luo and Luhya regions are close and historically the two ethnic groups are "cousins"), but also Musyoka who after a career in the ranks of the majority, in the last two elections had joined Odinga.
This is not the case and now the "Four of the wild OKA" seem to have a good portfolio of votes to bring in dowry to assert their rights, for a possible vice-presidency.
In any case, meetings with Kenyatta and Odinga have already begun and in the one last Thursday the OKA reserved the right to give indications on their intentions after today's High Court ruling. In case of victory of the BBI, in fact, the important seats would be 6: President of the Republic with two vice presidents and President of the Council with other 2 deputies. By rule there would be room for everyone. If, however, the attempt to change the constitution were to be frustrated by a negative sentence even on appeal, the seats would be only 2, with Kenyatta out of the game. At this point Raila Odinga, in the presumption of bringing home the majority of votes, could offer to one of the four OKAs the vice-presidency. In a nutshell, from tomorrow the pre-election season will officially begin, amidst strategies, negotiations, buying and selling, underground maneuvers, snubs and betrayals.
With a third litigant that none of the six molossi of Kenyan politics would like to see enjoy.
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