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Since he became prime minister, Raila Odinga has been losing friends faster than he has made them

Odinga suspended Ruto from his ministe- rial position to pave the way for investiga- tions on a maize scandal. President Mwai Kibaki later quashed Odinga’s decision. Since then Odinga and Ruto have ceased to be bosom buddies. During the run-up to the constitutional

referendum, Ruto decided to go against the grain. Observers say Ruto used this occasion to judge his popularity. In a mini reshuffle Odinga had his way, when Ruto was demoted from the agriculture posting to the less glamorous higher education portfolio, from which he has since been removed on separate corruption charges. Tat matters have not been rosy in

ODM is now Kenya’s worst-kept secret. Te frosty relations in ODM were fuelled by the arraignment of Ruto on corruption charges. Tis move, rather than cement cracks in the party, widened the rift. With Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, becom- ing involved under the aegis of prosecut- ing the masterminds of the 2007-2008 post-election skirmishes, ODM has now hit the rocks and the damage is becoming more visible. When Ocampo released his list of the

six personalities said to “bear the greatest responsibility” for the deaths and violence, a curious name appeared – that of Henry Kosgey, the minister for industrialisation. Just three weeks after Kosgey was named as a suspect, he was charged in court with 12 counts of corruption. Kosgey’s misfor- tunes have turned out to be ODM’s Achil- les’ heel as coincidentally, Kosgey hails from the same community as Ruto. Te general view being peddled is that Odinga has abandoned the Kalenjin. Ocampo’s ac- tions, however well-intentioned, are now being seen as part of a wider scheme in Kenya’s 2012 general elections and the ICC is being seen to act on Odinga’s behest. Tis facet has rankled Odinga’s loyal-

ists, who have come out strongly in his defence, led by Musalia Mudavadi, the Deputy Prime Minister. “Since the forma- tion of the coalition government, a small group of MPs have continued to make one illogical allegation after another meant to

smear ODM and undermine the party leadership. Tere has been a propaganda campaign by some leaders determined to create an impression that the PM is taking people to Te Hague and that in some cases, he [has decided] who was on the list and who was not. Could ODM have connived to convict its own? Who- ever is pushing this agenda is not doing it for the coalition government but is on a partisan and personal agenda. It is also a serious display of poor judgement [...] for a party member to threaten a departure that never happens. Tree years is a long time to be packing your belongings while issuing threats to your spouse,” he fumes.

“ Failing to quell

rebellion in his own party, Odinga will have to go an extra mile to replace a sizeable lost chunk of his former electoral constituency”

But Ruto and his allies moved fast to

assuage Kosgey’s predicament, to the cha- grin of Odinga, who has his eyes set on the presidency, come 2012. “Kenyans are watching the unfold-

ing scenario with a lot of interest. In my opinion Raila’s quest for the presidency is as good as dead,” says Fred Kapondi, an ODM member of parliament. In its heyday, the ODM was not just a

political party but also a mass movement. It was a gigantic political machine arous- ing deep emotions and with a revolution- ary streak. Tree years later and all that gravitas held by what is arguably one of Kenya’s most exciting political establish- ments, has gone down the tubes. But Ababu Namwamba, the Secretary

of ODM’s parliamentary group, is playing down the party’s current troubles. “ODM is more than a political party. It is a cause, a journey to a better Kenya for all, a mass movement anchored on the dreams, pas- sions and energies of ordinary Kenyans. It is only natural that such a force would face challenges, as has been witnessed with

movements like the ANC with the exit of Tabo Mbeki. Such hiccups are sometimes a blessing in disguise,” says Namwamba. But Ruto chooses to differ: “It is sad

that Mr Odinga destroyed ODM im- mediately we began the coalition govern- ment. He first denounced the youth who supported him through demonstrations and who were later arrested. He later went ahead to make sure there were Kalenjin Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by forcefully evicting them out of the Mau.” It is just a matter of time before ODM

suffers the same fate as many others, ac- cording to Ruto, and before its exponents decamp to another party. Kenyan politics is famed for politicians who abandon their parties and reinvent themselves. Indeed, a glimpse into Kenyan history reveals that its political parties are not built on ideol- ogy and they hardly survive, although the politicians mutate and reinvent themselves.

KKK gaining ground A new political grouping championed by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta dubbed “KKK” – an acronym for Kikuyu, Kamba and Kalenjin – is fast gaining currency, largely attributed to ODM’s internal squabbling, President Kibaki’s PNU’s (Party of National Unity) lack of coher- ence and ODM-Kenya’s problems. Incidentally Kalonzo, Uhuru and Ruto

are all former Kenya African National Union (KANU) stalwarts. Teir conver- gence of need has warmed former Presi- dent Daniel Moi’s heart, as he is reportedly enjoying the break-up of ODM. “Te trouble in ODM is a turning

point in Kalenjin politics for [those] peo- ple who chose to join ODM without plan- ning and consulting. People should try to avoid jumping from one party to another... I urge you all to come back to KANU and we will work collectively. As an elder I will forgive you all and we will work together,” Moi is recently reported to have said. For failing to quell internal rebellion

in his own party, Odinga will have to go an extra mile, to either regain or recruit new allies to replace a sizeable lost chunk of his former electoral constituency. As Odinga shuttles to the 2012 general elec- tions his chances of the ultimate prize are compromised by his party’s excessive internal haemorrhage and his inability to keep friends.

New African March 2011 | 27

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