As he makes what many perceive to be his last stab for Presidency, albeit with four of his fiercest critics plotting how to stop him, Raila by his words and actionis sending out one message: He will fight to the bitter end and is leaving nothing to chance.
Barring any changes to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission March 4, 2013 date for the national exercise, it is just eight months to election, and therefore the race is getting hotter and the contenders more determined to make the best of the time left.
Raila, who still leads in opinion polls no doubt faces the stiffest opposition, especially given the four other key contenders have serious grudges against him, this week launched his campaign website.
He also hosted last night a Sh100, 000 a plate dinner-cum-fundraiser. And, this weekend he has a long campaign programme in the Rift Valley, where he is taking the battle to the doorsteps of Eldoret North MP William Ruto.
Apart from Ruto, the other three contenders who have misgivings about their past dealings with Raila, and whose actions in the coming months may determine if it is one of them who would be at State House or they would all lose to Raila are Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi, and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka.
For the time being, the four are campaigning separately for themselves and their own parties, but even in this set-up, Ruto, Uhuru and sometimes Kalonzo maintain they are forging an alliance within which they hope to produce a joint or compromise presidential candidate.
Very likely this is the G7 Alliance, which for the last few months Kalonzo has stayed away from, likely because of the suspicion Ruto and Uhuru, along with some of their allies, hold that he is an opportunist waiting to reap from the possible derailment from running by International Criminal Court.
But this may no longer be an issue, not only because Ruto and Kalonzo shared a platform recently, but also because ICC prosecution did not resist the bid to have the cases tried in after March elections. The Judges are yet to rule on the matter.
Force a run-off
But two interesting developments among the politicians perceived to be keen on all running to force a run-off against Raila, after which they would back the one closest to the PM whether as number one or two, have drawn national attention.
First, it is Uhuru’s search for an alliance with Mudavadi, capped by the elders he sent to him in May in Kakamega, and growing pressure in his Central backyard to work with Mudavadi, who was his running mate in 2002. This has not gone down well with Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa, who is now building a new political home.
Also believed to have been stunned by this move, was Ruto, whose supporters were baffled by the mild reception and low attention he was accorded during Uhuru’s launch of The National Alliance in May.
It was shortly after this that Ruto, too, had a private meeting with Mudavadi, against the backdrop of unverified claims he had also been in secret talks with Raila, brokered by a former top State House official during the Kanu regime.
Secondly, because it now looks more likely ICC would not stop Ruto and Uhuru from running, the duo’s game plan said to have been anchored onto picking of a ‘compromise’ candidate, seems to have lost premium. This is probably why the two politicians are busy building their different parties – TNA and United Republican Party.
But because of the bitter circumstances in which the four parted with Raila, it is expected that they would campaign as much for themselves as they would against Raila, who remains their most formidable opponent.