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How Muthama defied odds to broker Raila, Kalonzo deal

By By Moses Njagih and Martin Mutua
Updated Wed, December 5th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Moses Njagih and Martin Mutua

When Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama first walked out of the G7 alliance in a huff to join Prime Minister Raila Odinga and left his boss Vice- President Kalonzo Musyoka early this year he was dismissed and shunned.

And when he insisted his boss would team up with ODM there were denials from a section of party MPs who insisted they were still in G7.

Only Mutula Kilonzo, who is also the Wiper secretary-general, read from the same page as Muthama.

Muthama was at the centre of the coalition agreement arrived at between the leaders of the two parties, ODM and Wiper, playing key roles in pulling Kalonzo to Raila’s side even as other forces from his party appeared to prefer a deal with Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.

The Kangundo MP, a close ally of Kalonzo, also credited with brokering the deal that brought the VP and President Kibaki together after ODM disputed the 2007 election results, was at it again, pulling the strings and ensuring the Raila deal materialised.

Muthama, hitherto a key personality in G7, which brought together Kalonzo, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto ended any dealings with the group at the time when the VP appeared sidelined by the two and started engaging Raila for a deal.

The MP, who is also the joint Government Chief Whip in Parliament, sent signals Wiper was done in the G7 when he hosted the PM at his constituency where the idea of a Raila-Kalonzo coalition was first mooted.

He followed the same with yet another meeting in Raila’s strongholds in Nyanza. But it was at another forum held in Makueni, where Mutula was launching his campaign for the senator’s seat that the ODM-Wiper deal appeared to gain momentum, with Lands minister James Orengo and Raila’s brother Oburu Oginga supporting the working arrangement between the two.

Divided teams?

However, the talks of a possible deal appeared to take another course after Kalonzo started engaging Mudavadi in talks that were being spearheaded by another team of the VP allies led by Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo.

At one point the negotiating team of the Kalonzo-Mudavadi alliance announced that the two had reached an agreement for a deal. But while this group was announcing a deal with Mudavadi, Muthama and Mutula still pushed on with the ODM deal. While

Muthama was engaging the PM on the public front, Mutula was engaging the ODM legal minds.

Even when Kalonzo appeared to send mixed signals over the possibility of a working relationship with Raila, at one point even dismissing Muthama’s assertions as personal statements, the Kangundo MP stood strong.

Only last week, a section of MPs from Ukambani held a news conference in Parliament where they insisted that the deal with Mudavadi was almost sealed.

The group, however, said Mutula and Muthama had been granted the go-ahead by Kalonzo to engage ODM for a possible deal.


 

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