There is no potential presidential candidate for 2012 at the moment that has a more organized think tank than the Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
What is a think tank and how important is it to a Kenyan presidential candidate?
When faced with the biggest challenge of his long political career in 1991 president Daniel arap Moi was advised to constitute a think tank specifically tasked with keeping him in power at all costs. This is the group that devised several schemes including what later came to be known as the Goldenberg mega-scandal. Goldenberg was of course designed to raise the cash required to get Moi re-elected in a very hostile pro-reform environment mostly rooting for the opposition. Uhuru Kenyatta, the project presidential candidate of 2002 was also birthed in the confines of a think tank working on a viable exit strategy for Daniel arap Moi. Don’t laugh because it almost worked. Had Raila Odinga not led the revolt within Kanu that dramatically strengthened the opposition, we would be talking a very different story today.
But critical to any think tank this time round will be its’ ability to appreciate the mechanics of the new ball political ball game in town, courtesy of a new constitution that is already being billed, one of the best anywhere in Africa.
This is precisely the reason why information leaked to this blogger recently about the kind of direction Raila Odinga’s think tank is taking should be of great interest.
Raila’s team is of the opinion that women voters can be used to turn the tide in their favour and are determined that Raila’s running mate this time round should be a woman.
The most influential voters at the grassroots have always been known to be women. But sadly they hate to vote for one of their own. However if somebody managed to package a presidential candidate whom they were sure would champion their interests there is little doubt that they would enthusiastically support such a candidate.
This is why if Raila’s closest advisors have their way, his running mate in the coming elections will be from the fairer sex.
The name that keeps on cropping up is that of Charity Ngilu. The advantages of madam Ngilu being Raila’s running mate are many but the most obvious one would be that she would neutralize any support that Kalonzo Musyoka may claim to have in his Ukambani backyard.
Still there are those who are sure that Kalonzo Musyoka is a non-starter in any presidential race (including yours truly) and so any serious contender has no business wasting their time crafting a strategy to deal with a non-entity when real emerging opponents are in the horizon. And that is why chances are extremely high that if the PM will ends up choosing a female running mate then he is bound to choose a political nobody who has the ability to attract young voters and repackage the Raila ticket as a somewhat youthful progressive new beginning team.
So… what about Musalia Mudavadi?
For those in the dark, Raila’s closest advisors have always considered Musalia Mudavadi more of “a passenger” than an asset within ODM and specifically in their candidates’ quest for State house. The coming general elections will no doubt be the most competitive ever witnessed in these shores. Nobody can afford to even consider having passengers in the periphery of their campaign team, let alone as their running mate.
There are those who remember that Musalia Mudavadi’s lukewarm political career was launched when former president Daniel arap Moi hand-picked him to replace his father, Moses Sabstone Mudamba Mudavadi, the man said to have given Moi a promotion in the days when he was a teacher, a gesture that Moi never forgot and it also launched a close friendship. Read more in my Dark secrets book. The point is that the younger Mudavadi never really cut his teeth in the trenches of political initiation but instead had everything delivered on a silver platter by Uncle Dan.
Musalia cannot even deliver a fraction of his own Luhya backyard at the moment and so it would hardly make any sense to have him as a running mate. Nothing personal, it’s just business.