OKA pledges return of good days as it meets Mount Kenya tycoons
The One Kenya Alliance (OKA) on Thursday sent a signal of unity against Deputy President William Ruto, whose fallout with his boss triggered an implosion of the ruling Jubilee Party.
In a meeting with the Mt Kenya Foundation, the OKA principals promised the region a return to the “good old days” of retired President Mwai Kibaki’s economic boom.
While avoiding barbs against Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, the OKA brigade made up of Amani National Congress chief Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper Party, Kanu’s Gideon Moi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya criticised Dr Ruto’s bottom-up economic model, saying it is meant to incite the poor against wealthy Kenyans.
Mr Moi warned against advocating for a “class war”.
The Baringo senator said OKA is committed to the unity calls by Mt Kenya leaders “since we know our enemy”.
“We’re not excluding anyone. All are welcome. Kenyans will soon make their choices,” Mr Moi said.
Mr Odinga also met tycoons from the region two weeks ago.
It signals a 2022 political duel between OKA and ODM on one hand and Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) on the other.
During his meeting with the businesspeople, Mr Odinga accused the DP of derailing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s development agenda.
United Democratic Party leader, Cyrus Jirongo, also attended the meeting.
The foundation, which is chaired by Mr Peter Munga and deputised by Mr Titus Ibui, has not yet made public plans to hold a similar meeting with the DP.
Dr Ruto has dismissed the meetings as forums for wealthy people, adding that his vote-hunting strategy involves meeting ordinary people.
Analysts say the politicians’ rapprochement with influential tycoons complicates Dr Ruto’s forays into Mt Kenya.
The region does not have a strong contender to replace Mr Kenyatta whose second and final term in office ends next year.
Mr Mudavadi said what Kenyan young people need is a “thriving nation and a hustling nation.”
“How many of us respect the rule of law? How many of us will respect the will of Kenyan voters?” the ANC leader asked.
“The position of authority should be given to an individual who will not misuse the office just because he wants to settle scores. Let us develop a culture of not voting in fear.”
Mr Mudavadi added that there is need to change economic priorities and ensure farmers, police officers, teachers and other workers are paid promptly.
Mr Musyoka cautioned against leaders “who are out to sow seeds of discord”.
“I don’t believe in fear. I believe in the future of this nation. Leaders promoting disunity must know that Kenyans have come of age,” the Wiper Party leader told the meeting.
He added that the OKA team is committed to fighting corruption.
Mr Munga said Mt Kenya people do not need a leader who reminds them of their poverty but one who gives them hope.
“Mt Kenya residents are businesspeople. We are also farmers. We deal in crops, animals and anything that can be sold as long the business is legal,” Mr Munga said.
“The leader we are looking for should provide the environment to do business in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa and the entire country,” he said.
“What the youth need is hope. They should be told that there is life even in the conditions they find themselves in. Don’t remind them that they are poor. Mt Kenya people do not believe in poverty, especially when one is still young.”
Mr Jirongo told the foundation not to have a preferred presidential candidate.
“When Mt Kenya looks like it has such a candidate, there will be dissent in OKA,” Mr Jirongo said.
He also cautioned against the tycoons using the March 9, 2018 handshake between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga as a yardstick for anointing anyone.
“We voted for Kibaki and Uhuru without any handshake,” Mr Jirongo said.