Kenya: Will Gideon Moi be the compromise candidate for One Kenya Alliance ?

By Victor Abuso
Posted on Friday, 6 August 2021 07:36

Gideon Moi
Has Gideon Moi's political moment come?REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Gideon Moi is being courted by all sides as the horse-trading to succeed President Kenyatta heats up. The son of former president Daniel Arap Moi, and one of the few candidates who can peel votes away from the political juggernaut that is Deputy President William Ruto, Moi hopes to play a key role.

Kenya’s opposition leaders are yet to settle on who will vie for presidency to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, ahead of the planned 9 August 2022 general election.

A tier of ‘middle-weight’ opposition figures such as Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula have recently formed the One Kenya Alliance coalition.

Deputy President William Ruto, currently the man to beat given his multi-year work cementing political alliances across Kenya, has indicated  that he will fly the ticket of the new  United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.

Veteran opposition chief Raila Odinga from the Orange Democratic Movement, has not yet made a declaration, but all indications show he will be on the ballot.

Gideon Moi is the latest politician to announce his bid. “I do not want to state the obvious, it is in the public domain that I will be on the presidential ballot,” he told his supporters at a recent rally.

The 57 year-old politician is the son of the second Kenya President Daniel Arap Moi who died in 2020. He led the country for 24, between 2002-1978.

He is also the leader of the Independence party Kenya Africa National Union KANU Party. Since 2013 he has been the Senator for Baringo County in the West Central Part of Kenya.

How big are his dreams?

Gideon Moi has never vied for the presidency before. He is a close ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta and in both 2013 and 2017 his Party, KANU, supported Kenyatta’s bid.

Practically and on the ground, his presidential bid seems to be a stretch; he is far from the ground game of Ruto, for example, in numbers of field offices. It has not stopped supporters backing him. ‘I think he is new with fresh ideas, this is the person we need,’ Caroline Mutai, tells The Africa Report from Eldoret town.

However, his opponents see him as an opportunist who is leveraging his father’s name and the connections he has with top politicians like Kenyatta as he unfurls his bid.

The dictatorial rule of his father may actually prove the greatest hurdle Gideon faces in running for the presidency in 2022.

“I don’t think he can be elected, people have bad memories of his party and father when he was in power,” says Josiah Awusa, a youth activist from the UDA.

Tapped by Kenyatta?

Could 2002 repeat itself?

Back then, the late President Moi unexpectedly announced that he wanted Uhuru Kenyatta to succeed him. Some observers believe this is happening behind the curtains with Gideon Moi’s presidential bid.

Herma Manyora, a Nairobi based political analyst, believes that while Gideon might not make it to the presidency in 2022 but ultimately, the endgame is to make him President.

“In 2022 he might not get it, because those schemers don’t want it to be a dynasty contest but they will try to make him President in 2027,” Manyora says.

Both President Kenyatta and Gideon Moi are sons of the first and second Presidents of Kenya. The majority of Kenyans feel that someone outside the families of the elite should lead them.

Will Moi be the Kingmaker in the One Kenya Alliance  ?

One Kenya Alliance is the latest political formation in Kenya ahead of the August 2022 election.

Gideon Moi’s party was among the founders of this formation, whose purpose is to get a single Presidential candidate to fight it out with William Ruto.

Other founders are Kalonzo Musyoka from the Wiper Democratic Movement, Musalia Mudavadi from the Amani National Congress and Moses Wetangula of the FORD Kenya Party.

However in his recent statements, it appears Moi wants the new formation to accommodate more political players and bring in the likes of Raila Odinga.

I think he is looking into the possibility of  how he can split the votes between him and Ruto and with that One Kenya Alliance will benefit.

“We want Raila and others to join us. We can’t afford to lock out others because everyone has a part to play in building the country”. In recent months, it is believed he and Odinga have been in secret talks on how to convince Odinga to come on board.

Odinga has said he is keen to reconnect with other key political leaders and have a common understanding, but it is not clear if he will join the One Kenya Alliance or form another grouping.

Maina Karobia, a political analyst, says the move by Moi is calculated because he wants to be at the negotiation table. In addition, if by any chance the constitution is amended through the Building Bridges Initiative he might end up being Prime Minister.

Furthermore, he is seen as the perfect candidate to help split the vote from Ruto’s backyard because they are of the same ethnic group of the Kalenjin and considering that the majority of Kenyans vote for their tribes’ men and women.

“I think he is looking into the possibility of  how he can split the votes between him and Ruto and with that One Kenya Alliance will benefit,” says Karobia.

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