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Intrigues that led to NASA naming Raila flag-bearer

National Super Alliance(NASA) Presidential candidate Raila Odinga(right) and his Deputy Kalonzo Musyoka celebrates immediately after being unveiled as the candidates by their party. This was during a political rally at Uhuru Park, Nairobi. This was on 27/04/2017.PHOTO BY PIUS CHERUIYOT

It is now official; the 2017 presidential election will be a return match of the 2013 bitter contest between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto on one half of the pitch and Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka on the other.

The referee is different and the Raila team has two additional strikers the flagship of National Super Alliance have since acquired; Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Chama Cha Mashinani and also Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto.

But what will interest Kenyans is how NASA settled on a Raila-Kalonzo ticket again and the secrets of the power-sharing deal that creates new and enhanced positions borrowed from the mixed presidential and premier system that anchored the President Kibaki-Raila Grand Coalition between 2008-2013.

In a ceremony beamed live on national televisions and spiced up with analogies from the football pitch, Mr Mudavadi, who first came up with the NASA option, which sunk the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, unveiled the new line-up and the proposed positions each of the five co-principals who constitute the Pentagon, would take.

“I first had the ball but I had to pass it on to the person in the most vantage position to score,” declared Mudavadi as he moved closer to naming Raila as the NASA candidate by consensus.

But seemingly aware that this was the beginning of the harder part of selling the new model of power-arrangement, especially among those communities whose leaders missed out on the prize ticket, Mudavadi equated those who will boycott voting to agents of Jubilee.

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And a report of a technical committee gave a glimpse into the thinking that led to a Raila presidential candidature.

The ODM leader ranked top on four factors; potential to encourage high voter turn in opposition zones, infiltrate Jubilee regions, turn ruling coalition areas into battlegrounds and the one candidate whose absence as a presidential candidate would foster greatest voter apathy among opposition supporters.

It was suggested that Raila would increase turn-out in 12 counties – Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, Kisumu, Busia, Siaya, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Kwale, Homa Bay, Turkana and Mombasa. The team felt he had the potential to win 4.6 million votes out of 8.2 million. 

Raila was tipped to infiltrate nine Jubilee counties and get 40 per cent; Kericho, Bomet, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Laikipia, Isiolo and West Pokot were cited as areas he could secure 3.5 million votes.

The team also felt Raila can also turn Jubilee strongholds into battlegrounds and get 50 per cent and win in swing counties by 60 per cent. And it was feared his absence from the ballot could depress votes by 40 per cent in seven counties.

Yesterday, NASA unveiled three additional centres of power introduced to accommodate Mudavadi, Mr Ruto and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula.

Mudavadi will be the third in command, as Premier Cabinet Secretary in charge of government coordination if the coalition forms the next government.

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Mr Wetang’ula is poised to become Deputy Premier Cabinet Secretary in charge of the economy and Ruto will be Deputy Premier Cabinet Secretary in charge of governance and social affairs.

“This is the highest level of respect my brothers have given me to carry the NASA flag. We have had meetings daily, some ending up in the wee hours and we have agreed that this will be a transitional and transformational government to clear the Jubilee rot,” Raila told his enthusiastic supporters.

The former Prime Minister said the main organ of the coalition is the Pentagon and he is their captain to lead them to ‘Canaan’.

‘I am the first among equals. We are five and we want to change Kenya to realise our forefathers’ dreams. I will be president to help Kenyans jump over to Israel and my role will be done. Then I will hold my brothers’ hands as we move forward,” Raila said.

He termed yesterday’s unveiling of the Opposition flag-bearer as historical since Uhuru Park is associated with key events that have shaped Kenya’s politics.

“History repeats itself. In October 2012, we were here together with the late Wamalwa Kijana, Kalonzo, Simon Nyachae, the late Prof George Saitoti, Charity Ngilu, Moody Awori when I asked Kenyans if former President Mwai Kibaki was fit to be President. I declared Kibaki Tosha,” Raila said.

He continued: “Today, my brothers have said Raila Tosha. We are going to beat Jubilee in the August 8 elections.”

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In the run up to the 2007 election, Raila teamed up with Mudavadi, current Deputy President William Ruto, Joe Nyaga, Najib Balala and Charity Ngilu to form the Pentagon, which represented most of Kenya’s regions.

Raila who spoke during a ceremony to receive Ruto into NASA, said the occasion marked an important day in the country’s politics.

“We relaunch the Pentagon today, a day when our journey towards an inclusive, tolerant and vigorous nation that was cut short in 2013 when elections were stolen begins,” Raila said.

Kalonzo echoed Raila’s sentiments noting that as respect for Uhuru Park, the NASA government will implement the Bomas draft which was first discussed at the historic grounds.

“We want to implement the Bomas draft so that we have justice for everyone and stop Jubilee from returning the country to dark ages of repression,” Kalonzo said.

Kalonzo said the NASA agreement is a public document and called on his fellow principals to honour so that it is not the unfulfilled Narc memorandum of understanding.

“In 2012, we said Kibaki Tosha. I said then that I was ready to bite the bullet. But today we launch a new political dispensation where there is no political gerrymandering and deceit. Being a flag-bearer is heavy. I hope Raila will work closely with me,” Kalonzo said.

He pointed out that dirty tricks killed the Narc dream.

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Liberate Kenya

“When we won in 2012, we sent Moody Awori to Kibaki for a meeting. We met but we were told that we should just behave like cabinet ministers. It killed our dream of changing Kenya,” the former Vice President said.

He said the bad memories are behind them and they would work together to liberate Kenya from Jubilee’s perceived bad rule. Mudavadi described NASA’s journey as a short but fulfilling one.

Mudavadi, Kenya’s shortest serving vice president, pointed out that phase one of the objective of NASA to form a united opposition movement had been achieved.

“We have come together as political parties, civil society, religious, student, youth and women organisations, trade unions and business communities under the NASA umbrella to take back our country,” he declared.

Mudavadi noted that when he formed NASA, he never had himself in mind. “I had ‘we’ in mind. I had you (voters) in mind. I had us in mind. And finally I had Kenya in mind. The NASA I have in mind is the one that will nab mediocrity, dishonesty, and arrest thieves of public resources,” he added.

He pointed out that NASA’s good governance would frown on impunity. It is a NASA that will restore decency and humility as social and governance virtues, he said.

“It is a NASA that will ensure we never suffer from hunger and disease due to delayed rains; it is a NASA that will make adequate plans for irrigation for food crops and pasture for our animals,” Mudavadi said.

He called on Kenyans to lead the coalition in the achievement of its phase two objective which is to remove the abhorrent Jubilee regime from power in August.

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“Before you is a team that will stop the current regime hell-bent on mortgaging our country, and our future through reckless borrowing to feed an insatiable appetite of sheer theft,” Mudavadi said. Wetang’ula said the Opposition leaders had held together to help transform Kenya.

“We want to liberate Kenya. Kenyans voted for us in 2013 but the elections were stolen. We were told to forget and move on. We did,” he said.

He said the NASA leadership would form an inclusive government. “Our flag-bearer is just a captain of many sharp shooters. We want to rebuild Kenya our country and restore good relations with our neighbours,” Wetang’ula said.

He accused President Kenyatta of dividing the country. “Uhuru has taken Sh29 billion for roads to Central Kenya and Sh9 billion to Western region. This is bad,” he said.

Ruto accused Jubilee of siphoning public funds and making life unbearable.

“We want a country that offers good life to all, not this one run by a few billionaires who steal our resources and stash them in China,” Ruto said.

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