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Nasa principals leaving nothing to chance in bid for candidacy

This is running parallel to the talks spearheaded by the group’s national coordinating committee to identify the presidential pair through consensus.

True to the treachery associated with politics, National Super Alliance (Nasa) principals are leaving nothing to chance in a bid to be the outfit’s presidential candidate.

Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula have all unleashed their troops in dogfights so each can secure the Nasa flag to face Uhuru Kenyatta.

In so doing, each of them is putting a strong case that it would be hard to convince their supporters to remain in the outfit if their names are not in the ballot. This could well be the tipping point, unless handled with care.

In their pitch, Mr Musyoka’s men, for instance, say he not only gives the alliance a national outlook but is also viewed favourably even among supporters of President Kenyatta. The Uhuru support base has a phobia against Odinga.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader and the other two principals come from west Kenya.

The former vice-president has in the past claimed that Jubilee is used to stealing Mr Odinga’s votes and nothing will stop it from doing the same this time around. This is meant to force Odinga into surrender.

But there is also a group within the coalition that read Mr Musyoka’s actions as meant to prepare the ground for eventual defection. They say knowing that some of his demands may not be met, Mr Musyoka would then find a perfect excuse to bolt out.

LAST WEEK

At the Coast and parts of Ukambani, for instance, boda boda riders last week donned caps and jackets with writings, ‘No Kalonzo, No Nasa’ attracting fury from their partners.

Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama however, accuses Jubilee of trying to poison the relationship between Mr Musyoka and his Nasa colleagues.

“The concerted campaign is to meant to make Kenyans start doubting the unity and success of Nasa. Get it from me, Kalonzo will never leave Nasa,”he said.

Mr Musyoka told the Nation that he had no plans of leaving Nasa.

“More than any other time, the country is now mobilised. We will weather the storm, let our supporters not worry,” he said.

Jubilee, however, denies having a hand in the narrative.

“Let them (opposition) put its house in order without dragging our name in their domestic issues,” Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale retorted.

Mr Odinga’s supporters, like ODM director of campaigns Junet Mohamed, say he has the national and international networks to mount presidential campaign. They argue that this should count when the Nasa flagbearer.

As the founder of Nasa, Mr Mudavadi’s supporters are also expecting nothing short of the presidency, with Mr Wetang’ula rooting for Mr Odinga to play the kingmaker role.

The quartet is also in a campaign to solidify their support bases to have a stronger voice.

For instance, Mr Musyoka met almost all influential politicians from Ukambani on Wednesday. During the meeting, his nemesis and Narc party leader Charity Ngilu, and other local politicians, Mutua Katuku and Wavinya Ndeti, who have opposed him agreed to rally the Kamba behind Musyoka.

A DEAL

It is understood that he struck a political deal with the leaders to bolster his bid for the Nasa presidential ticket. Ms Ndeti heads Chama Cha Uzalendo and Mr Katuku is the boss of the People Trust Party.

“We’ve closed ranks on several issues but most importantly we want to ensure our community gets the best deal within Nasa in terms of budget allocations, power sharing and government appointments” Mr Katuku told the Nation.

The unity could deal a death knell to the pro-Jubilee forces coalescing around Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and his Maendeleo Chap Chap party.

President Kenyatta’s strategists are eyeing a third of the votes in Ukambani and have made this known. Other than Mr Mutua, they have recruited former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile who folded his TIP party late last year to join the president’s party.

Before he left the country for South Africa where he is seeing her daughter Rosemary who was taken ill recently, Mr Odinga met his lieutenants from Nyanza, Western, Coast and Nairobi at his Karen home and urged them not to drop the ball.

Mr Mudavadi and his neighbour Wetang’ula have, too, had as many as five Luhya meetings in a fortnight.

To help manage the competing ambitions, Nasa leaders have organised a retreat for the national coordinating committee all the affiliate parties.

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