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NASA team recommends choosing of flag-bearer through primaries

NASA leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka addresses public at Laare are in Meru County in Feb 2016. PHOTO: FILE

The National Super Alliance technical committee tasked with picking a joint presidential candidate is today expected to recommend that the process should be subjected to a popular vote by supporters.

This would involve party primaries as happens in the United States.

The US-style primaries is the key recommendation that the technical team is expected to make after its meeting today.

The proposal will then be taken to the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) towards the end of the week for onward transmission to the coalition’s Summit next week.

The Summit is made up of the four co-principals: Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (Amani), and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford-Kenya).

The technical committee, headed by lawyer Dan Wameyo with economist David Ndii as a member, reportedly arrived at this decision because of the insistence by the co-principals that ODM leader Raila Odinga should not be the flag-bearer as he would allegedly not attract votes from Jubilee zones.

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The argument is further advanced by the other principals that it is time Odinga left others to have a go at the presidency as the opposition tries to dislodge Jubilee.

The insistence, especially by the Wiper wing of the coalition, is said to be flying in the face of all analyses that the technical committee has conducted that have indicated that Raila Odinga is the coalition’s best bet against Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta and that a NASA ticket that does not carry his name would be severely weakened by apathy even in Odinga’s strongholds.

Analysis by the technical committee, sources revealed, shows that once Odinga is removed from the NASA ticket, all current NASA strongholds, including Luo Nyanza, Kisii, western Kenya, and the Coast become battlegrounds that could go either way.

Only an Odinga-led NASA retains the current opposition strongholds and offers the promise of getting some votes in the Jubilee zones of central and eastern Kenya and Rift Valley, a source familiar with the resolution revealed.

The technical committee is said to have analysed NASA’s chances based on the pairing of different principals for the ticket. It has studied the results of the 2013 and 2007 elections, the current voter registration numbers, and the interest in the ticket of the various co-principals in past elections and how they fared in those elections.

Three of the four principals have run for the presidency in the past two elections. In 2007, Musyoka broke away from Odinga and Mudavadi and ran alone on an ODM-Kenya ticket.

“But Kalonzo was unable to attract votes beyond Ukambani and made no impact in western Kenya, where his running mate, Julia Ojiambo, came from,” the source went on.

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According to the results of the 2007 election by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Mwai Kibaki of the Party of National Unity got 4.5 million, Raila Odinga 4.3 million, while Kalonzo Musyoka managed only 879,903 votes.

Odinga beat Musyoka in seven of the eight provinces, with Musyoka only beating him in his home ground of Eastern Province.

In Eastern, Musyoka secured 393,503 votes while Odinga got 59,016. In Odinga’s Nyanza home turf, Musyoka got a paltry 18,032 against Odinga’s 903,524 votes.

In North Eastern, ODM got 70,319 votes against ODM-K’s 10,572. In Nairobi, Odinga garnered 254,110 votes against Musyoka’s 32,832. But in Rift Valley, ODM got one million votes against Musyoka’s 98,016. In Western Province, Odinga managed 415,705 votes and Musyoka got 25,581. In 2013, Mudavadi broke away and ran against Odinga and Musyoka.

Odinga ran in both 2007 and 2013 and the analysis shows, according to the committee’s determination, that he is the only one who got sizeable votes even in Jubilee zones, including Kiambu, while Mudavadi, who had a running mate from Central Kenya, made no impact in the region.

The IEBC records show that in the 2013 General Election, Odinga garnered 84,010 votes in Central while Mudavadi managed only 3,643. In Kiambu, for example, Odinga got 61,700 votes against Mudavadi’s 2,191. In 2013, Odinga got 1,892,904 in Rift Valley while Mudavadi scooped 62,659 votes.

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