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NASA’s big day started with anxious moments for backers

A section of the crowd at Uhuru Park yesterday during the unveiling of the NASA presidential candidate. [Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

There were long and anxious hours for Opposition supporters as they waited for the five National Super Alliance (NASA) principals.

It was not until after 4pm that the tension broke and the mammoth crowd broke into celebration when Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga was named the alliance’s presidential flag-bearer.

This now sets the stage for the return of the political duel between Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August polls.

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi stole the show with his recounting of NASA’s dream.

Mudavadi reminded NASA supporters that the presidential candidate was only one of the best among equals.

He said NASA’s ambition was to pursue national reconciliation and healing, resolving historical injustices, strengthening devolved governance – including transfer of more functions and resources to the county governments – and transforming the government from master to servant of the people.

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He said a NASA government would strive to ensure that the country realised social and economic rights, as enshrined in Article 43 of the Constitution, and eradicating poverty and unemployment.

“We did not form NASA for specific persons to ascend to power. NASA carries the aspirations of Kenyans to live in peace and unity. We intend to build a just and prosperous country,” said Mudavadi.

Earlier, at around 3pm, the five NASA principals arrived at Uhuru Park in style, all dressed in white shirts and caps adorned with the coalition’s logo.

They first went to a holding room behind the dais, where they had a brief meeting with their handlers.

The Pentagon then emerged to stand before the crowd, holding hands in a show of unity.

Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho stole the show after the crowd demanded that he address them even though he was not scheduled to speak.

The governor did not disappoint, using the occasion to direct his trademark scathing attack at Uhuru.

Joho said he was a marked man because of his consistent rejection of the government’s economic policies.

“My war with the two is not personal but because I differ with them ideologically,” he said.

He cited the planned setting up of a dry port in Naivasha, the allowing of mass importation of sugar from Uganda, the controversial Itare dam in Nakuru, and the coal project in Kitui as some of the mega projects and policies he has opposed.

Raila’s police security was increased as soon as he was named the presidential flag-bearer.

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