Slow start in firming up NASA election pact

NASA leaders at Kathagacene in Tharaka Nithi County. PHOTO: PETER MUTHOMI

Opposition talks on a joint presidential candidate and the mode of fielding aspirants for other elective seats have reportedly been slowed by two key items.

Reports suggest that a meeting between two major organs of the National Super Alliance (NASA) on Tuesday could not resolve concerns about a legal document for registration of NASA as a coalition and on nominations. It is understood that the two issues have held back a planned retreat by the select committees tasked with formulating ways of choosing the coalition’s presidential candidate.

On February 23, when the four NASA leaders signed a coalition agreement, they failed to address the issue of a joint presidential candidate. Instead, the principals explained that a select committee was to go on a retreat to work out how to have a single candidate.

But the retreat, which was to last three days, failed to take off, with sources later explaining that it was postponed to allow some members who form the two committees to attend a rally that took place in Eldoret last Saturday.

Sources further explained members of the committees were to meet early this week with the retreat on the cards from Tuesday.

But another source insisted the retreat had been delayed by the contention on the two agenda items and it would only take place after the issues are resolved.

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The contested document to register NASA as a coalition was to be signed by representatives of the four parties after the four principals, Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi signed the coalition agreement on February 23.

Sources explained it was agreed the document be signed by the National Coordinating Committee’s four co-chairs, namely Siaya Senator James Orengo (ODM), Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama (Wiper), Nambale MP Sakwa Bunyasi (Amani National Congress) and Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu (Ford Kenya).

Yesterday, there were claims that it had been signed by Mr Orengo and Norman Magaya, who is the NASA secretariat chief executive officer.

Magaya is the CORD secretariat director and it is understood that since the two signatories are Orange-leaning, “ODM had acted in bad faith”.

The Standard was told at the Tuesday meeting of the 12-member national coordinating committee and the five-member technical committee that accusations of ODM working behind the backs of their partners were raised.

The meeting ended and members agreed to meet today on two conditions, said a source who was present.

“We agreed that the first document signed by Orengo and Magaya be withdrawn and a new one brought to be signed by the four co-chairs,” the source said.

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After this is done and agreed on today, explained the source, the committees will then go on a retreat to firm up their power-sharing formula.

But yesterday when reached for comment, Orengo responded: “I sign many documents as a lawyer. I didn’t sign that one you are talking about. In fact, there was no such meeting. Media is speculating so much.”

“I have not signed any document so I don’t understand what you are talking about,” said Magaya.

Asked whether the committee had met on Tuesday and on grievances by some members that ODM was acting in bad faith, Mr Muthama acknowledged that the team had met.

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