Nasa set to resume talks on flag-bearer today

Nasa principals will today resume talks to finalise the power-sharing arrangement ahead of Thursday’s unveiling of their presidential candidate and his running mate.

Today’s meeting, bringing together the five – Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula and the latest entrant Isaac Ruto – will be held at an undisclosed location, the Sunday Nation learnt.

“We will resume tomorrow or Monday just to complete the finer details,” Mr Mudavadi stated, declining to shed further light about the meeting.

His colleagues Mr Odinga and Mr Wetang’ula were equally cagey, only stating that the Opposition alliance would unveil its lineup on Thursday.

“We ask Kenyans to be patient as we prepare to unveil our lineup on Thursday. I assure Kenyans that Nasa will produce a lineup that will transform the economy of the country,” Mr Wetang’ula said while flanked by Mr Odinga.

The two spoke in Meru County after attending the burial of former Finance Minister David Mwiraria yesterday.

Mr Musyoka was in Lamu County popularising his Wiper party and the Opposition alliance but was scheduled to fly back to Nairobi last night in time for today’s event.

“We have finished our business in Lamu and are now starting our journey back to Nairobi,” an aide who had accompanied him said.

Sources close to the five principals revealed that they would use the remaining days to agree on the alliance’s flag-bearer and his running mate as well as the positions to be held by the other three principals who will miss out on the top two positions.

In making the decision, the principals are expected to rely largely on pairings developed by a team of local and foreign consultants.

The Sunday Nation learnt that the nine foreign consultants have reconstructed a power-sharing formula that had been developed by the Nasa technical committee headed by lawyer Dan Ameyo, but which the National Coordinating Committee had disregarded.

The consultants have reduced the 12 scenarios initially developed by the Ameyo team to five viable ones with differing results.

It is this five new simulations that will be used by principals to arrive at a power-sharing arrangement, sources say.

The five options are said to take into regard several factors including the 2013 voter turnout, ethnic voting patterns and the census and current Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission voter registration figures by ethnic communities.

In developing a winning pair for Nasa, each principal is paired with the other as a flag-bearer or running mate viewed against the Jubilee pair of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.

Pairings that would reflect a regional bias such as between Mr Odinga, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula were eliminated to balance the ticket in which Mr Musyoka emerges as a constant.

The principals are racing against time to hammer out a deal before Thursday, having committed themselves to announcing the torchbearer at Uhuru Park on that day.

“On the 27th of this month, April, the year 2017, we have a date with you in Uhuru Park,” Mr Wetang’ula told the crowd that attended the unveiling of Mr Ruto as the latest Nasa principal at the Bomas of Kenya last Thursday.

“That day, we shall be told about the team that is going to save Kenya. They (the person) will obviously be the first among equals but we shall all be equals,” the Senate Minority Leader said.

According to the timelines set by the electoral commission, and which are based on the law, parties should finish their primaries by April 26.

This suggests that the Nasa nomination for its candidate will have ended by the time he is named and that the rest will have no chance to decamp.

Parties should submit the names of their nominees to the electoral commission by May 10.

All candidates will then submit their papers to the returning officers for clearance between May 28 and June 2, the chairman of the electoral commission said on Wednesday.

Selecting the flag-bearer has not been easy for the Opposition and the prospect of a fallout has troubled its heads who have struggled to put up a united front even as some of their lieutenants give conflicting messages.

“Leadership is about power and power must be shared and dispersed horizontally to lead this country properly. The agreement on power-sharing is already finished.

“You know, in our culture, the cow is shared before it is slaughtered – on who will take the hind leg, the fore leg, the head and who will have the ribs. That, we have finished,” Mr Wetang’ula said.

He also insisted there are no cracks in the coalition.

“Today, we come here to tell Kenyans that there is no cause for alarm about the leadership of Nasa.”

For the presidential election, the returning officer is IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati himself.

The submission of nomination papers and accompanying documents officially marks the start of the campaign period.

Selecting a presidential candidate has not been easy for the Opposition alliance and the prospect of a fall-out has troubled its heads, who have struggled to put up a united front even as some of their lieutenants give conflicting messages.

It was probably the reason Mr Wetang’ula repeated the assertion that whoever refuses to vote for the alliance’s choice would be effectively a Jubilee voter and that the alliance would remain united no matter who is named flagbearer.

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