President Uhuru Kenyatta has initiated talks among wrangling National Super Alliance (Nasa) principals, seeking to broker a truce amid push for a broad-based coalition to face off with his estranged deputy, Dr William Ruto, in next year’s election.
Mr Kenyatta on Tuesday invited Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga to State House where they reportedly held a meeting with Wiper Democratic Movement boss Kalonzo Musyoka.
Mr Musyoka is a co-principal in the opposition coalition and was Mr Odinga’s running mate in the 2013 and 2017 presidential elections. Impeccable sources told Nation that the three leaders held talks after a meeting between the President and leaders from Ukambani over his planned visit to the region.
“The president was concerned about their public attacks, which he observed were not good for the unity he desires for the country ahead of next year’s election,” the source told Nation.
Reached for comment, State House spokesperson Kanze Dena neither confirmed nor denied the State House meeting.
Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu yesterday told the Nation that unity between Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka and other Nasa leaders was crucial.
“I believe they can still work together for the good of the nation,” said Ms Ngilu, who attended the State House meeting on the president’s Ukambani tour.
Mr Musyoka last month said he would not support Mr Odinga’s presidential bid in next year’s elections.
“It will be unthinkable to support Mr Odinga for the third time. I will be the most stupid person to once again support his bid without a measure of reciprocity,” Mr Musyoka declared.
President Kenyatta has rallied the leaders in a coalition that is expected to be transformed into a super alliance ahead of the 2022 polls. Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) leader Isaac Ruto —who has since defected to Dr Ruto’s camp — formed Nasa in 2017 on whose ticket Mr Odinga contested against President Kenyatta.
Mr Musyoka, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula together with Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi have since opened talks under the One Kenya Alliance (OKA).
The Wiper, ANC and Ford Kenya leaders want Mr Odinga to back one of them, citing an agreement reached in 2017 when Mr Odinga ran on a joint ticket with Mr Musyoka. The three parties have also demanded a share of the political parties’ funds that ODM receives from the exchequer.
On Tuesday, Mr Odinga is said to have then agreed with Mr Musyoka for another meeting to address underlying issues.
The Wiper leader is expected to take Mr Odinga’s message to the other two principals. Mr Odinga confirmed the talks to find an amicable solution to the concerns raised by his partners.
“[Mr] Odinga and the parties in the Nasa coalition are in talks with a view to resolving all outstanding issues. Everything is on the table, including the matter of sharing of finances,” Mr Odinga said through his spokesperson Dennis Onyango.
Yesterday, during an interview on Radio Jambo, Mr Odinga alluded to the attempt to broker a truce: “There should be a dialogue so that we find out who is capable of winning.”
He also denied claims ODM had refused to share government funds with their partners.
“We cannot deny our partners their rights. We are courteous and have sat down with them for talks and are still ready for further discussion,” said Mr Odinga.
It is, however, still not clear whether the Nasa principals will reach a truce as anticipated by President Kenyatta after Mr Mudavadi appeared to attack the ODM leader over his blue print unveiled on Wednesday.
“Those who pretended that all is well have now been smoked out of their hide-outs. I have been raising concerns about the need to resuscitate the economy but many turned a deaf ear,” said Mr Mudavadi.
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