Raila Odinga’s tough terms for Nasa principals
The Raila camp has declared that ODM will only back the other National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders if they win a competitive joint presidential nomination.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, which is led by Mr Raila Odinga, raised the stakes in the feud with the Nasa leaders Tuesday even as it emerged that the Orange boss met President Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, last evening.
ODM has told Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula that there is only one way to secure Mr Odinga’s support — agree to face-off with the ODM candidate in joint presidential primaries overseen by the electoral commission. The three can choose whether the vote will be through universal suffrage — election by members of the three parties affiliated to Nasa — or by delegates.
ODM gave the conditions as irreducible minimums as it ruled out Mr Odinga or the party opting out of next year’s presidential election in favour of any of the three leaders as they have demanded, citing an agreement reached in 2017 when Mr Odinga ran on a joint ticket with Mr Musyoka.
“If they want us to [work together] under whichever banner, let’s have joint presidential nomination process to see who has the numbers,” ODM Director of Elections and Campaigns Junet Mohamed said Tuesday, adding, ODM is not ready to support a weak candidate.
Mr Odinga’s party has opened pre-election coalition talks with President Kenyatta’s Jubilee while the other Nasa leaders have teamed up with Kanu party leader Gideon Moi to form the One Kenya Alliance.
Legally, a party cannot be in two coalitions at the same time, which explains the dilemma both ODM and the Nasa affiliate parties find themselves in.
Although Nasa would stand dissolved if three affiliate parties — Wiper, Ford-Kenya and Amani National Congress — pulled out, they appear reluctant for now, given the political backlash, including loss of House leadership posts and power struggles rocking some of the parties.
ODM’s latest demand drew furious reactions from members of the other three parties, who alleged a sinister motive. Wiper vice-chairman Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said ODM could not be trusted with their new plan.
“All these processes are predicated on trust. As we speak, the parties cannot agree on sharing the political parties’ fund. How will they agree on a joint nominations?” he posed.
ANC Deputy Party Leader Ayub Savula and Kimilili MP Chris Wamalwa of Ford Kenya said they have no problem working with ODM as long as the same process used to nominate Mr Odinga in the past is applied.
“When we endorsed Raila Odinga, we didn’t use nomination. It was a consensus process agreed upon by the principals. We want to maintain the same methodology. We cannot support a process that can be manipulated,” Mr Wamalwa said.
Mr Savula insisted that they were ready for the joint nominations so long as Mr Odinga does not participate since he was meant to support another principal in 2022.
“The agreement was he runs for one term. The agreement is legally binding because it was deposited at the registrar of political parties,” Mr Savula said.
Meanwhile, sources within Mr Odinga’s camp confirmed to the Nation last evening that the former prime minister went straight to State House for the meeting with the President after landing from the coast.
It also emerged that President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga had not initially intended to make public the coalition talks between the two parties until a stinging statement by Mr Musyoka that he would never support Mr Odinga again jolted them.
The two leaders reportedly then gave their political lieutenants the green light to make public the talks.
“The key concern was that once the secret is out, then it would be difficult to sustain the narrative as it is at the moment,” a source said.
Not support Raila
In an interview with NTV last month, Mr Musyoka declared that he will not support Mr Odinga for President in next year’s General Election.
“For me, as of now, it is unthinkable that I, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, would support Raila Odinga for the third time… I would be the most stupid fellow on earth to go and support — for the third time — a presidential candidate without a measure of reciprocity,” he said.
Tuesday, ODM chairman John Mbadi said the talks between ODM and Jubilee are still ongoing. The National Assembly Minority Leader confirmed that all the statements issued so far on the ongoing talks are sanctioned by the two leaders.
It also emerged that the leaders of Wiper, Ford Kenya and ANC are concerned that withdrawing from Nasa will hurt party members holding positions in Parliament courtesy of the coalition.
Wiper could be the biggest loser as Mr Kilonzo, who is the deputy minority whip in Senate and Mr Robert Mbui, the deputy minority leader in National Assembly, could be affected. Exit from the deal has also to be through the parties’ secretaries-general.
Ford Kenya has a dispute over the position of the secretary-general with both Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa and Tongaren’s Eseli Simiyu battling for the position. ANC doesn’t have a secretary-general after Barrack Muluka’s exit.
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