Netizen 24 KEN: Nasa in trouble as parties turn focus to 2022

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Nasa in trouble as parties turn focus to 2022

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Nasa in trouble as parties turn focus to 2022
Nasa leaders, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga with Moses Wetang’ula during a rally in Kisumu on August 3, 2017/MAURICE ALAL
Nasa leaders, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga with Moses Wetang’ula during a rally in Kisumu on August 3, 2017/MAURICE ALAL

Sibling rivalry, 2022 presidential ambit ions, turf wars and secret Jubilee schemes.

That is the combination of factors threatening to kill the NASA coalition, despite public displays of camaraderie and unity of

purpose among the affiliate parties and principals.

Weeks of simmering unease that has spilled into occasional public jabs at each other have put paid to the Opposition’s push for

electoral justice as disgruntled partner parties switch their focus to revamping for the 2022 polls.

The wrangles and apparent loss of steam in their quest are giving President Uhuru Kenyatta an unexpectedly easy start to his

second and final term.

Related : Signs Raila will run in 2022, NASA co-principals back to drawing board

The Star has established that some of the activities NASA had planned to agitate for sweeping electoral reforms have been put

off.

As an indication of NASA’s slow momentum on their pro-reform agenda, the alliance has postponed the inaugural Peopleâ €™s Convention that was initially set for February 28.

ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen a member of the People’s Assembly Steering Committee confirmed to the Star that the coalition would announce new dates on Monday next week.

“It is true we would be making some adjustments to the programme, and we will issue a comprehensive brief on Monday,” he said, without giving details.

Asked whether the likely suspension of the launch of the People’s Assembly would be attributed to squabbles in the Coalition, Ong’wen maintained, “There is no cause for alarm.”

“We have no issues at all, the committee is on with the plans,” he said.

The People’s Assemblies, initially seen as a powerful political machine, were at the heart of NASA’s anti-Jubilee push. The strategy was to pile pressure on the ruling party to climb down and agree to structured dialogue with the Opposition.

Since the dramatic arrest and eventual deportation of self-sty led NRM ‘general’ Miguna Miguna two weeks ago, nothing much has happened from the NASA brigade.

The government offensive against NASA has also been punctured by a series of court orders revoking the arbitrary suspension of firearm licences and passports.

The Opposition seems to be running out of steam, with some MPs breaking ranks to attend the vetting

of Uhuru’s nominees for diplomatic postings this week, against NASA’s stated boycott, which included the vetting of CSs and CASs.

Yesterday, however, the NASA chiefs appeared together at an ODM National Governing Council meeting in a show of solidarity, despite growing disquiet.

Also read : Puzzle of Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetangula giving Raila's oath wide berth

Interviews gleaned from multiple Opposition insiders paint a picture of a forced marriage whose convenience expired after Uhuru outfoxed the Coalition with the repeat October 26 polls that NASA boycotted.

“Even in famil ies, a man and his wife can have differences. But it doesn’t mean that is the end of the marriage,” ODM Leader Raila Odinga stated.

Pressure from powerful Western countries opposed to the rejection of Uhuru’s election has also toned down the NASA offensive, amid hints that the powers could invoke visa bans.

The unease in NASA became apparent on Thursday, after a marathon meeting of Wiper leaders who scoffed at unnamed Opposition politicians for consistently insulting Kalonzo.

“Wale wakenya wanaomtusi Kalonzo lazima wakome, alibandikwa majina ikielekea uchaguzi wa 2007, lakini akafaulu kuwa Makamu wa Rais (Those insulting Kalonzo should stop. They branded him names prior to the 2007 election, but he became Vice President),” warned ex-Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama.

Muthama had been a fiery ally of Raila until recently, when he abrupt ly disappeared from the limelight.

He is being readmitted back into Kalonzo’s inner circle and his statement rekindles memories of the 2007 Kalonzo-Raila split after the “watermelon” tag.

A day earlier, ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi gave the clearest indication yet that the coalition had given up on another election before 2022, openly contradicting NASA chief Raila.

In an interview with NTV, Musalia Thursday stated that there is no legal and financial framework to enable the country to conduct a fresh election in August.

“There are those who may want to do what is perceived to be popular, but there are also those who have the courage to sometimes tell the people that is not the right path,” Mudavadi said in a punch clearly aimed at Raila.

Raila had earlier insisted that there must be a fresh presidential election by August this year, the third in a year.

The other parties, which have in the past complained of being bulldozed by ODM, did not comment on the announcement.

Yesterday Raila began revamping his political movement and unveiled a ne w leadership lineup for his ODM Party. He tapped youthful and radical politicians to re-engineer the party in a clear pointer to his succession roadmap.

Edwin Sifuna, the abrasive lawyer and party candidate for Nairobi Senator in last year’s election, took over as Secretary-General in place of former Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba.

Kisii Woman Representative Janet Ong’era and ex-Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu become the new ‘vice-chairmen’, among 15 new appointments.

“When the times are tough and uncertain; when everything we fought for and the gains we have made are threatened, Kenyans look to ODM for direction and leadership,” Raila said yesterday.


STRAINED

In the last two weeks, Wiper Party’s insistence on a slot in the powerful Parliamentary Service Commission strained ties with ODM, which could be yearning for an opportunity to strike back.

“Jubilee openly colluded with one of our coa lition partners against the leadership of the Minority in Parliament,” protested Homa Bay Woman

Representative Gladys Wanga, who was forced out of the PSC.

She was referring to Thursday’s changes, where ODM was forced drop her from the PSC list after National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi controversially approved Borabu MP Ben Momanyi as Wiper’s nominee.

The move, strongly backed by Jubilee legislators, lifted the lid on the ruling party’s efforts to infiltrate NASA. Insiders however say Raila’s men, buoyed by their numbers, are secretly plotting to topple Kalonzo’s allies from the Minority leadership in what is likely to trigger a major falling out.

“A process is underway. You will see what will happen. There will be consequences [of Wiper’s manoeuvres]. We are being procedural. But

we will strike,” a senior ODM official told the Star in confidence.

Yesterday, Wiper Deputy Minority Leader Robert Mbui confirmed that the party w as also rolling out a series of activities as part of reconstruction efforts for the 2022 presidential contest.

“We are putting our house in order and calling all our troops to order. We know that, when in a coalition, you tend to forget one’s identity. The purpose of any political party is the desire for political power. We want to revamp ourselves for 2022,” said Mbui.

The Kathiani MP said the party would in early March convene a major meeting of all opinion leaders from Ukambani to declare the region’s political direction.

Also read : Nasa crumbling, Mudavadi in denial with plan to punish rebels, says Osotsi

“We are currently meeting grassroots leaders and asking them what direction we should take and sensitising the people after a lot of misinformation,” he said.

Yesterday Wiper was holding a meeting with like-minded political parties, among them Charity Ngilu’s Narc, Muungano and CCU at Yatta, as part of Kalonzo’s efforts to consol idate his backyard.

Both ANC and Wiper have held meetings of their top organs. Last week, Musalia led his party in a house cleaning exercise in a bid to stamp his authority and restore discipline as he casts his sights on 2022.

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