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Sunday, April 23, 2017

NASA bosses to each get 4 Cabinet slots

Members of NASA Steering Committee John Bunyasia, Johnstone Muthama and James Orengo when they announced a special meeting at Bomas of Kenya to be addressed by the Coalition principals and formally welcome Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto into the Coalition on April 19, 2017. Photo/Jack Owuor
Members of NASA Steering Committee John Bunyasia, Johnstone Muthama and James Orengo when they announced a special meeting at Bomas of Kenya to be addressed by the Coalition principals and formally welcome Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto into the Coalition on April 19, 2017. Photo/Jack Owuor

NASA’S five principals — including Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto — have agreed to allocate themselves four Cabinet positions each, if they win in August. They say no tribe will dominate, the face of Kenya will be represented.

Fresh details emerged yesterday on how the opposition alliance plans to share power.

Only broad sharing of Cabinet posts has been decided, but not which party will get which portfolios, according to multiple sources, including trusted lieutenants.

“They are sure of the 22 Cabinet positions provided for in the Constitution. Anything else that cannot be guaranteed will be agreed after elections,” a source award of the discussions told the Star.

The Bomet governor will be introduced today as the fifth NASA principal at the Bomas of Kenya. He too gets a slice of the pie.

The principals — Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Rutto will each get four Cabinet posts but they must be filled by people from different tribes.

The idea is to represent the face of Kenya in government.

“They have agreed each them will not fill the posts exclusively from their own communities,” an aide said.

The Principal Secretaries will also come from different communities and the alliance hopes it will be able to accommodate most of the 42 tribes in government.

They aim to cast themselves as an all-inclusive government and Jubilee as a government dominated by two major tribes.

Each principal has also been guaranteed at least four parastatal slots of their choice, should NASA win.

The opposition chiefs have reserved the two other Cabinet slots and other positions until after the polls. They include speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate and majority leaders in both houses.


It is understood the five have agreed on the presidential candidate and running mate. an announcement is expected next week.

“We have a candidate and our principals will name him shortly,” Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama told a press conference yesterday..

While announcing his decision to join NASA, Rutto, who is the Chama Cha Mashinani leader, said he encountered resistance when he attempted to enter into a pre-election deal with Jubilee. He said Jubilee was not receptive to his ideas.

“Jubilee proved hostile to us and we cannot force ourselves on them. NASA shares similar ideals with CCM and has agreed to ensure counties gets 45 percent of revenue,” Rutto said after a closed-door meeting with Bomet elders and professionals.

Rutto’s move to join NASA is considered to demonstration his determination for a supremacy battle with Deputy President William Ruto for control of the vote-rich South Rift Valley.

The region is largely inhabited by the populous Kipsigis, a Kalenjin subtribe. They live in Kericho, Nakuru, Bomet and Narok counties. Several Maasai in Narok have also warmed to CCM and the party is fielding Patrick ole Ntutu for Narok governor.

Several Political analysts say it will be an uphill task for Rutto to galvanise and convince the Kipsigis community to abandon the DP, who is still considered king of the Rift Valley.

Maasai Mara University lecturer and political analyst Kimutai Soi told the Star yesterday that Rutto could be walking a tight rope by joining NASA. He said Rutto could be planning to force President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto to call him to the negotiating table.

“Unless a miracle happens this time, Rift Valley is still solidly behind the DP. They see him as their anointed son who is so close to ascending to power after Uhuru,” he said.

He added: “Governor Rutto is taking a political gamble that will either see him become the new political kingpin in the region — or be completely trashed into political oblivion. There is plenty of history to learn from.”

The latest Infotrak poll indicated that Rutto’s CCM was less popular at 12 per cent, compared to Jubilee, which had 73.8 per cent popularity in the would-be CCM stronghold.

NASA was rated third at 6.6 per cent. A notable high-profile Rift politician who defied the community’s political decision was Kipkalya Kones. In the run-up to the 2002 general election, he fell out with President Daniel Moi who had picked Uhuru Kenyatta as his successor. Kones who was killed in a plane crash in June 2008

Kones, a Kipsigis leader whose star was rising, switched affiliation to Ford People led by Simon Nyachae who was running for President. That year, Kones lost the Bomet MP seat to Nick Salat. Kones failed to convince his community, which voted to the man for Uhuru, who was the Kanu flagbearer.

In 2007, Kones would team up with William Ruto to marshal the Kalenjin community to vote for ODM, whose flagbearer was Raila, with Mudavadi as de facto Vice President.

Kones was appointed minister of Roads in the Grand Coalition government formed after the disputed election.

William Ruto started falling out with Raila after the 2008 election. By 2010 he had acquired United Democratic Movement before abandoning it to found his own United Republican Party.

In the 2013 election, Ruto entered into a coalition with Uhuru but some of his allies in Rift Valley decided to stick with Raila, a move that would cost them their seats.

Other prominent persons who stood by Raila and Cord in the run-up to the 2013 poll despite the URP-Jubilee wave that swept Rift Valley include former ministers Henry Kosgey, Franklin Bett, Moses Sirma, Sally Kosgei and Margaret Kamar and former Kipkelion MP Magerer Langat.

They have all since made up with the DP and, apart from Sally and Kamar, are all seeking election on the JP ticket.

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