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Friday, July 28, 2017

The Pentagon is back; NASA candidate on 27th

NASA luminaries Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga, Isaac Rutto, Moses Wetang'ula and Kalonzo Musyoka during a meeting at Bomas of Kenya, April 20, 2017. /JACK OWUOR
NASA luminaries Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga, Isaac Rutto, Moses Wetang'ula and Kalonzo Musyoka during a meeting at Bomas of Kenya, April 20, 2017. /JACK OWUOR

NASA has recreated the famous opposition Pentagon to spearhead their onslaught on President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The announcement yesterday by opposition leader Raila Odinga evokes memories of his formidable 2007 political machine, the Pentagon, which nearly vanquished President Mwai Kibaki.

The NASA Pentagon consists of the five Super Alliance principals — Raila (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and the newest member, Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto (CCM).

The opposition game plan emerged as the National Super Alliance finally said it would announce its presidential flag bearer on Thursday.

This appears to end months of speculation and fears of an acrimonious split that could unravel the opposition and hand victory to Jubilee.

At a Bomas of Kenya rally, Wetang’ula revealed the five NASA principals had finalised their power-sharing deal after marathon negotiations that sometimes ended past 3am.

The flagbearer ticket and the deal will be unveiled on April 27th at historic Uhuru Park at a mammoth rally termed “a million man and women” gathering.

"By 6am Uhuru Park will be full. On that day you shall be told the team that will save Kenya. They will obviously be first among equals but we shall all be equals," Wetang’ula said.

From the three-man Coalition for Reforms and Democracy that faced Kenyatta in 2013, the opposition has morphed into the commanding Pentagon with the entry of Rutto.

Raila said that with Rutto’s membership, NASA has gained a new general, particularly for “our battle to protect and preserve devolution”.

"With his entry, we launch a new march towards the August 8 elections on which day we shall liberate Kenyans from the yoke of Jubilee."

"From this day, Kenyans will see NASA in its true and grand colours as the face of the Kenyan nation," Raila said.

The 2007 Pentagon, ODM’s top advisory organ, was arguably Kenya’s most resolute party politburo.

It ran a well-oiled political machine that nearly annihilated Kibaki and his PNU brigade.

Its members were Raila, former CS Charity Ngilu, CS Najib Balala, former minister Joe Nyaga and William Ruto.

"Honourable Raila has said something and I believe in it. Chama Cha Mashinani, ANC, Wiper, Ford Kenya and ODM will now recreate a reinvigorated Pentagon. This is the NASA Pentagon," Mudavadi told an excited crowd.

Raila announced that when they hit the road, their campaign machine will be like no other.

"We shall take no county or village for granted. We will go to each of the 47 counties," he pledged.

Wetang’ula said for the past three days, the principals have been holed up in a secret location, unknown to even their most trusted allies.

On Wednesday, they worked until 3.30am to finalise the power-sharing deal.

But the NASA chiefs, keen to exploit the suspense for political mileage, once again put off announcing their ticket.

In his maiden speech as a NASA principal, Governor Rutto said he and the NASA bosses were “ideological soul mates”.

"I cannot continue to associate myself or my supporters with such a ridiculous regime [Jubilee]. We are ideological soul mates with my colleagues here. Raila Amolo Odinga and my friends here have continued to articulate the correct way of managing our economy," the CCM boss said.

Rutto said he is ashamed he once championed the Jubilee coalition and apologised for having participated in formation of a government that he said continues “to tyrannise” Kenyans.

"I am one of those who started and signed onto the coalition called Jubilee. And I am sorry I was part of that process. When we were forming that coalition it was not our intention to tyrannise Kenyans with our numbers. We get ashamed when they continue to talk about the tyranny of numbers, meaning even my own vote is being used to tyrannise others," the CCM boss said.

After weeks of heated exchange between NASA affiliate parties over who would fly the NASA presidential banner, the principals appeared keen to extinguish the flames of speculation.

Wetang’ula warned opposition supporters that they will have to accept the NASA presidential candidate.

"We are asking Kenyans, if you are a Kalonzo supporter and you are saying ‘if it is not Kalonzo you will not vote,’ then you are a Jubilee supporter. If you are a Raila supporter and you are saying ‘if it is not Raila, I will not vote,’ then you are Jubilee supporter," Wetang’ula cautioned.

Several weeks ago, minority leader in the National Assembly Francis Nyenze threatened that Wiper would quit NASA if Kalonzo was not declared the candidate. Wiper has gone quiet on that demand.

Yesterday, Kalonzo said NASA is ready with its parallel tallying system plans. He said the state is plotting to vandalise their tallying machines.

The Wiper leader said they have come up with “a final anti-rigging measure” and there will be no more rigged elections in Kenya. He did not elaborate.

"Hear me. We are aware Jubilee, on hearing of the presidential tallying centre, are planning to get to that place and dissemble [it]. We want them to know we will have another on iCloud, it will not be possible [to interfere with it]," Kalonzo said.

"We shall not do the announcement but before they [IEBC] announce the results, all of us would have known the results. This is the transparent nature we recommend and uphold as a democratic nation with the most vibrant Constitution of 2010."

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