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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Power struggles, infighting in NASA cost Raila State House

NASA leader Raila Odinga is seen leaving the IEBC National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya yesterday.Photo Monicah Mwangi.
NASA leader Raila Odinga is seen leaving the IEBC National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya yesterday.Photo Monicah Mwangi.

Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s chances of victory were dimmed by infighting, lack of coordination, multiple centres of power and bungled party primaries.

Raila had tens of technocrats who worked on a grand strategy to seal what they said was the only possible rigging loophole, but the game plans remained largely on paper.

The initial plan was that NASA’s state-of-the-art parallel tallying centre would provide presidential vote results within eight hours after polling stations close.

The eight-hour tallying was to put pressure on the Wafula Chebukati-led electoral agency not to fiddle with tallies, as NASA strategists say happened in 2007 and 2013, when Raila lost.

However, on the Election Day, Raila did not have agents in hundreds of polling stations across Jubilee bastions, mostly in Central and Rift Valley.

The adopt-a-polling station strategy,a major rallying cry by NASA of deploying at least five agents per polling station, was not implemented.

This was a replica of the 2013 blunder that the then Cord claimed created a major loophole for the doctoring of the presidential results.

Claims that state operatives bought out Raila’s agents followed by a daring raid of the NASA tallying centre further punctured the opposition
campaign machine.
The Star has established that weeks to the polls, the coordination of party agents was assigned to ex-political detainee and ODM head of strategy Wafula Buke.
NASA SAYS RAILA WON
So, as Raila protested that the IEBC IT system was hacked to manipulate the election results, the opposition did not have all the results from across the country, especially polling stations.
Prominent Kenyan NGOs, including Kenya Human Rights Commission, which deployed observers, have come in handy to assist NASA.

In fact, when Raila and his team alleged that data in IEBC servers had given them a huge lead of over 8.04 million votes, Chebukati challenged NASA to back their evidence with declaration forms.

“Although you refer to data that supposedly support the number of votes referred to in your letter, you have not attached copies of Forms 34As or 34Bs or the raw data allegedly contained in the IEBC servers for purposes of authentication of your tabulation and comparison with the actual data received by the Commission,” Chebukati said.

Weeks to the election, Raila quietly demoted his head of presidential campaign Willis Otieno in what was the first signal of infighting and trouble in the NASA camp.

In a damning memo that was sent to all NASA secretariat staff, Hamida Kibwana, a former IEBC official now working for Raila, accused Otieno of interfering in the recruitment of agents.

Hamida accused Otieno of concentrating in making money at the expense of a Raila presidency.

Otieno was largely seen as an appendage of businessman Jimmy Wanjigi, another character whose entry into Raila’s inner circle triggered disquiet and claims it was a blow to Raila’s anti-graft crusade.

INCOMPETENCE

In the memo that was also copied to Raila, Hamida said Otieno had no electoral knowledge to head the secretariat.

Hamida was backed by most of Raila’s staff, including NASA chief executive officer Norman Magaya.

A vicious power tussle and claims of sabotage then ensued as Raila’s childhood friend and former Kenya

Electricity Transmission general manager Joe Ager took over as head of campaign. Ager had joined the campaign

team at the tail end as head of operations.

SPLIT VOTES

But this is not all.

The NASA wave across the country was halted by bungled ODM primaries followed by nasty infighting by the opposition affiliate parties.

The inability to agree on single joint candidates for various posts meant affiliate parties fielded their own candidates.

This split the vote and predictably benefitted Jubilee.

It bolstered Jubilee’s narrative that the polls were free and fair because of their supermajority in Parliament.

The ruling coalition has captured 144 MP seats from the 290 constituencies and 26 woman representative posts in the 47 counties.

ODM follows with 63 MPs and 10 woman reps, while Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper is third with 20 MPs and three woman representatives.

Some candidates who ditched ODM after allegedly being rigged out won as independent candidates.

This include journalist Mohamed Ali, who won big in Nyali constituency.

Yesterday, majority leader Aden Duale told the Star even if Raila was declared winner, they are capable of

impeaching him within 10 days.

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