Kalonzo pushes Raila hard for the NASA ticket

NASA Coalition principals Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga, Isaac Ruto, Kalonzo Musyoka, and Moses Wetangula after announcing the membership of Chama cha mashinani party at the Bomas of Kenya on April 20, 2017. Photo/Jack Owuor
NASA Coalition principals Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga, Isaac Ruto, Kalonzo Musyoka, and Moses Wetangula after announcing the membership of Chama cha mashinani party at the Bomas of Kenya on April 20, 2017. Photo/Jack Owuor

Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka is pushing hard to be the NASA presidential candidate or at least, Musalia Mudavadi’s running mate.

Last Thursday, the National Super Alliance announced it would reveal its ticket this Thursday at a huge rally at Uhuru Park. This led to speculation a decision finally had been reached, the infighting was over and opposition unity was intact.

However, the issue remains contentious.

NASA has yet to agree on who will face President Uhuru Kenyatta in the General Election on August 8, and the line-up of officials in the presumptive new government.

Kalonzo told his colleagues yesterday he has the best chance of defeating Jubilee, with ANC's Mudavadi as his running mate.

“The Wiper leader has made it clear it is important NASA wins with a big margin and the only person who can guarantee that is Kalonzo," a Kalonzo aide told the Star yesterday.

"However, if Kalonzo is not the candidate, then he will be happy to serve as Mudavadi’s deputy because that ticket will still be strong,” he said.

Under this arrangement, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of ODM would be the new Premier Cabinet Secretary, the most powerful minister in the government.

However, Raila has insisted he is the most popular candidate and Kalonzo should be his deputy to deliver a decisive NASA victory.

According to Raila, he won both the 2007 and 2013 elections but his victories were stolen.

He says with NASA going to the elections as one unit, his numbers will increase dramatically.

Under this arrangement, Mudavadi would become the Premier Cabinet Secretary.

However, a third compromise scenario has emerged in which Mudavadi would be the presidential candidate and Kalonzo his running mate. Raila then would be the Premier Cabinet Secretary.

Yesterday, the NASA Pentagon discussed these scenarios but did not reach a decision. the Pentagon of five principals also includes Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula.

They resume discussions today.

They are racing against time to hammer out a deal before Thursday, having committed themselves to announcing the torchbearer at Uhuru Park.

Today they are expected to use the report by foreign consultants to decide the flagbearer.

Nine foreign consultants have reconstructed a power-sharing formula, developed by the NASA technical committee headed by lawyer Dan Ameyo. However, it was not taken into account by the National Coordinating Committee led by Siaya Senator James Orengo.

In making recommendations, the consultants considered many factors, including 2013 voter turnout, ethnic voting patterns, the Census and current Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission voter registration figures by ethnic communities.

It is understood Wetang’ula is backing a Raila-Kalonzo ticket because he believes a Mudavadi-Kalonzo ticket will weaken his political career.

NASA's proposed new government structure significantly reduces the powers of the President, making him almost a ceremonial figure.

According to the structure, the President’s main responsibility will be to chair Cabinet meetings, perform all state functions and make all state appointments.

The NASA Deputy President will assist the President and will act as President if the head of state is unable to perform his duties.

The 22 Cabinet slots provided in the Constitution have been organised in five clusters, each to be headed by one of the five principals.

They are the Presidency, Infrastructure and Economic affairs, Public Service, Devolution Affairs and Trade and Industry.

The new Premier Cabinet Secretary will be very powerful because his main responsibility will be to coordinate all national government operations and Interior affairs, including national security units.

The Premier CS will answer directly to the President and have the power to recommend hiring and firing of any senior government official.

Under the Premier CS will be two powerful deputies of equal rank. One will be responsible for Devolution and 10 other Cabinet Secretaries. The other will be responsible for Public Service plus 10 other ministries.

While the five principals have agreed to allocate themselves each four Cabinet positions if they win, they have emphasised that no tribe will dominate the Cabinet.

If it wins, NASA hope to amend Constitution to create the position of Prime Minister. It would further amend the Constitution to allow elected MPs to serve as Cabinet ministers.

They argue this will enable them to better articulate government policies than today when all Cabinet ministers are from outside Parliament.

NASA leaders have also signed an agreement ensuring as many tribes as possible are represented in higher government positions, especially the Cabinet.

Expert comment:

The Principal Secretaries will come from different communities so leadership is seen as all-inclusive. The Alliance says this is in contrast with Jubilee, which is dominated by two major tribes.

Apart from the Cabinet, each principal has also been guaranteed at least four parastatal slots of their choice.

The opposition chiefs have reserved defining and filling 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.

“Leadership is about power and power must be shared and dispersed horizontally to lead this country properly. The agreement on power-sharing is already finished.

“In our culture, the cow is shared before it is slaughtered — who will take the hind leg, the foreleg, the head and who will have the ribs. That we have finished,” Wetang’ula said last Thursday at the Bomas of Kenya when Rutto joined the coalition.

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