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February 20, 2019

Who’s attacking NASA armada?

Cyrus Jirongo./FILE
Cyrus Jirongo./FILE

Former chairman of the now-defunct Youth for Kanu ’92 Cyrus Jirongo says he would support the National Super Alliance if Musalia Mudavadi is picked as its presidential candidate. But Jirongo does not say what he would do if NASA does not nominate the former Deputy Prime Minister as its presidential ticket holder.

Minority Chief Whip Francis Nyenze declares the end of NASA unless Kalonzo Musyoka is its presidential ticket holder. But he does not consider how far the Wiper Democratic Movement would go if Kalonzo walked the presenting terrain alone.

In 2007, Kalonzo quit the opposition formation with a shrivelled ODM-Kenya to a losing solo presidential bid. Kalonzo was later co-opted as Vice President in a reactionary plot following demonstrations against a bungled presidential election.

The same forces, Kalonzo confirms, have betrayed the man from Tseikuru twice over to keep power in the House. Kalonzo was President Kibaki’s post-election bouncing board in 2008. But the power and economic elite around State House would not allow the Kamba outsider the chance to climb the next mountain.

Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in 2012 edged Kalonzo out of what was then building up as a Kamba, Kikuyu, and Kalenjin alliance. He was driven into the hands of Raila Odinga in the rested Coalition for Reforms and Democracy.

Raila was the Cord presidential candidate in 2013, with Kalonzo as his running mate. Kalonzo would have been Cord’s presidential candidate in 2017, if Raila had become President. Raila has not served ‘one presidential term’ and Cord has given way to NASA, bringing in new players.

Unless opposition leaders stand by their promise, history could repeat itself. In January at the Bomas of Kenya, and last month at the Okoa Kenya offices in Lavington, Nairobi, the NASA principals committed to a unified opposition. The alliance presented a seven-point national reconstruction deal.

Some forces are, however, shaking this deal to scuttle the opposition. The intrigues in NASA, whether real or imaginary, sound familiar, with definite ethnic fault lines. But do malleable politicians learn from history?

“If NASA wants to win, give the seat to Kalonzo Musyoka. For the Kamba, he is our option 1, 2, 3, 4 until infinity,” says Wavinya Ndeti, leader of Chama Cha Uzalendo.

Wavinya, Narc leader Charity Ngilu, Mutua Katuku of People Trust Party, and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, formerly of stand-alone Muungano Party, have joined NASA, through Wiper. The united Kamba front hopes to energise Kalonzo’s bid for the opposition presidential run.

When Ababu Namwamba deserted ODM last year, he sounded like a latter-day prophet on a mission to consolidate the Mulembe Nation. The ‘Luhya consciousness’ claim was marketed as a search for a rebirth of Ingo patriotism. But Ababu has since abandoned Mulembe consciousness for Jubilee. The Ababu act, it was claimed then, was a sponsored excuse to scuttle the opposition.

Cynics suggested there were extraneous forces behind the Budalang’i MP’s wander across the unforgiving power terrain. There could have been some motivation, which blinded the perception of the former rabble-rouser.

Those forces are also at play to muddle the Raila and Mudavadi-inspired NASA wave. Will the Armada sail through the turbulence of ascendant vested interests?

Hope is stubborn, but let’s say this: There is the easy and the hard part in the NASA search for a presidential candidate. The easy part is simple, scientific, measurable and verifiable. But no one wants to hear about opinion polls.

The hard part is emotive, passionately anti-fact and ethnically prejudiced. There are possible monetary considerations, making the hard part even more complicated.

Kalonzo tells NASA supporters he did not meet President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa last week. But the Wiper delegate in the NASA presidential search team, Nyenze, is throwing rusty spanners into the works. His ‘No Kalonzo, No NASA’ chorus is a familiar tune likely to entertain Jubilee functionaries.

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