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August 21, 2018

It's Raila-Kalonzo! NASA experts say

Raila Odinga with Kalonzo Musyoka. Photo/ Jack Owuor
Raila Odinga with Kalonzo Musyoka. Photo/ Jack Owuor

The NASA technical committee has settled on ODM leader Raila Odinga as the presidential candidate and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka as his running mate.

The final decision will however be made by the four principals, Raila, Kalonzo, Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi by consensus. 

The principals are expected to meet this afternoon after talks with officials of the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission.

If the four accept the technical committee’s proposal, the joint Opposition ticket will be a rematch of the 2013 election, which Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta won handily.

NASA’s National Coordinating Committee made its decision on Tuesday, after 60 days of tense negotiations.

“We are now done. We sat until 12am on Tuesday. But we are happy about our report,” said a member of the committee who sought anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The committee included economist Dr David Ndii, Nairobi University professor Dr Adams Oloo, Kabarak University law professor Elisha Ongoya, former member of the now-defunct Constitution of Kenya Review Commission Abubakar Zein and ex-Mumias Sugar Company chairman Dan Ameyo.

The 12-member team was due to meet the principals last evening to formally present the report, which the four will study.

“We have not seen any report and it will be premature for anyone to make that announcement,” said a source close to Mudavadi.

The principals are expected to publicly sign the historic agreement at a major political rally in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park grounds on the weekend of April 15-16.

The report also outlines the composition and structure of a NASA government should the opposition win the August 8 polls.


Proposes chief minister

Part of the proposals is to create the position of a chief minister, equivalent to the powerful position of Prime Minister, who will be a first among equals in the NASA Cabinet.

The position, to be occupied by Mudavadi, will have sweeping powers to whip the Cabinet and will have an expanded mandate to supervise and coordinate government business.

The creation of this position would however neutralise the current powerful position of the National Assembly Majority Leader held by Garissa Township MP Aden Duale.

The principals, however, have created the leeway to adopt the report the way it is, or introduce amendments that will inform the preelection coalition agreement.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, the Ford Kenya party leader, will occupy the influential position of Speaker of the National Assembly, currently the third most powerful position in the land after the President and Deputy President’s.


2013 outcome

In 2013, Raila ran for the country’s top job with Kalonzo as his running mate, but lost to Uhuru in the disputed election – the most fiercely but peaceful presidential battle of the multiparty era.

Uhuru, who ran on the TNA ticket, garnered 6,173,433 votes against Raila’s 5,340,546 votes.

Raila challenged Uhuru’s victory at the Supreme Court but lost the historic petition for lack of sufficient evidence to force the cancellation of the Presidential results.

The NCC burnt the midnight oil on Tuesday to beat the seven-day ultimatum given by Wiper last week to name the NASA presidential candidate.

Wiper, through National Assembly Minority Leader Francis Nyenze, a member of the NCC, had threatened to pull out of the opposition alliance if the flagbearer were not named by yesterday.

But when contacted by the Star yesterday, Nyenze who was upcountry, said he did not attend Tuesday’s meeting and had not been briefed on the deliberations.

“As I speak to you I am in my rural home, I was supposed to be in the meeting but I could not make it,” said the Kitui West MP.

Nyenze however insisted that the voice of the Kamba people is that unless Kalonzo is the flagbearer, Wiper will bolt from NASA.

“Nothing has changed, our position is the same – that if it’s not Kalonzo, then there is no NASA. That is the position of the Kamba nation,” he reiterated.

The move by the NCC to settle on Raila was informed by technical proposals from a team of experts that had been studying the strengths and weakness of the four principals to come up with the best duo that can trounce Uhuru at the ballot.

Last month, the technical committee emphatically said it must be Raila.

The committee warned that excluding the ODM leader and former Prime Minister would outrage his supporters and convert intact opposition bastions into battlegrounds with Jubilee.

The technical team’s analysis indicated that if Raila is not the flagbearer, nearly all ODM turf becomes swing-vote areas, a political gamble that would leave President Uhuru in place at State House.


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