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November 13, 2018

The lie that is opposition NASA

NASA Coalition principals peruse through the coalition agreements during their Rally at Uhuru Park on April 27, 2017./JACK OWUOR
NASA Coalition principals peruse through the coalition agreements during their Rally at Uhuru Park on April 27, 2017./JACK OWUOR

In a newspaper report a few weeks ago, High Court judge George Odunga is said to have declined to stop a case against the IEBC on the basis that NASA had a right by law to be heard as an aggrieved party. As I read that news item, I remember wondering to myself, “At what point did NASA become ‘a party’? ’’

NASA is a political coalition that brings together Raila Odinga’s ODM, Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper, Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya and Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC. Isaac Rutto’s Chama Cha Mashinani is somewhere in that mix as well, though it is unclear whether he and his party are part of the original agreement or are an addendum to whatever MoU was signed between the founder parties. Then Wiper has its own sub-agreements with Wavinya Ndeti’s Chama Cha Uzalendo , Charity Ngilu’s Narc and Kivutha Kibwana’s Muungano Party. Again, it is not clear whether these parties are part of the original NASA agreement, or their pact is with Wiper and then Wiper takes them to NASA.

Then when one looks at NASA more closely it is even more confusing. First, the ‘NASA’ presidential candidate is actually running on the ODM ticket. This means the August 8 presidential election is not between NASA and the Jubilee Party, as we keep hearing, but between Jubilee and ODM; specifically between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila respectively. Uhuru’s running mate is William Ruto from the Jubilee Party. However, Raila’s running mate, Kalonzo, for some reason, also appears on the IEBC register as a presidential candidate — under Wiper.

At the county level the confusion continues. In the Mombasa governor race, for example, we have Wiper’s Senator Hassan Omar running against Governor Hassan Joho of ODM. The two candidates are then running against one Jubilee candidate, Suleiman Shahbal. Wetang’ula, a co-principal of ‘NASA’ is running for the Bungoma Senate seat under Ford Kenya. Ruto, the other co-principal, is running for Bomet governor under CCM.

At parliamentary and ward level, it gets murkier. Wiper candidates are running against Ford Kenya candidates, who are running against ANC candidates, and all are running against ODM candidates, etc.

But there is an argument that NASA exists as an MoU at the Registrar of Political Parties. Let us interrogate that too.

For a contract to be legal and genuine, it must deal with issues within the law as currently constructed. However, the NASA MoU was signed but the agreements are on issues that require us to change our current laws for the contract to be implemented. Then consider that these changes are not even guaranteed to pass.

Think about this. Ford Kenya’s Wetang’ula (or is it Mudavadi) is in NASA because he will be Deputy Chief Minister in the NASA government. However, to get there, ODM’s Raila must win the August poll. He must then immediately sign an executive decree to create the office of Chief Minister. They must then initiate a national referendum, which NASA must win. So how does NASA exist – when what brings its leaders together actually doesn’t? We need to be honest with ourselves. This ‘NASA’ we speak about, to which judges even refer to, does not actually exist. Not at national level at the presidential campaign nor at county level in gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns. Not at local parliamentary and ward campaigns.

Even the ‘NASA’ co-principals do not associate with it in any way beyond the publicity of the name. Raila is not running on it, neither is Wetang’ula, neither is Kalonzo or Rutto (and where are the women in this team by the way?)

The truth is that NASA is essentially one of the most well-crafted political campaign deceits of our time. A Big Lie very well sold.

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