Opposition leaders have declared a united front to face President Uhuru Kenyatta in elections due in seven months.
The leaders yesterday vowed to sacrifice their individual ambitions to prevent a fallout.
In a fashion similar to Narc’s 2002 movement, the leaders vowed to forfeit their individual quest to rule the country for the “sake of salvaging Kenya from Jubilee’s mismanagement and runaway corruption”, in what they say will mark the country’s third and last liberation.
Rallying their supporters under the clarion ‘a people united can never be defeated’, the leaders said they will never go separate ways and will ensure the broad-based Opposition coalition under the banner National Super Alliance (NASA) will form the next Government.
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) co-principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula, Amani National Congress (ANC) Musalia Mudavadi and Kanu secretary general Nick Salat, said they were determined to walk together to stop the prospects of another five years of Jubilee administration.
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However, the independence party said Mr Salat was there in his own capacity as the party’s organs had not spoken.
And speakers at the mega gathering at the Bomas of Kenya did not mince their words in warning their principals against going separate ways.
They told the principals that the country will not forgive them should they fail the unity test ahead of the August 8 General Election.
They warned they will not tolerate infighting that could see them divided like in 1992, when the Opposition fielded multiple candidates for the presidency that occasioned Kanu’s continued stay in office.
Raila told an excited mammoth crowd that the meeting was the beginning of liberating Kenya from the yoke of Jubilee, which he accused of presiding over massive theft and corruption, excluding parts of the country as well as paralysing the country’s economy.
“We’re also here to emphasise that we are one Opposition team, with the common dream of liberating Kenyans from the yoke of Jubilee.
In a way therefore, today marks the beginning of the people of Kenya taking their destiny into their own hands in the final bid to preserve our nation,” said Raila.
Raila described the next polls as a high-stakes event that will either push the country to ruin or to prosperity, urging supporters to shun Jubilee for the country’s growth.
“We must respond in a way that is commensurate with the stakes at hand. If the last four years is anything to go by, the elections of 2017 will determine whether we remain a viable nation or we go the route of collapse that has stalked much of Africa.
“Kenya has been tested to the limit these last four years. It cannot stand another five years of Jubilee,” Raila told the cheering crowd, majorly made up of Opposition governors, senators, MPs, MCAs and other leaders.
“We are here to agree to stop Jubilee from ruining our country beyond August 2017. Defeating Jubilee in August is not about the Opposition taking power. It is a national duty and a civic responsibility to save Kenya,” added Raila.
In an emotionally-delivered speech that saw all the Opposition leaders stand, Kalonzo said he was ready to sacrifice his quest for their unity in order to send Jubilee home.
Kalonzo told his co-principals that they have to be honest and table everything on the table in picking the super alliance presidential candidate.
He talked of previous political betrayals, stating that they will be honest to each other moving forward.
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“This time, we’ll not allow political betrayal in our ranks. We will put everything on the table. I have sacrificed before and I’m ready to sacrifice again because I love this country so much. I expect this kind of sacrifice also from my colleagues,” said Kalonzo.
He declared that “this is the time for change in this country” and told President Uhuru and his deputy, William Ruto, to brace for a defeat.
“We put Jubilee on notice to accept that they have been be defeated.
We must roll up our sleeves. We will not do it for a show. We are in a contest where we are telling you a free and credible elections must take place,” added Kalonzo.
Mr Mudavadi, who has been the brainchild of NASA, said the Opposition was serious in fronting a united front to face Jubilee Party.
He said he has walked a divided path before, and vowed to work with his fellow Opposition leaders since that will be the only way to win the polls.
“I’m saying that the unity we are demonstrating here is not fiction taking us nowhere. Unity is strength. I have walked that path, it’s narrow and long. But if we walk together, that path is short. We want to broaden the Opposition. Time has come to put in place a strategy for broadening the Opposition. Let’s not engage in sideshows,” said Mudavadi.
“I’m asking you, let this be a serious unity. I have been pushing for super alliance because my eyes have been opened. It’s time for unity. Our being here must signify something. It must signify the end of Jubilee,” he added.
Mr Wetang’ula said the country was at a crossroads, and told Opposition leaders and supporters that they will only win through a united front.
He said he was ready to support whoever will be picked to fly the Opposition flag, adding that all of them are fit to lead the country.
“We are here to tell you that our country is at a crossroads. Our country is heading in the wrong direction. Each one of you must stand to be counted. As tigers, we must pounce. We have to leave here knowing that the path for electoral theft has to been made (by Jubilee),” said Wetang’ula.
And Vihiga Senator George Khaniri led Luhya leaders in declaring their unity and promising to deliver Western votes to the Opposition.
This was to allay perceived supremacy battle between Mudavadi and Wetang’ula.
Salat, on his part, said Kanu was supportive of the Opposition coming together.
“I said I will not be left behind in this movement. I want to tell you that as Kanu, tuko ndani kabisa (Kanu is part of the movement),” said Mr Salat.
But Kanu, in a statement through Zipporah Kittony, distanced itself from Salat’s remarks terming them personal.
“Kanu supports the idea in its formative stage of Opposition unity in that this and the resolve by the Opposition leaders to field one presidential candidate, is a milestone in Kenya’s growing democracy. However, the remarks by Hon Nick salat at Bomas of Kenya are personal sentiments and do not reflect in any way the position of the party on the matter of an election coalition at this juncture,” said Kittony.