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Fear of fallout as each NASA partner pushes for their own

By Jacob Ng'etich and Nzau Musau | Updated Sun, March 19th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3
ODM Deputy Party Leader Hassan Joho addresses locals at lamu mainland Mokowe trading center in lamu County on Saturday 18th March,2017 afternoon. Joho who is also the Mombasa County Governor was leading the Party's rally in his ongoing political Coast Counties rally tour. PHOTO BY MAARUFU MOHAMED/DSTANDARD.

National Super Alliance affiliate (NASA) principals continued upping their respective prospects for landing the coalition’s presidential ticket amid fears that unbridled agitation could spiral out of control.

The latest wave of agitation, spurred on by Wiper Democratic Movement’s unilateral endorsement of Kalonzo Musyoka as its presidential flag-bearer on Thursday, has clouded the road to identifying a single ticket with suspicions, mistrusts and fear of eventual break-up.

While Kalonzo insists that there is nothing wrong with his side asserting its claim to the coveted ticket, co-principal Raila Odinga’s close allies believe the Wiper leader has crossed the line and is essentially bullying his way to the ticket.

Musalia Mudavadi, the Amani National Congress (ANC) leader, on the other hand, has run out of patience with grandstanding and dared those who want to leave to do so. Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula has ducked and is keeping a low profile as confusion rolls.

“I am increasing my stakes in the coalition and this should not be seen as an attempt to take off. I have repeatedly said I am in the coalition to the end and I could be more NASA than anyone else because I believe our unity will be the only weapon to save Kenya from rudderless Jubilee administration,” Kalonzo said on Friday when he received County Assembly Forum Chairperson Nassir Nuh into Wiper.

In the last few weeks, Kalonzo has gone on an overdrive to consolidate his vote base, unilaterally build alliances with regional parties, poach candidates from other parties and project an image of an unstoppable candidate.

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His resurgence, however, is in a sharp contrast to the haemorrhage in his main competitor, ODM, as key party leaders defect to Jubilee in Coast and North Eastern regions. His co-principal Raila, who is out of the country, has also maintained a low profile.

“Even when we are in a coalition, each party has an inherent character and has the right to hold difference of opinions as long as the overall focus of the coalition is not lost. As they say, show me absolute unity and I will show you absolute dictatorship,” said Wiper Secretary General Hassan Omar.

Omar said that as emotional as the political jostling was among the coalition parties, the alliance was still intact and the principals fate were tied together for their victory. “There is unity in the coalition, the four leaders know that the unity is key, but as parties we will continue to strive and expand our spaces in the political scene."

At the height of disunity claims, Mudavadi on Friday fired a salvo at his fellow principals that they either remained united and formed the government after the August 8 polls or they crumbled and remained in the opposition.

“No one among us can afford to go it alone and pretend that they can make an impact in the coming elections. NASA is a people’s movement, it is not built on personalities. We may symbolise NASA but we aren’t NASA. Anyone who wants to go it alone will truly go alone because that move will not break NASA,” he said.

Mudavadi said NASA ticket was a collective one through which he was seeking an opportunity to harness the fertile talent and experience within its leadership to make Kenya better.

Two days before Mudavadi’s warning, some ODM hardliner MPs met in one of the legislators’ home and drafted several ultimatums to their party boss.

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In a leaked document obtained by The Standard on Sunday, the fatigue of the party with internal jostling for the ticket is laid bare, the upshot being that they cannot take it anymore.

Among the inward-looking resolutions of the MPs is a request to their party leader to consider going it alone on ODM ticket in August elections.

But yesterday, Siaya Senator James Orengo and his Machakos counterpart Johnstone Muthama downplayed the internal jostling in the coalition, calling it friendly fires.


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