A war of words has erupted among Opposition-allied parties over a contested recommendation on the presidential candidate for the alliance.
The Orange party ignited a bitter row with the assertion that contents of a leaked report that suggested a Raila Odinga-Kalonzo Musyoka ticket is favored by the National Super Alliance (NASA) were accurate.
The statement drew angry reactions from Wiper, Ford-Kenya and Amani National Congress who insisted there was no deal yet by the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) and cautioned the Orange party against undermining the talks.
SOUGHT TO CALM
Later, ODM leader Raila Odinga told the media to give NASA a break, adding that the coalition would announce the presidential flag bearer once they agree.
“The fact we have not announced means that we have not agreed. Once we have agreed we shall make it public. Please give us a break,” Raila said in response to prodding by journalists concerning the feud sparked by his party officials.
ODM secretary general Agnes Zani had said the committee considered the report that was to be shared with Raila, Kalonzo, Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi for consultation and further agreement.
“Clarification has to be made that the report was valid and existent. NCC had been mandated to come up with that report and we did. That report leaked out in the form that the media presented. A few aspects and figures were not those of the committee but the line-up presented had been agreed on in the committee,” said Dr Zani.
The reported recommendation had Raila as the presidential candidate, Kalonzo his running mate, Mudavadi designated as Chief Minister and Wetang’ula tipped for National Assembly Speaker should NASA win power in the August 8 elections.
However, ANC secretary general Godfrey Osotsi said the statement demonstrated that ODM was “negotiating in bad faith”.
“The ODM statement is a confession that leaves no doubt as to where leaks of working documents meant to undermine NASA unity have been coming from. It is confirmation that ODM is negotiating in bad faith. This is bad manners that shouldn’t be entertained in any negotiation,” said Mr Osotsi.
He argued that NCC did not have the mandate to identify a NASA flag bearer.
“It is this flawed arrogation of assumed mandate by a party to negotiations that could jeopardise NASA unity,” Osotsi warned.
Wiper’s NCC representative Farah Maalim said: “That’s a personal statement. A line-up will be announced soon by the four NASA principals and not individual parties. Dr Zani is entitled to her personal opinion but that’s not the position of the NCC.”
“Every party is trying to up their game to position itself for the ultimate prize. The final decision lies with the four principals. But ODM is doing a great diservice to the coalition. It wants to create the wrong impression that ODM is equal to NASA which it is not,” added Enoch Wambua, Wiper’s Kitui Senate aspirant.
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Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale, who represents Ford Kenya in the NCC, dismissed the statement by Dr Zani, saying it did not represent the coalition.
“The agreed position will be declared jointly by NASA ,” Khalwale said, warning that the declarations by individual parties like ODM was causing tension.
Ford-Kenya criticised ODM’s decision to qualify reports that NASA had settled on Raila and Kalonzo to fly the coalition’s presidential flag. “We reiterate that the decision on who flies the flag is still work in progress and one which the four principals will be holding a critical retreat very soon.