After the frenzy, NASA must re-package itself

I applaud CJ Maraga and the Supreme Court for the landmark ruling they made on Friday, 1 September 2017. I do so not because I am a supporter of Odinga but because I am a lover of truth. The Holy Book states, “speak the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Well, for the most part, in the eye of the public and of the world, the Supreme Court has “redeemed” and set itself free. Kenya becomes the third country in the world—and the first in Africa—to nullify a presidential election.

Without dilly-dallying, the question NASA luminaries should begin asking themselves is, “where do we go from here?” The celebratory frenzy on their part was—and is—understandable. But it must not cloud their strategy as to think that they are home and dry. In the grand scheme of things, the nullification of President Uhuru’s re-election takes us to square one. It is going to be a marathon and the Railonzo team needs to re-organize themselves in a way they never have. It is Raila’s very last gift from the gods. Considering that Uhuru is still the de facto and de jure president with a fairly strong popularity and clout, it is not to be imagined that it is going to be an easy ride.

In fact, in view of the monumental task and grand target, that of unseating Uhuru, winning the petition—though historic—is but an easy triumph! In 2004, Ukraine became the first country to annul a presidential election. Viktor Yanukovych petitioned the election of Victor Yushchenko who had been declared the winner by the electoral body of Ukraine, the Central Election Commission. The Court nullified the election and called for a repeat election. Yushchenko won again. Austria was the second country in the world in which the judiciary nullified a presidential election. In 2016, Norbert Hofer went to court to challenge the election of his competitor Alexander Van De Bellen.

The court ordered for a repeat exercise and Alexander Van De Bellen trounced Norbert a second time. While these two cases do not have a direct bearing in how the Kenyan re-election might turn out, they should presage something for NASA. From press conference held at Statehouse and rally at Burma Market following the court ruling, it is evident that President Uhuru is quite vexed by the ruling of the “six people [who] have decided that they will go against the will of Kenyans…” That was not unexpected. We did not hope to see him praise the Chief Justice and the court. But NASA must not be fooled to regard him as flat footed. If Railonzo fails to do their homework well, he can—and will—still beat them in a fresh election. That’s the bitter pill the opposition bandwagon must be prepared to swallow come November. As the legendary reggae ambassador and journalist Jeff Mwangemi often says, “if you blink, you miss the link.” NASA must never blink!

It is time the Raila campaign team eschewed vainglorious rhetoric. They got to strategize well. They got to spend—because money is the language of Kenyan politics. They got to re-package. They got to be thorough. They got to keep vigil to the very finish. For the day they blink, they miss the link.