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NASA mum on flagbearer, vows to remain united in bid to remove Jubilee

By Jacob Ngetich | March 25th 2017
NASA rally at the Muliro stadium, Mathare constituency, Nairobi County. PHOTO/ELVIS OGINA (NAIROBI) MARCH 24TH

The National Super Alliance (NASA) returned to the political scene with a bang yesterday after a week marked by fears and speculation over their unity.

But the team continued to keep their supporters in suspense over their choice of flag bearer as they held a huge rally at Masinde Muliro grounds, Mathare, in Nairobi.

They began the day with a meeting at Karen Club where their unity and the delay in procuring of biometric voter kits by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) were discussed.

The four NASA co-principals then proceeded for a one hour lunch meeting at Serena Hotel before leaving for the rally clad in matching shirts and caps.

At the morning meetings, it was agreed that NASA national coordinating committee should complete their report on rules for picking the flag bearer and present it to the principals by end of next week.

At Karen, it was resolved that Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Amani’s Musalia Mudavadi would deliver a message to IEBC that the opposition will take nothing short of free, fair and credible elections.

Sources indicate the leaders had met foreign envoys, including US and UK diplomats, who had expressed fears that IEBC may not be able to conduct the polls given the controversy surrounding the system.

At Masinde Muliro grounds, the four vowed to remain united amid speculations of a rift among them over the choice of NASA flag bearer.

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Led by ODM leader Raila Odinga, the leaders said they were determined to remain united to remove Jubilee -- which it accused of spreading propaganda that the super alliance will break -- from power.

Addressing his first rally after returning to the country from a 10-day tour of South Africa and the US, Raila assured their supporters that Kalonzo was a staunch member of NASA and that the propaganda making rounds was meant to dent their solid unity.

“My brother Kalonzo is here to stay, we were with him in the last polls and are determined to work together again alongside (Ford Kenya leader Moses) Wetang’ula and Mudavadi in this election so that we can elbow Jubilee administration out of power,” he said.

Big statement

He was full of praise for Kalonzo, describing him as a brave leader who would not be cowed or intimidated in his fight to reclaim Kenya from Jubilee misrule.

On Thursday last week, Kalonzo presented his presidential nomination papers to his party, a move that was read that he was planning to go it alone.

But yesterday, the Wiper leader, who was welcomed by Raila to address the charged crowd, said he was prepared to work with his co-principals to win the presidency.

“We will send them parking in August and nothing will stop us,” he said to a thunderous applause from the charged crowd.

Mudavadi, who was the last to address the gathering, warned against issuing ultimatums as the alliance works on the modalities to pick its presidential flag bearer.

“If we are indeed united, politicians should desist from giving ultimatums that it should be Kalonzo, Wetang’ula, Raila, Mudavadi or nothing. From today, that thing should end,” said Mudavadi.

In their media invite, organisers of the rally had indicated that the principals would make a big statement. But after three hours of high voltage talk, the rally ended without what the crowd expected -- naming of a flag bearer.

Instead, Raila tore into Jubilee achievements, claiming Kenyans were not foolish to believe their lies.

“They are telling you that they have built 7,000 kilometres of road since they came to power. The distance they claim to have built is like from Nairobi to Rome, have you seen such in Kenya? They are busy telling lies,” he said.

He dismissed the ruling coalition’s claim of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project as its brainchild, saying it was conceived by the Grand Coalition Government, for which he served as Prime Minister.

“We had completed the concept and even tendered for the construction. All Jubilee did was to retender it and inflate the cost by an extra Sh100 billion. That is the money Ruto is moving around dishing out in harambees. But the days of thieves are coming to an end,” said Raila.

 He said the President was becoming desperate and had resorted to abusing Opposition leaders. “He abused Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok calling him a devil and blocked Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho from attending an official meeting,” he said.

Wetang’ula promised that NASA would hand Jubilee a resounding defeat.

“His (Uhuru’s) time of reckoning is close,” said the Bungoma Senator.

Mudavadi assured the crowd that their unity would last even after they had identified one of them to carry the flag.

“NASA is big, it can accommodate all of us,” he said. Kalonzo said warned IEBC from colluding with Jubilee to rig the elections.

“We picked on you the other day and Kenyans have confidence in you. All we are asking is a free and fair election,” said Kalonzo.

He said the Opposition will establish parallel tallying centres for the presidential vote to ensure it does not fall victim to rigged polls.

“We are now wiser, we will seek to protect out vote. We will not let our victory to be stolen from us again and we request IEBC to ensure a credible election,” said Kalonzo.

Results transmission

But in a swift rejoinder, IEBC ruled out any possibility of political parties setting out their own parallel tallying centers and biometrics.

“The law is very clear. It’s only IEBC that is mandated to handle results transmission and tallying. Nobody else has the mandate. No one can take the job away from us. Will tally the totals and declare the results,” said Chairman Wafula Chebukati.

“The final tallying will be done by us. Once we have declared the winner, the other parties can release their own figures. It is the Constitution, which is the law of the land.”

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