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Talks flop as Mudavadi plays hardball on NASA funds saga

POLITICS
By Brian Otieno | July 23rd 2021

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka with ANC Leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula at his Karen offices. [File, Standard]

Planned talks among National Super Alliance (NASA) principals flopped owing to suspicion from Musalia Mudavadi-led Amani National Congress (ANC) party.

Inside sources say the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga and his Wiper party counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka's Thursday meeting on the impasse over political parties funding, aborted because they saw it as an exercise in futility.

The Standard has learnt that ANC opposed the talks with some members saying they would not get any money from ODM.

The feeling was also mutual among some Wiper party members, who argued that ODM has denied them funds since the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) and therefore the sought meeting to be arbitrated by the Registrar of Political parties Ann Nderitu, is just a 'smoke screen' to forestall their divorce plans.

ANC’s decision to quit NASA was allegedly driven by this assumption.

ANC deputy party Leader and Lugari MP Ayub Savula said the divorce had secured approval of the party's council.

“The PG we held on Thursday was to take note. MPs do not adopt or reject the resolutions. The ANC council which is the top party organ, had endorsed the divorce,” said Savula.

A NASA inter-party parliamentary group (PG) meeting, planned to iron out the contention, was rescheduled to next week to allow for further consultations.

The PG was among resolutions of Tuesday’s meeting of the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) also attended by KANU chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

Softened stance

Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya and Kalonzo’s Wiper had scheduled separate PGs yesterday to ratify their exit from NASA—in the footsteps of ANC—but postponed them.

“Ford Kenya was to convene its PG today, but it was postponed after there was a preliminary report that Raila requested for more time to look for a framework to unlock the disputed political funds' issues,” said Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa.

The ODM chief is believed to have softened his stand on how the cash should be shared. A Wiper lawmaker who spoke in confidence said they, too, do not expect to get a share of the cash.

“ODM has already spent a significant amount on acquiring its new offices. It is said they spent Sh67 million to buy their offices. Arbitration by the registrar of political parties may not yield anything,” the legislator said.

The lawmaker also said Kalonzo was mobilising party members for next week’s meeting.

But there still exists confusion within NASA over the Raila and Kalonzo meeting. Wiper officials insist no meeting took place, even as Ford-K members claim that the two met.

Wamalwa said although they are yet to ascertain the information on the fund's deadlock talks between Raila and Kalonzo, whom they had tasked to engage on their behalf, they were also the issue of a quorum as members are on recess.

“We were advised to put the inter parties’ PG off. We will wait for members to resume after recess next week not deliberate on the matter. The task was also decided on short notice,” said the Kiminini MP.

“Contrary to perception out there, we have a common agreement and our aspiration as the NASA coalition is to resolve issues amicably. Nothing is cast on stone,” he added, saying that ODM was welcome to join OKA.

He argued that NASA is approaching its sunset days as they head to the 2022 General Election, they can either form a new coalition or enhance what we have like OKA and ODM is welcomed.

He stressed that NASA coalition members are a family and therefore will not bow to external forces pressure.

“This a firefighting. It is siblings fight and we will emerge victorious. He made reference to John 1.18 “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”. Let not speculate, it’s just the NASA sunset days or comes up with a bigger coalition,” he stated.

Wamalwa further took a swipe at the faction led by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi and his Tongaren counterpart Dr Esseli Simyu who have accused Wetang’ula side of being imposters and therefore cannot engage on behalf of the party.

“They are barred by the court from transacting any business on behalf of the party. The Deputy Secretary-General Millicent Ambutho is the one legally allowed to run party affairs,” stated Wamalwa.

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