Principals now scheme to make One Kenya Alliance formidable ahead of polls

The One Kenya Alliance Principals, during their consultation meeting on the current state of affairs of the Country at Kalonzo's Karen offices in Nairobi on May 18, 2021. [Dennis Kavisu, Standard]

The One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals have convened a joint parliamentary group meeting today as part of strategies to make the outfit formidable ahead of next year’s elections.

The eight-member technical committee will brief the meeting on the alliance’s manifesto, discuss a report highlighting its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

The coalition brings together Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, Baringo Senator and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula.

Mudavadi yesterday described the meeting as “a brief.”

Ford Kenya Secretary General and Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa disclosed that the technical team was working on a framework to accommodate Kanu, which has indicated plans to continue working with Jubilee. Kanu has a coalition agreement with Jubilee Party and can only join OKA after formally quitting the same.

“There is a framework being worked on to accommodate them (Kanu). Already our technical team is working on our manifesto that our members will be briefed on today. In terms of structure, we have borrowed heavily from NASA,” said Dr Wamalwa. National Assembly Deputy Minority Leader and Kathiani MP Robert Mbui said the meeting would mark the beginning of a new political journey ahead of the polls.

He disclosed that there were plans to bring on board Narc leader and Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Party of National Unity (PNU) that swept former President Kibaki to power in 2007 as well as Muungano Party.

Symbolic signing

“We expect the four principals to attend as we start to chart our way forward as OKA now that we have left NASA,” said Mbui.

“We are not going to be only four parties in the new coalition; we are going to approach Muungano, Narc, and PNU and all the political parties with similar agenda. We are going to have an open window for those ready to join us,” he added.

A source said the three NASA principals will have a symbolic signing out of the coalition before respective party secretary generals draft formal exit letters to be dispatched to the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties.

“The meeting we are having this morning is a burial service for NASA. We want to give the coalition a decent send-off and since Serena is where NASA was born, we have picked the same venue for the burial,” said Wamalwa. Respective organs of the parties have resolved to leave the moribund coalition, but the outfits are yet to write to the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu.

Yesterday, Ms Nderitu said her office will act on the decision “once the parties have worked on their documentations” and filed them with her office. Mbui said they quit NASA because it was a closed shop that could not allow more members to join.

“There were limited members and issues of mistrust here and there, that is why we had the issue of political parties funds. As we go forward, we will look at the fine print so that we don’t have another argument on who owes the other,” said the MP.

In a statement, the Technical Secretariat of OKA said there will be a press briefing by the leaders of Ford Kenya, ANC and Wiper at the coalition secretariat offices in Karen, Nairobi.

Wiper vice chairperson and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr noted that since ODM was in a working arrangement with Jubilee, there was a likelihood that the opposition leaders would close ranks before next year’s polls.

He said only a combined force of the opposition would beat Deputy President William Ruto. “You never know, the coalition ODM is forming with Jubilee will work with OKA. The only way for them to beat William Ruto is to marshal as many numbers as possible,” said the senator.

He said a divided opposition would either hand Dr Ruto a win or occasion a rerun that would favour him. The DP is fronting United Democratic Alliance (UDA) following a bitter fallout with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also the Jubilee party leader.

Uhuru is said to be pulling strings behind the scenes to have the opposition leaders close ranks and rally behind a single presidential candidate.

Yesterday, ODM deputy party leader and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said they were willing to work with OKA principals.

ODM, however, warned against blackmail by leaders pushing for Raila’s endorsement.

Oparanya said identification of a flag bearer will be determined through a structured and scientific method and not through blackmail and mob lynching.

“As a party we are open to working without any condition. But if someone comes with a condition then we will not be party to such arrangement. The discussion on who should run can only be done in a structured manner,” said the governor.

“When we pulled out of NASA it was not that we did not want our partners, but we wanted to create room to allow other players to get on board,” said Oparanya.

But Wamalwa said Raila should forget about being the automatic flag bearer if he joins hands with OKA leaders. He noted that the ODM leader could be a good “striker” but should allow other players to score on behalf of the team since his previous attempts have been unsuccessful.

“We want them (ODM) to come as one among equals. In the game of football, you can have a good striker who is heavily marked but you can have another player who is not marked and can easily score,” said the MP.

“Raila has shown interest to join hands, but he should not come thinking that he is the automatic flag bearer. We want to identify a candidate who will ensure a win,” he added.

Raila on Sunday said he was willing to engage former NASA co-principals in the run-up to next year’s polls.

He disclosed that he has called for an ODM delegates meeting that would make a decision on which coalition to join.

“Starting next week, we will embark on countrywide meetings starting with Nyanza, then Western, Coast and other regions and after that we will be ready to engage any coalition including OKA,” the ODM leader said.