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What NASA official dissolution means for lawmakers

By Josphat Thiong’o | August 27th 2021
Ex-NASA principals Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Raila Odinga (ODM) and Musalia Mudavadi (ANC). [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The National Super Alliance (NASA) comprising ODM, Amani National Congress (ANC), Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM), Ford-Kenya Party and Wiper Democratic Movement, has officially been dissolved.

The death of the coalition now puts into jeopardy positions held by various lawmakers in the bicameral House.

The dissolution was announced on Thursday by the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), after three affiliate parties Wiper, ANC and Ford Kenya – which have gone to One Kenya Alliance (OKA), wrote to the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) Ann Nderitu.

“Following a review of the submissions, resolutions of three political parties were executed as per the set requirements. Article 15(1) of the Coalition Agreement stipulates that the coalition shall stand dissolved where any three of the coalition parties decide to leave," said Ms Nderitu in a letter dated August 26, 2021.

She added, "In this respect, the NASA coalition hereby stands dissolved. This office shall, in line with Regulation 22 (2) of the Political Parties (Registration) Regulations, 2019, publish a notice of the dissolution in two newspapers."

This declaration ends the monolithic opposition alliance used by the four principals; Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Moses Wetang'ula (FORD Kenya) as a campaign vehicle in 2017.

The leaders who got various House leadership positions through the Handshake will not have to rethink, however, it will be a tall order to recall those at the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC). The MPs will have to take a vote.

As a result of the latest development, commissioners Senator George Khaniri (Vihiga), Borabu MP Ben Momanyi join the list of lawmakers staying at the PSC unless through a vote, as efforts by ODM to remove Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa have not succeeded.

Through the joint ticket of Raila and Kalonzo, the alliance challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta's win at the Supreme Court and was nullified on the basis of irregularities and illegalities in the electoral process and ordered a repeat.

But following simmering tensions and counter-accusations within the coalition, Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Senator Wetang'ula cited mistrust for their decision to sever links with Raila.

This was just a week after ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna also announced their intent to exit NASA. The straw that broke the camel’s back however the thorny formula of sharing the political parties’ fund was.

At the heart of the storm was an initial claim by Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetang'ula that the affiliate parties get to split the Sh7.5 billion that political parties were to get for the financial years 2017-2020.

According to documents seen by Saturday Standard, ODM was to get the lion’s share of the Sh308 million because of its parliamentary strength followed by Wiper, ANC, Ford Kenya and Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani. The Orange party was set to pocket Sh187.9 million.

Kalonzo’s Wiper was to get Sh70.4 million for the three financial years with ANC getting Sh43.8 million. Ford Kenya was poised to get Sh36 million and Ruto’s CCM to take home Sh3 million.

This met opposition from the Raila-led party leading to a stalemate but after weeks of deliberations, ODM resolved to only share Sh308 million, which it received courtesy of the parliamentary votes.

ODM has since agreed to share some Sh153 million with four coalition partners.

"Political party coalitions are built on trust. Once that trust is eroded, the partnership cannot survive. Mindful of this trust deficit, our three parties, transparently informed the Kenyan people of their individual decision to leave the NASA Coalition," said ANC, Wiper and Ford Kenya leaders in a press briefing where they announced their resolve to quit Nasa.

But ODM continues to fault their former coalition partners for skipping Raila's mock swearing-in as people's president on January 30th, 2018.

Although the leaders have tried to exonerate themselves from the exercise, ODM leaders still read betrayal.

It was followed by the National Resist Movement (NRM) dubbed 'machozi Monday', where they resisted some products claiming they aided vote theft.

Wetang'ula was the first casualty, when he was ousted as the Senate Minority leader from NASA, the same axe fell on Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa ex-National Assembly Deputy Minority whip. Wetang'ula warned, "the divorce would be messy, noisy and with casualties."

All eyes are now on the coalition partners who have been holding coastal meetings with President Kenyatta for a pre-2022 election pact, seen as meant to counter Deputy President William Ruto’s bid.

There are calls to form a super alliance bringing all major parties together including Jubilee and ODM joining OKA, which comprises of Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Kanu leader Gideon Moi and Wetang'ula.

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