Nasa chiefs' power quest must incorporate crafting policies

Monday February 13 2017

Nasa

Nasa leaders address a rally in Bomet county on February 4, 2017. Nasa can give Jubilee a run for its money. PHOTO | DENNIS KAVISU 

By MACHARIA GAITHO
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The National Super Alliance (Nasa) has in the past week said it is firming up its plans for a joint opposition challenge against the governing Jubilee behemoth of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, Mr William Ruto.

We still wait to see how the hydra-headed outfit will accommodate all the inflated egos to settle on a presidential candidate and running mate, and still suitably accommodate those who miss out.

Losing 2013 elections pair Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, the third Cord principal Moses Wetang’ula, and returning prodigal son Musalia Mudavadi make up the quartet from which must emerge a presidential candidate and a running mate.

The so-called technical team working out the modalities for selection, not election, of the presidential election ticket must be wise enough to realise that a contested nomination would spell ruin for the nascent alliance.

So it will have to be a negotiated “settlement” that picks the candidate with the best prospects of winning, and leaves the others satisfied enough to stay within the fold.

That will not be easy in a situation where there are so many individual egos to stroke, and ethnic constituencies to placate.

Those presently scratching their heads at Nasa must be looking on with some jealously at Jubilee, which did not even bother with the pretence of a democratic nomination.

A special purpose political vehicle at the service of individuals has no room for such niceties.

The owners simply decided that one of them will be the candidate in 2017 and the other in 2022. Period.

JUBILEE CHALLENGER
Nasa does not have the luxury of such a simple decision-making.

In the first place, it has no structures and no recognised leadership hierarchy.

Second, it has not two, but four contenders all claiming the ticket.

If it were to adopt the Jubilee model, some fellows would have to wait till 2047 for their turn.

Well, we can only wait and see how the backroom bargaining pans out.

We can assume that all the principals are well-versed with a bit of Kenyan electoral history.

They know that since the advent of multi-partyism, a divided opposition has always handed victory to the incumbency.

This trend was only broken in 2002, when the main opposition figures coalesced around Mr Mwai Kibaki to send Kanu packing for the first time since independence in 1963.

If the Nasa leaders fail to stick together behind one ticket, they will have nobody but themselves to blame when Jubilee romps home with an increased majority.

Not even the usual finger-pointing over rigging will matter.

Of course, they could decide on another strategy altogether and look towards a post-election rather than a pre-election coalition.

This is where the key Nasa figures all enter the presidential race on the assumption that if each solidly secures his regional or ethnic bas, that will be enough to deny Jubilee a first round victory.

MANIFESTO

Then they can rally round the second-placed candidate in a run-off.

While Nasa works out its power capture or power sharing formula, however, it is forgetting they key things that matter to you and I.

Other than unscripted diatribe at public rallies and the ritual condemnation of Jubilee, we have seen nothing in the way of the ideology, policies and plans that will define Nasa.

If it is just about the quest for power and replacing one thief for another, why should we vote Nasa or vote out Jubilee? That’s where we need answers.

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We do expect politicians on the campaign trail to go into overdrive with extravagant promises.

It is one thing for politicians to go out making promises they do not intend to keep, but it is criminal for public policy to be crafted as part of the ruling party campaign manifesto.

That is the only definition I can give of the Treasury’s 2017-2018 Budget that comes with a humongous Sh900 billion deficit.

Who will pay for it? Will we be driven deeper into debt or it is just the usual campaign hot air?

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I have read and reread the 2010 Constitution of Kenya cover to cover, and can find no reference to Valentine’s Day.

Therefore, no plot to disturb my peace today will be entertained.

Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MachariaGaitho