The sooner Nasa declares flagbearer, the better

Saturday March 11 2017

From left: Opposition leaders Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga and Moses Wetang'ula display their copies of the coalition agreement for the National Super Alliance at the Okoa Kenya movement's office in Nairobi on February 22, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

From left: Opposition leaders Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga and Moses Wetang'ula display their copies of the coalition agreement for the National Super Alliance at the Okoa Kenya movement's office in Nairobi on February 22, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KWENDO OPANGA
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The National Super Alliance (Nasa) should choose its presidential flagbearer expeditiously. Principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi should, individually and collectively, bite the bullet sooner rather than later. They must put the matter behind them and get down to preparing for the August General Election.

First, to campaign, as they are doing, without a presidential ticket for Kenya’s latest political contraption, is to put the cart before the horse and court uncertainty and confusion.

Second, the longer Nasa delays naming its presidential candidate, the more it is perceived as rudderless and unfit to govern. It is why Deputy President William Ruto repeatedly mocks it as driverless.

Third, Nasa is still grappling with the explosive matter of nominations. It cannot afford to pile up weighty issues thus compounding the challenges of managing fast-unravelling dynamics plus time and people issues. This also arms foes with propaganda to paint Nasa principals as unprincipled and nakedly hungry for power.

The first agenda on talks about the presidential ticket should not be about how to choose the holder. It should be what happens after the choice is made. What follows the outcome, not the method, is key to Nasa’s march forward. Before embarking on picking Nasa’s flagbearer, Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka, Mr Wetang’ula and Mr Mudavadi should agree that all of them will be for the winner and he for them.

THE POINT

That’s called all for one and one for all. The point is not who can win it, but who they can make a winner. The principals will make the chosen one a winner by supporting him physically and fiscally, morally and politically. All will win when they stand by their man, and he by them, from the announcement, throughout the campaign, throughout the country and, anytime and all the time.

Such solidarity will send the message that the leadership is united behind the chosen one, all are agreed on a common cause and supporters should fall in line. That brings to mind the second agenda. If the four are to make one of them a winner, then, they must agree that they are in it to serve Kenyans and to make Kenya a better place for posterity.

That is, they are out to win it for Kenyans and not for themselves. This is a make or break matter. Each of the four is here being asked to make available his time, energy, space and money to not only talk and listen to Kenyans, but to also be ready to pave way for, and resource, any one of them to be president. That is what sacrifice means.

And, still, each must meet the others half way if they are to progress election agenda. And they must compromise for, and over, one of them to construct the platform from which they will serve Kenyans. The third issue on which the principals must agree is that none of them can win the presidency on his own but, together, they stand a chance.

DENY WIN

The principals, running separately, can only stop the Jubilee ticket if their vote tally denies President Kenyatta a first-round win and a re-run ensues. But, suffice to say, each principal is in Nasa because out of it he loses out. The last point the principals should agree on is that they carry the hopes of Kenyans who want to see Jubilee defeated in August.

To most here, Nasa is the force of good waiting to rid Kenya of all that is wrong. If the four splinter their vote and this constituency loses out, they will never live down the tag of betrayer of a national dream. None of them should suffer such a fate. But, if they will announce their flagbearer and resolve and stick together, they will make history as selfless politicos.

They have made a start, haven’t they? Three are sharing a tent with a man they viciously attacked last year as if he, and not Jubilee, was their enemy. Can this spirit of live and let live move the needle on the top ticket? Only if principals Odinga, Musyoka, Wetang’ula and Mudavadi swiftly take the issue by the scruff of the neck.

Why? Because an election is won by the better prepared party. Preparation is painstaking, complex business, which demands organisation and focus on multiple fronts. That Nasa’s aircraft is still hangar-bound and the captain missing five months to an election, bodes ill for the acceptance flight.

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