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Signs of crumbling Nasa ‘house of cards’ are clear

Tuesday May 30 2017
By BWIRE MUGOLLA

Trouble has a way of manifesting itself much earlier before it explodes. A house that is bound to crumble is likely to be visible to a keen eye at the foundation level.

Barely a month after the marriage of five unlikely partners under the banner of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) was consecrated, after months of false starts, cracks have started developing among the principals and other lieutenants.

This is not a very good sign for a partnership that has promised to deliver us from legendary suffering in Egypt to the land of milk and honey.

It all started with the confusion that was the primaries organised by the member of the alliance. On the very first day of the exercise, the vice chairman of Nasa’s de facto majority shareholder, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, fell out with the group of which he is second in command and bolted out without batting an eyelid.

Former minister and Funyula MP Paul Otuoma declared he was leaving ODM, hastily wrote to the Registrar of Political Parties notifying her of his intention and was declared a non-member in record time.

With that, ODM , which is the nominating party for the Nasa presidential flagbearer, Raila Odinga, was without a chairman.

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Otuoma’s move followed a sounding defeat in the race for the party’s gubernatorial ticket at the hands of incumbent Sospeter Ojaamong. The former sports minister claimed Ojaamong had rigged the election and his party was unlikely to give him a fair hearing.

Days later, the party’s chairman fell into almost similar trouble. Uncertainties dominated the nomination race that pitted John Mbadi, the ODM chairman and incumbent Suba MP, against Caroli Omondi, that saw the case being taken to The Polititical Parties Disputes Tribunal.

FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN

The tribunal ended up nullifying the results of the primaries. Miraculously, the chairman survived and is still holding onto the ticket. Shortly afterwards, another storm came and started rocking the second senior-most partner in the alliance, the Wiper Party.

Again, following the nominations debacle, Wiper’s national chairman and co-founder David Musila was swept aside. The Kitui senator had thrown his hat in the race for governorship but was trounced by the incumbent, Julius Malombe.

He blamed the defeat on his party leader and Nasa presidential running mate Kalonzo Musyoka and decided to leave the party and run as an independent. When a founder and chairman of a party decides to leave and compete against it, there is a problem.

But still more drama was in store for former Vice President Musyoka. Another high ranking party official soon went ballistic and opted not to defend, his seat citing the party leader’s “dictatorial tendencies”, especially in the manner the primaries were conducted.

Johnstone Muthama, the current Machakos senator and a prominent party financier, fell out with his party because Wavinya Ndeti had been nominated to run for the county’s gubernatorial seat instead of current deputy governor Bernard Kiala, whom the Senator preferred.

Mr Muthama declared he could be senator of a county in which Alfred Mutua or Ndeti was governor, and with that Kalonzo lost one of his key political and financial backers.

JOINT TICKET

But the fallout of Mr Muthama’s departure had a more profound impact on the future of the party and Nasa’s chances of surviving till August 8 than any other.

With his declaration that he will have very little to do with Wiper, but instead focus his energies on campaigning for the election of Mr Odinga as president, Mr Muthama evoked what is coming out as juvenile sibling rivalry between himself and Mr Musyoka.

To point to the fact that all is not well in the arrangement that is Nasa, Kalonzo, until recently, maintained his name on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) database as a presidential candidate, even after endorsing Raila as the flagbearer of their joint ticket.

A more poignant pointer to the cracks in the Nasa family emerged last Sunday when Mr Musyoka, as quoted by the press on Tuesday, issued an ultimatum to Raila to choose whether the ODM leader will work with him or the Machakos senator.

In a team that has a goal as important as taking over the leadership of a country, it is always the norm that everyone endeavours to work with everyone else, not be seen to be pulling in different directions, leave alone issuing ultimatums to the team leader.

Mr Mugolla is a high school teacher in Busia County. [email protected]

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