Opposition unity in sight after talks on Nasa joint ticket begin

Monday January 30 2017

From left: Opposition leaders Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga, Moses Wetang'ula and Nick Salat display a gesture of unity during the unveiling of an opposition coalition at Bomas of Kenya on January 11, 2017. They are yet to decide on the flag bearer. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The Opposition on Monday inched closer to unity under the National Super Alliance (Nasa) after the leaders of the four big parties met in Nairobi to plan a joint ticket.

The parties want to stitch together a coalition to face Jubilee’s President Uhuru Kenyatta at the ballot on August 8.

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Democratic Movement), Mr Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress) and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula agreed to form a joint management committee to run the new coalition, sources said.

The four are understood to have agreed to adopt Nasa as the uniting factor for all political entities represented by opposition leaders supporting a joint presidential candidate.

This would, in effect, spell the end of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord), under which the parties went to the polls in 2013.

Then, Cord lost to Jubilee, which brought together President Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA) and Deputy President William Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP).


The two outfits have since been dissolved and absorbed by Jubilee Party.

Details of the committee and its membership will be unveiled today at a press conference to be attended by the four leaders.

Yesterday’s meeting, described as the first formal engagement on opposition unity through Nasa, was held at the Cold Springs Hotel in Nairobi’s upmarket Karen Estate.

Kiminini Member of Parliament Chris Wamalwa confirmed that the four held talks on opposition unity but declined to divulge the details, describing the meeting as “top secret”.

Said Mr Wamalwa: “This is the beginning of a new huge movement.

“It will carry so many leaders other than the four. We are going to have Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Charity Ngilu on board, just to name two.”

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandai said Nasa has been rendered necessary by the prevailing circumstances in the country and the urgency to save Kenya from being “auctioned” by what he termed a corrupt regime.

“We have lost every war, including the war on corruption,” said Mr Wandai.

“The country is pregnant for a regime change and the people are yawning for a successful opposition unity that can kick out the Jubilee regime from power.”

He said the four principals know that they had no option but to make compromises and unite for the sake of 40 million Kenyans whose economy, he claimed, was being squeezed by corrupt elements in the government.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula said the meeting was meant to set up a team that will work on the method of coming up with a presidential candidate for the opposition alliance.

“We encouraged them to meet and agree on each party nominating two representatives, who will work on the method of picking the presidential candidate,” Mr Savula said by phone.

An MP who declined to be named said: “It is good to note that a deal has been struck, at least insofar as unity is concerned.

“Even those who have been hesitant to join Nasa have now agreed to join.”

There has been suspicion in the Opposition after it emerged that two presidential candidates in their midst were in talks with Jubilee with a view to abandoning the opposition ranks in exchange for plum positions after the General Election and other immediate benefits.

Senator Moi, whose name has featured in the opposition talks, however remained tight-lipped on the matter.

Yesterday, the party he chairs, Kanu, surprised many when it advertised for a presidential candidate.

Some see this as an indication that Mr Moi could be interested in the presidency.

The party’s election board chairman, Mr Eddy Kivuvani, said it will field candidates for all positions while Secretary-General Nick Salat said the advert was precautionary in that, should Kanu decide to join the presidential race, it will not be open to legal challenges.