A quiet yet fraught contest between technocrats and business lobbyists was behind the creation of two manifestos by the National Super Alliance, it has emerged.
Dr David Ndii, who headed the team that wrote the manifesto launched by presidential candidate Raila Odinga, says a second document also available on the Nasa website was not created by his team.
It however bears elements of the document presented by the Nasa principals on Tuesday last week.
Guests attending the manifesto’s launch at Ngong Racecourse were asked to register at the entrance and after the document had been presented, a website link was sent to them through a text message.
The link led to the Nasa website where there were two documents, one with a green cover titled “A Strong Nation. National Super Alliance Coalition Manifesto 2017”; and another with a blue cover titled; “Road to Kenyan Dream. Implementing Our Manifesto.”
The thrust of the green document was Nasa’s ideological and policy platforms, while the blue one gave details on the investment in projects required for the coalition to fulfil its objectives broken down into the first 90 days and onto long-term commitments.
In an interview on Citizen TV on Monday evening, Dr Ndii appeared to disown the second document, repeatedly saying, “That is not our manifesto.”
NO TWO MANIFESTOS
Asked about the two documents, Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga said at a press conference on Tuesday morning; “There are no two manifestos.”
He said there was a booklet laying out the policy and reforms for key sectors of the economy and another one on how the policy would be implemented.
“There are no contradictions. Those documents speak to each other,” he added.
Dr Ndii separately told the Nation on Tuesday that the difference was in their creation, which he characterised as “a contest between good and evil, between right and wrong, within Nasa.”
“That document is a bunch of people who were trying to do an implementation plan and they wanted to do specific things, all sorts of things, but it’s not the manifesto,” he said of the blue cover version, adding that since an implementation plan would have to be drawn after the election, the document should not even be entitled as such.
“People started working on something. They were trying to put it together, they haven’t done a good job of it but you know the way politics is.
We have a coalition. There is a whole bunch of situations where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing,” he added.
He was referring to the confusion within Nasa that had Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress release its own manifesto two weeks before the Nasa launch, despite being a member of the coalition.
Also at play was an apparent push by various interest groups to include their special interests in the manifesto.
“We have lots of groups doing various things, as you would in a coalition, and they really wanted to be part of the manifesto launch. We told them it would not be a good idea because it also needed to be audited and taken through an approval process but the time we were doing that, the document got out somehow,” said Dr Ndii.
The economist said that while the document “is causing a fair amount of confusion,” it is not the manifesto that was launched.
“It’s the list of things that every lobby in Kenya was pushing to Nasa, as you can understand. All sorts of lobbyists – NGOs, youth, people, you name it.
When you are in this sort of process, there is a lot of bandwagoning. We channelled the bandwagons to those people.
This happens in every political process I have been involved in.”
“You know we have become a stakeholder society. So people call themselves stakeholders. Even tenderpreneurs are in there.
In fact they are there in a big way,” he said of the blue document.
Dr Ndii, who is also a Nation columnist, led the taskforce that advised the Narc government on the Economic Recovery Strategy credited with reviving the economy in the first Narc coalition administration under President Mwai Kibaki.
He said the proposals by the lobbyists and other interested parties were grand and not well thought out.
Having all these grand projects would have contradicted Nasa’s constant standpoint that Jubilee has not been doing a proper economic appraisal of projects.