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Kibra mini-poll threatens to tear Nasa apart

Wednesday September 25 2019

nasa leaders

Nasa leaders Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula hold a press conference at Okoa Kenya, Nairobi, on February 1, 2018. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JUSTUS OCHIENG'
By JUSTUS OCHIENG'
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National Super Alliance (Nasa) is a house in trouble. And unlike the proverbial glass house, the members are not bothered throwing stones.

ODM feels betrayed by her coalition partners and has announced it is shopping for new partners as wrangles persist.

But Amani and Ford Kenya say ODM is insincere while Wiper is dismissing the threat as the abstractions of an excited secretary-general (Edwin Sifuna).

SOUND AND FURY

The party led by Raila Odinga entered into a coalition agreement with Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper, Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress, Ford Kenya of Moses Wetang’ula and Chama Cha Mashinani led by former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto among other affiliate parties on January 11, 2017, seven months to the general election.

The partners vowed to work together and even won the presidential petition in the Supreme Court as a united team until January 30, 2018 when Mr Odinga’s oath as the Peoples’ President at Uhuru Park was avoided by the coalition principals.

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From then on, it has been a clash here, a threat there. Whereas previously the wrangles have been dismissed as sound and fury common in a polygamous union, this time round the separation seems imminent.

The current campaigns ahead of the November 7 Kibra parliamentary by-election have pushed ODM — the major partner — to say it is time to move on.

On Tuesday, ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna told Nation that “Nasa died a long time ago.” Declaring that he has Mr Odinga’s blessings in pushing for the dissolution of the coalition, Mr Sifuna said: “We now want to formalise it and perform the final rites. Fresh coalitions will emerge from the Kibra election, whatever the result.”

NEW PARTNERS

He challenged their partners “to get together in their village huts, draft the papers, sign them and bring it for the third signature at Orange House if they are men enough.”

Mr Sifuna, who in the past has said that ODM will not walk on its knees to resemble their shorter partners, pointed out that the shape and form of their new relationships will be known in future. He added that they cannot work with people who undermine them.

“We want to formalise this divorce instead of them always undermining us and pretending to be our friends,” said Mr Sifuna in the wake of Nasa feud over fielding of candidates in Kibra.

Mr Odinga’s ODM has fielded Bernard Imran Okoth, brother of former MP Ken Okoth, who died in July, while Mr Mudavadi is vouching for Mr Odinga’s former aide Eliud Owalo. Ford Kenya has fielded Mr Khamisi Butichi.

But even as Mr Odinga’s party declared it was shopping for new partners, Mr Mudavadi through his private secretary Kibisu Kabatesi accused ODM of deception, insisting that the party had defected to Jubilee long ago.

“The ranting is deceptive and hypocritical. ODM long defected to Jubilee. They just need to formalise their defection,” Mr Kabatesi said in the wake of Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s handshake deal.

FRAUDENTLY

Mr Kabatesi pointed out that there is no clause in Nasa agreement that obligates partner parties not to field candidates anywhere against each other than the joint presidential candidacy of 2017. “More so it’s ODM that has been fond of fraudulently fielding against its partners,” Mr Kabatesi said.

Mr Wetang’ula yesterday referred Nation to the party’s Secretary-General Eseli Simiyu, who accused ODM of using the Kibra by-election as a scapegoat to “run away with our funds, courtesy of the coalition agreement.”

“They are talking from both corners of the mouth. There is nowhere the agreement says partners cannot field candidates in some areas…” he said.

However, Mr Sifuna differed with him, saying, Irshad Sumra was the area MP in the previous Parliament hence the constituency remained an ODM zone.

LOSING TRUST

Mr Simiyu insisted that ODM is merely using Kibra poll to deny its partners funds. He caution ODM “that by doing so, they are building a very shaky future for themselves. They are losing trust and nobody will want to form a coalition with them.”

Wiper Secretary-General Judith Sijeny dared Mr Sifuna to make a formal communication on the plot to dissolve Nasa. She argued that his sentiments were not a true reflection of coalition leader,  Raila Odinga.

“They are those things Sifuna vomits during campaigns,” she said.

Wiper Vice-Chairman Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said Nasa has structures led by co-chairs, and accused Mr Sifuna of always “out of turn all the time and on matters above his position as secretary-general”.