When the National Super Alliance was unveiled on January 11, 2017, the four coalition principals vowed to ensure it captures power from the Jubilee administration.
The ceremony marked with pomp and colour at the Bomas of Kenya ballroom brought forth a new political outfit which gave hope to millions of its supporters across the country and in the diaspora.
Many believed that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between opposition bigwigs Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat — before Kanu made a pact with Jubilee — would bind the coalition.
Today, despite the top leaders, Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka, insisting that the coalition is intact, their lieutenants and other senior coalition members think otherwise.
Ever since Mr Odinga took an oath as the “People’s President” on January 30, 2018, a ceremony given a wide berth by other Nasa principals, and especially since his March 9 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta and the sacking of Mr Wetang’ula as Senate Minority Leader, the coalition’s affairs have not been rosy.
Now the coalition is under threat. Already Amani National Congress (ANC), the founder member of the coalition, has said “Nasa is not there anymore.”
The statement by ANC Secretary General Barrack Muluka last Friday has not gone down well with other coalition parties.
On Sunday, Mr Muluka’s sentiments were followed by calls to have the coalition dissolved. The sentiments, amplified by Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi (Mr Mudavadi’s MP), cast a pall on the coalition.
But Mr Kibisu Kabatesi, Mr Mudavadi’s press secretary, appeared to water down calls to dissolve the alliance and said Nasa was born by ANC. “As things stand, Raila left Nasa. He is not using Nasa. Nasa was founded by Mudavadi. We disowned the handshake and therefore we should not cry about whatever Raila is doing now,” said Mr Kabatesi.
He went on: “The party leader (Mudavadi) does not share such sentiments. He is of the opinion that the alliance should stand.”
But former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale, Mr Wetang’ula’s deputy, insisted that Nasa had become “Mr Odinga’s shopping basket.” He said: “It is true Raila is using Nasa for his benefit and those close to him. It is through Nasa that he (Odinga) got his new ambassadorial post”.
Speaking to the Nation on phone, Mr Khalwale disagreed with calls to dissolve the alliance, saying “we can still chart our own way.”
On his part, Ford Kenya secretary general and Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu said Nasa “died on the steps of Harambee House” during the handshake deal, and noted that calls to dissolve the alliance “are just a formality.”
“I was the co-chair of the Nasa steering committee. I can confirm to you that we have not held any meeting since the last election. Anyone holding onto Nasa (in reference to Mr Odinga) is doing it for his own benefit. That thing (Nasa) does not exist,” said Mr Eseli.
But the Odinga-led ODM did not take the sentiments by the coalition partners lying down. Secretary General Edwin Sifuna accused their partners of talking too much.”
“These people talk too much. They have repeatedly told us they will no longer walk with us. If they want the coalition dissolved, they know what to do,” Mr Sifuna said yesterday.
He went on: “Let them stop issuing threats during funerals. Let them file divorce papers at the registrar’s office.”
Wiper chairman Kivutha Kibwana, who is also the Makueni governor, recently urged party leader Musyoka to forget the deal he entered into with Mr Odinga, saying the opposition would be a formidable force even without Mr Odinga.
Yesterday, Wiper vice chairman Mutula Kilonzo Jnr was, however, still optimistic that the coalition holds.
“Parties are frustrated by defeat at elections. It’s not unusual. We expected to win. But we should have prepared to lose too.”
“Our loss was partly caused to sibling rivalry. But reorganisation will happen as succession politics takes centre stage,” the Makueni Senator told the Nation.
On calls for Nasa’s dissolution, Mr Kilonzo said: “The coalition has clear provisions on dissolution — three parties must pass a resolution to leave. I am not aware of any discussions to leave Nasa by Wiper.”
He insisted: “Nasa is not dead, but dysfunctional. We are in leadership courtesy of Nasa. I have not seen efforts to get us back on the trip to Canaan. The jury is still out on Nasa’s fate” said Mr Kilonzo.
But Mr Agoi said dissolution of the coalition would allow affiliate parties to seek new alliances ahead of the 2022 polls. The legislator, who is serving his second term, said Mr Odinga is using the outfit for his own gain, noting that several lieutenants were named to various parastatal positions last week.
Yesterday, Mr Agoi challenged Mr Odinga to support a candidate from the Luhya community to reciprocate the support he has received in the past elections.