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Raila: With Nasa dead, parties are free to seek new alliances

Tuesday May 26 2020
NASAPX

From left: Nasa principals Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka during a rally. Mr Odinga has said the coalition has outlived its purpose after it failed to capture power in the last General Election. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JUSTUS OCHIENG'

With the National Super Alliance (Nasa) dead, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) will be seeking new partners ahead of the 2022 General Election.

The announcement comes as the debate on post-election talks with the ruling Jubilee Party dominates the political arena.

Tuesday, ODM leader Raila Odinga was non-committal on his party’s plan to strike a deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee, but explained that such discussions have not been put on the table.

But he stated that Nasa, the coalition on whose ticket he vied for the presidency in 2017, had outlived its usefulness after failing to capture power, and that each member party is now “independently crafting its own matrix”.

SUPPORT BASE
However, his deputy finds Jubilee an option one cannot turn away because of its support base.

Deputy party leader and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, in an exclusive interview with the Nation yesterday, said the essence of any political party is to capture power and as such, ODM was exploring the winning formula for the 2022 elections.

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“You cannot exist as a party just for the sake of it. The fact that we want to get power as ODM, we must look at options that will make us get power, because Nasa is long dead. We don’t want to repeat the past mistakes,” Mr Oparanya said at his office in Kakamega town.

He said the party is working on a strategy to win the regions that did not vote for his side in the last General Election as the first step in crafting a tightly knit political squad that will capture power in 2022.

“We have done soul-searching and identified some of the issues that derailed our quest and minimised our numbers. The first was the fact that as Nasa, we failed to produce single candidates for each electable position apart from the President, thus generating sibling rivalry, leading to us losing so many seats. Going into the future, we will seek to address this to ensure we have all our votes in one basket,” he said.

REFERENDUM
He went on: “As we move towards 2022, our main agenda is to see the success of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum through cooperation with President Uhuru Kenyatta so as to address the proposed issues and clear the path for a united country and level playing field”.

He said it was for these reasons that the party will be joining coalitions and that Jubilee is more attractive in view of its membership.

“We have mapped out the country and know which regions were our weakest links in the last poll. Mt Kenya region and the Rift Valley were our challenge, and as we move towards 2022, we are working on a matrix to endear ourselves to the regions,” he said.

Mr Odinga said that even though he has not discussed forming a coalition with President Kenyatta’s Jubilee, they were enjoying a cordial working relationship through the March 9, 2018 Handshake and BBI.

“We haven’t discussed a post-election deal with Jubilee but are together with them on BBI to bring changes we agreed with Uhuru that our parties already approved,” Mr Odinga said during a radio talk show on Milele FM yesterday. He denied claims that his working with President Kenyatta is to undermine his Deputy William Ruto.

The DP’s allies, led by his de facto spokesperson in Jubilee Mr Caleb Kositany, have accused President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga of seeking to stop Dr Ruto from ascending to the country’s top seat in 2022.

“Their working together is only meant to block the DP in 2022. In the DP, we have our flag-bearer but they don’t have one yet. Our advice to them is to leave the boardrooms and come out and produce their candidate,” he said.

NOBLE CAUSE
Mr Odinga said he was keen on delivering a new Constitution through his cooperation with the President, and accused the DP and his troops of frustrating the noble course.

“Politicians have been frustrating the BBI yet it is through this that we will have a united country and address the past injustices. We must fulfil the dreams of our founding fathers,” he said.
He exuded confidence that the country will hold a referendum before the 2022 elections.

“We will definitely hold a referendum before 2022. It may probably even be held the before end of this year.”

There have been suggestions that the referendum be held alongside the 2022 elections to save money, especially as the country is dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But BBI proponents insist that it must be held before the next elections so that it is implemented at the coming elections.

Mr Odinga also said the leadership of his party in the National Assembly and the Senate is free to conduct a purge to rid committees of renegades who do not toe the party line.

“That is the role of our leadership in Parliament and has nothing to do with party leadership,” he said.

PARTY ORDER

He pointed out that even President Kenyatta’s party is within its mandate to ensure order in the party.

So far, DP Ruto’s allies have borne the brunt of the Jubilee purge, after senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo-Marakwet), Susan Kihika (Nakuru) and Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka-Nithi) were ousted from the positions of majority leader, majority chief whip and deputy Speaker, respectively.

Mr Odinga said party discipline overrides other interests and work to restore order in political parties.

He noted that as the clock ticks towards a referendum, the two Houses are vital for laying down the legal framework for a plebiscite to ensure the BBI dream to unite Kenyans and address historical injustices is achieved “and lead Kenyans to the promised land – Canaan.”

Mr Oparanya, who is also seen as eyeing the presidency, underscored the importance of the BBI and said it will ensure unity and avert future chaos and illegalities in polls.

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