April 29th 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Mudavadi, Kalonzo back Raila as NASA candidate, but internal fissures remain

At the Wiper meeting, tempers were reported to have flared when some party officials criticised Senator Johnstone Muthama and demanded that he be removed from his position as a NASA Coordinating Committee, accusing him of undermining the interests of Mr Musyoka.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comTuesday, 21 Feb 2017 19:04 EAT

NASA principals at a press conference in January where they announced the appointment of the Coordinating Committee.

The top decision-making organs of the Amani National Congress and Wiper Democratic Movement have today given their party leaders Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka the greenlight to support whoever will be selected as the National Super Alliance presidential candidate. The two parties' National Executive Councils resolved to support the recommendation of a technical committee which has identified all the pros and cons of the coalition's top leaders should they be selected as the NASA presidential candidate.

A reliable source within the NASA team intimated to this website that the technical committee had agreed to present ODM leader Raila Odinga as NASA presidential candidate with Mr Musyoka as his running mate, and that the decision will be tabled before the leaders at a meeting tomorrow. The team, according to our source, has also agreed on the positions of majority leaders of the two houses of parliament, speakers and attorney general of the republic under the NASA government.

However, the source said, other positions are to be determined by the leaders themselves upon agreement on the seven top coalition seats. The deal could be announced any time this week, in accordance with the leaders' commitment last month to make public their flag-bearer by the end of this month, the source said. 

At the ANC's two-day NEC that closed at the Elementaita Lodge, the party's top leaders allowed Mr Mudavadi and party secretary general Godfrey Osotsi to execute the NASA coalition agreement on behalf of the party. However, the organ resolved that ANC will field candidates for all other elective positions throughout the country, a position that will generate discord within the coalition's ranks owing to expected tough competition for political seats among coalition members in NAS strongholds.

At the Wiper meeting, tempers were reported to have flared when some party officials criticised senior member Johnstone Muthama, who is the Machakos senator, and demanded that he be removed from his position as a NASA Coordinating Committee, accusing him of undermining the interests of Mr Musyoka and advancing Mr Odinga's.

In the candid discussion about the party's current challenges, Wiper NEC members are also reported to have demanded that Mr Musyoka get assurance from his NASA partners that Wiper party aspirants will not be underrated in hotly-contested seats in Nairobi, Mombasa, North Eastern, Rift Valley and Nyanza regions. A source at the meeting said some NEC members urged Mr Musyoka to put up a public fight" for WDM aspirants around the country who were being underrated by their ODM counterparts.

"There was concern that some of our party members have not got the recognition they deserve in the coalition. Two weeks ago, Mr Musyoka was campaigning in Kisii and so many aspirants came forward who told him that they were being treated like second class politicians by their ODM counterparts," the Wiper source said.

Despite these teething problems, according to those who briefed us on the proceedings, Mr Musyoka and Mr Mudavadi have agreed in principle to back Mr Odinga. One source informed us that the committee considered at length an arrangement where Mr Mudavadi would run as the NASA presidential candidate with Mr Musyoka as his running but balked out of it, fearing many uncertainties.

"There was a feeling that many of Mr Musyoka's supporters would be repelled by the idea of him playing second fiddle to Mr Mudavadi, who they see as a sloppy politician. That line-up would shift the politics in Ukambani, Coast and even parts of Rift Valley where voters have come to accept the Raila/Musyoka alliance since 2013," one source said.

A civil society activist with close contact to some of the negotiators also said the team was guided by the need to keep the momentum that CORD had been building "since at least 2015. It would be destablising for the committee to propose a drastically different line-up than the one Kenyans had been expecting," he said.

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