Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Monday, 06 Mar 2017 13:11 EAT
The National Super Alliance coalition (NASA) is facing a headache in fielding joint candidates in areas perceived as opposition’s strongholds, with the parties making up the coalition reading from different scripts. The coalition which has not yet agreed on its presidential flagbearer is facing an uphill task which could threaten its unity and also existence of a coherent outfit.
At the centre of differences in the coalition is ODM's insistence on joint nominations for all elective offices whereas Wiper Democratic Movement, Ford-Kenya and Amani National Congress want to be allowed to field their independent candidates, except in competitive counties like Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and northern Kenya where the coalition's partner would like to pull their resources together against Jubilee candidates.
With barely a month to go before parties submit the names of their nominated candidates for the general elections, NASA is yet to agree on a formula to identify its candidates. Mombasa senator and Wiper Party’s secretary general Hassan Omar last week said that the Wiper National Executive Committee has not yet ratified a joint nomination framework and refuted claims that the party had agreed on a joint nomination with ODM, Ford-Kenya and ANC.
The SG's sentiments were echoed a few days later by party leader Kalonzo Musyoka when he was receiving former ambassador to Tanzania Chirau Ali Makwere who defected from ODM whereby he ruled out the idea of joint nominations. “No agreement on joint nominations has been agreed on, we are yet to reach a consensus on where and how joint nominations will be done and which areas,” said Mr Musyoka.
ANC secretary general Godfrey Osotsi, speaking at the weekend in Mumias East pointed out that his party National Executive Council has agreed on a resolution that the party does not support joint nominations apart from cosmopolitan areas where NASA does not command a huge following.
“We will field candidates in all elective posts in Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Coast and other areas,” said Osotsi. The party shall have candidates facing off with those of ODM, Wiper and Ford-Kenya in opposition strongholds "so that people will have an opportunity to elect the best", he said.
These positions differed from that espoused by NASA National Coordinating Committee (NCC) chairman and Siaya senator James Orengo who said the coalition would carry out joint nominations in Mombasa and Nairobi with his Mombasa counterpart. Mr Omar had said the Wiper Party will only agree on a joint nomination for certain seats in Nairobi and Mombasa.
ODM deputy leader Wycliffe Oparanya said through joint nominations the NASA coalition will be able to beat Jubilee but if each party sponsors their candidates it might be an advantage to Jubilee. “By joint nominations, we will be having one opposition candidate facing a jubilee competitor, if each party sponsors its own candidate, it can be an advantage to Jubilee,” says Mr Oparanya.
According to sources who spoke to this website, WDM, Ford-Kenya and ANC are banking on internal divisions in ODM to weaken the party's candidates and create room for their members. According to a source at the WDM, the Kalonzo Musyoka-led party had seen several prospective candidates from Nyanza buy its nomination papers in anticipation of fallouts within ODM.
"The coalition agreement signed between the leaders covered the presidential election and any additional protocols have to be well negotited, otherwise the run the risk of helping ODM overcome its anticipated nomination fiascos by locking out all potential leaders from the coalition," said the source.
The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press