October 23rd 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

With opposition alliance, Rift Valley's end as solid Jubilee zone

According to the Sunday Nation, three politicians were dispatched to beseech Mr Mudavadi not to accompany Mr Odinga during the Laikipia rally. Mr Mudavadi had been invited by Raila for Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel's homecoming party.

By Phillip MuleeWednesday, 14 Dec 2016 18:53 EAT

Mr Mudavadi, Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka confer at the Wiper Party National Delegates Congress.

The proposed opposition alliance, National Super Alliance (NASA), came to life yesterday during the endorsement of Kalonzo Musyoka as Wiper Presidential candidate when opposition leader Raila Odinga and Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi graced the event. All the speakers including Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetangula’s representative and Kakamega Senator Bony Khalwale spoke of opposition unity. This was telling that NASA was to be born and rekindled the 2002 Narc alliance which toppled the 40 year reign of KANU in power. President Kenyatta was Kanu's candidate in that election.

The prospect of the main opposition leaders coming together has sent shock waves through President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto's Jubilee Party circles. Senior Jubilee operatives last week miserably failed after hatching a secret plan to stop Mr Odinga and Mr Mudavadi from attending a joint political rally.

According to reports in the Sunday Nation, three politicians who have close ties to State House were dispatched to beseech Mr Mudavadi not to accompany Mr Odinga during the rally held last Tuesday in Laikipia. Mr Mudavadi had been invited to join the CORD leader at the homecoming rally of Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel (ODM) who had spent some time in jail over charges of incitement.

However, the public display of comradeship between the two leaders is reported to have worried Jubilee strategists and hence their efforts to ensure the ANC leader did not succeed. The two addressed the Laikipia joint rally and another one in Tharaka Nithi the same week, climaxing yesterday when they joined Mr Musyoka's endorsement. This lent credence to recent reports that NASA was truly an agreed deal.

Mr Musyoka's endorsement finalized the process of the four top opposition leaders: Mr Odinga by ODM, Mr Mudavadi by his ANC delegates and Mr Wetangula by Ford Kenya delegates. The Wiper Party is under intense pressure to not only register more voters in the ukambani region but to also put its house in order by stemming the growing rebellion in the party. Kalonzo told President Kenyatta to his face to receive the Wiper defectors and assured him that they would be defeated in the morning during the August 8, 2017 polls.

The unity of the four opposition leaders would complicate President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election strategy. Jubilee Party is already plagued by squabbling over powerful interim posts and its headquarters is yet to be operational. There's strength in numbers and opposition leaders say unity is the best way to galvanise supporters and defeat Jubilee.

Should the talk that they would be joined by Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, and Chama Cha Mashinani leader Isaac Rutto materialize then the opposition will be a night mere for Jubilee. According to the figures announced by the Electoral Commission in 2013, Uhuru crossed the 50 percent-plus-one threshold by only 4,100 votes, garnering 6,173,433 votes against Raila's 5,340,546. Raila claims the election was stolen. Mudavadi came third with 483,981 votes.

Norman Magaya, the chief executive at the CORD secretariat, recently hinted that NASA would unveiled probably by this month or early next year. “The relationship among all principals is very cordial, all are working aggressively to galvanise the alliance. They consult very regularly and plans are underway to put pen to paper and agree on a campaign plan of action from December to August 2017,” he said.

The expected entry of Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto into the alliance would eat into Jubilee’s Rift Valley vote, leaving Central Kenya as the president's only reliable vote bloc. However political pundits allied to Jubilee say NASA will not have any impact on Jubilee strongholds and the ruling coalition already has eaten into parts of opposition strongholds, such as Coast, Western, South Nyanza and parts of Ukambani. They are also monitoring how power sharing would be agreed upon among the leaders hoping disagreements might jeopardize their unity.

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