July 25th 2017

Top Stories / National

Now united by pursuit for power, NASA 'Pentagon' leaders first met over 1982 coup attempt

Four of the five were connected in one way or the other to the coup attempt. NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga was a suspected coup plotter who was detained for the suspected crime. In 2006, 24 years after the events, Mr Odinga publicly confessed his role in the failed coup.

By Timothy Nyarera OnguboWednesday, 03 May 2017 15:29 EAT

(L-R): NASA Pentagon members Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula, Isaac Ruto and Kalonzo Musyoka.

How amazingly history can reenact itself. The five members of the recently-constituted 'Pentagon' of the National Super Alliance (NASA) are united in pursuit of political power in the upcoming general elections. But 35 years ago, the leaders' paths crossed on the infamous 1982 coup attempt.

Four of the five were connected in one way or the other to the coup attempt. NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga was a suspected coup plotter who was detained for the suspected crime. In 2006, 24 years after the events, Mr Odinga publicly confessed his role in the failed coup.

NASA principals Musalia Mudavadi and Isaac Ruto were students at the University of Nairobi, where student leaders featured prominently on the side of the coup plotters. Mr Mudavadi was arrested in connection with the coup but his father Moses Mudavadi, then a cabinet minister, intervened on his behalf.

On his part, Mr Ruto, who was later to become a vocal Rift Valley politician and cabinet minister in the Moi government, is on record saying that he wished the coup had succeeded, saying that the Kanu government at the time was excessively corrupt and incompetent.

The last one, Moses Wetangula, then a Nairobi-based advocate, was hired by the government as a special prosecutor of the rebels, having changed from the their side where he served as a defence lawyer.

Mr Wetangula was the only advocate who had been brave enough to take the cases of the coup plotters, but it is believed he used the cases to establish relations with the Kanu power barons. In subsequent years, he became a leading Kanu voice in the legal fraternity, and after the first multiparty election was nominated by Kanu to Parliament.

Still coincidentally, the upcoming general elections will be held in August 2017, exactly 35 years since the failed coup.

The writer is a Chemistry lecturer at the Kabete National Polytechnic





Stay Connected