Uhuru al­lies anx­ious over Su­per Al­liance

Three groups lodge ap­pli­ca­tions at Reg­is­trar of Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties to re­serve the mag­i­cal name NASA, Na­tional Su­per Al­liance Party

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - FELIX OLICK AND GIDEON KETER @TheS­tarKenya

Thir­teen years af­ter the Narc al­liance top­pled the Kanu regime, the op­po­si­tion’s pro­posed Na­tional Su­per Al­liance, NASA, has sent shock waves through Ju­bilee.

A NASA on­slaught by all key op­po­si­tion lead­ers would com­pli­cate Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s re­elec­tion strat­egy. The vaunted mega Ju­bilee Party al­ready is 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 JP.

The NASA name is so com­pelling that three ap­pli­ca­tions to re­serve the name Na­tional Su­per Al­liance have been sub­mit­ted to the Reg­is­trar of Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties. This in­di­cates the in­ter­est and anx­i­ety the move­ment has gen­er­ated.

In 2013, Uhuru and Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto crossed the 50 per­cent-plus-one thresh­old by only 4,100 votes.

Musalia Mudavadi’s en­try into the op­po­si­tion fold has left the duo and their think tanks re­think­ing their mas­ter plan, though they don’t say so.

There are re­ports two Ju­bilee sen­a­tors and a Wiper rebel MP are be­hind one bid to claim the name and and spoil the op­po­si­tion’s com­pelling brand ap­peal, if not its strat­egy.

Reg­is­trar of Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties Lucy Ndungu yes­ter­day told the Star she would give pref­er­ence to the first ap­pli­ca­tion re­ceived.

“I have seen the ap­pli­ca­tions but I don’t know whether they are from the op­po­si­tion. Two ap­pli­ca­tions are by lawyers and one by a ci­ti­zen,” she said, de­clin­ing to elab­o­rate.

Sec­re­tary gen­eral of Mudavadi’s ANC Ge­of­frey Osotsi de­clined to say whether it is try­ing to re­serve the name. He em­pha­sised NASA is Mudavadi’s brain­child.

“Every­one, even a small boy, knows the brains be­hind the su­per al­liance is the Hon­ourable Musalia Mudavadi. So any other per­son at­tempt­ing to re­serve the name must know it is il­le­gal,” he said in an in­ter­view yes­ter­day.

Last week, Mudavadi sig­naled his in­ten­tion to team up with Cord co-prin­ci­pals Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya).

They would be joined by Kanu chair­man Gideon Moi, Chama Cha Mashinani leader Isaac Rutto and Narc Kenya boss Martha Karua.

Cord CEO Nor­man Ma­gaya yes­ter­day told the Star the deal could be sealed by De­cem­ber.

“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 elec­tion is on Au­gust 8.

In 2013, Uhuru won only 6,173,433

‘FOR EX­AM­PLE, WETANG’ULA IS NOT LIKELY TO AC­CEPT MUDAVADI AS FLAGBEARER. VOT­ERS IN AR­EAS LIKE NYANZA MAY NOT TURN OUT, IF RAILA IS NOT ON THE BAL­LOT. THE VOTES ARE NOT TRANSFERABLE’

votes, against Raila’s 5,340,546. Raila claims the elec­tion was stolen.

Mudavadi came third with 483,981 votes.

The ex­pected en­try of Gideon Moi and Isaac Ruto into the al­liance would eat into Ju­bilee’s Rift Val­ley vote bloc.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Prof Ed­ward Kisiang’ani of Keny­atta Uni­ver­sity said the op­po­si­tion will pose a se­ri­ous threat to Ju­bilee if it chooses one flagbearer.

“Yes, they can send Ju­bilee home if they rally be­hind one can­di­date and mo­bilise their bases to reg­is­ter as vot­ers,” he told the Star yes­ter­day.

Pub­licly, Ju­bilee top brass has been rub­bish­ing the op­po­si­tion as con­fused, di­vided and un­able to win.

How­ever, Ju­bilee an­a­lysts are said to be keenly watch­ing to see if the op­po­si­tion unites.

“Ju­bilee can­not sur­vive such an al­liance,” said ODM sec­re­tary of po­lit­i­cal Af­fairs Opiyo Wan­dayi. Ju­bilee is widely known as a party of only two com­mu­ni­ties [Kalen­jin and Kikuyu]. Ju­bilee can only win by rig­ging. At the mo­ment, the num­bers clearly show Cord will win.”

How­ever, a su­per al­liance will com­pound the ex­ist­ing headache: Who should fly the flag? Raila, Wetang’ula and Kalonzo are hav­ing dif­fi­culty de­cid­ing how to choose — all want to run.

Yes­ter­day Uhuru and Ruto’s lieu­tenants called the an­tic­i­pated al­liance in­con­se­quen­tial and said it would break Cord.

Nom­i­nated Senator Martha Wan­gari and Kieni MP Kanini Kega said an al­liance will throw the op­po­si­tion into fur­ther dis­ar­ray and the stan­dard bearer dilemma will per­sist.

“The process of get­ting a flagbearer will be a ma­jor chal­lenge. If they have is­sues now when there are three [Cord co-prin­ci­pals], how about when there are four?” Wan­gari asked. Lead­ers of small par­ties brought on board will want a stake. In any case, we as Ju­bilee are ready for any even­tu­al­ity.”

Kega yes­ter­day said for­ma­tion of a su­per al­liance is “purely to force a run-off”.

It 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, he told the Star.

“Ju­bilee is a united front ready to face any al­liance. In any case, we have been chal­leng­ing them to form one party. I as­sure our sup­port­ers it will be a good duel. We are not scared. Ju­bilee has in­creased its sup­port base,” Kega said.

He dis­missed the cal­cu­lus of a su­per al­liance. “If you look at the to­tal votes we got in the last elec­tion and what each Cord prin­ci­pal brought to their ta­ble, the arith­metic doesn’t change.” He pre­dicted fall­out among prin­ci­pals with pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions. “For ex­am­ple, Wetang’ula is not likely to ac­cept Mudavadi as flagbearer. Vot­ers in ar­eas like Nyanza may not turn out, if Raila is not on the bal­lot. The votes are not transferable,” Kega said.

Mudavadi is con­sid­ered more in­flu­en­tial in West­ern and there’s a good chance he will bring votes to NASA.

In 2013, Mudavadi gar­nered 353,864 votes in West­ern, Keny­atta and Raila got 66,185 and 755,525 votes, re­spec­tively.

The op­po­si­tion re­ceived huge back­ing in the Coast, Nyanza, lower Eastern, West­ern and Nairobi.

/ EM­MANUEL WANSON

Amani Na­tional Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi with ODM leader Raila Odinga at St Stephen’s Church, Jo­goo Road, on April 24

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