The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

ACK in 1992, fol­low­ing the breakup of the op­po­si­tion group of those days, the Fo­rum for the Restora­tion of Democ­racy, there was an epic battle over which of the two groups would get to go into the first mul­ti­party elec­tion with the name Ford.

For, by that time, this name Ford had ac­quired great power in the minds of most Kenyans who would vote in the first plu­ral­ist poll for 25 years. It was as­so­ci­ated with the brave group of men and women who had coura­geously dared to con­front the all-pow­er­ful rul­ing party Kanu, and to de­mand a re­turn to mul­ti­party democ­racy.

But, out of a con­vic­tion that they were sure to beat long-serv­ing Pres­i­dent Daniel arap Moi, the Ford lead­ers started quar­relling among them­selves and creat­ing two Fords: Ford Kenya (led by Jaramogi Odinga) and Ford Asili (led by Ken­neth Mat­iba).

Both, of course, ul­ti­mately lost to Moi. But the Ford name re­tained enough of its magic to lead the former Chief Sec­re­tary (Head of the Civil Ser­vice) Simeon Ny­achae, in his pres­i­den­tial bid of 2002, to opt to run as leader of the Ford Peo­ple party.

The next po­lit­i­cal acro­nym to have such force in the minds of the pub­lic was Narc – the Na­tional Rain­bow Coali­tion of 2002. This was a coali­tion founded on the painful les­son of 1991 and 1997, that when the Op­po­si­tion par­ties al­lowed them­selves to be di­vided, Kanu was sure to win.

Narc also broke up, af­ter they had won the elec­tion.

As such, Pres­i­dent Mwai Kibaki found that, by 2007, he could not run for re­elec­tion on the Narc ticket. The party had been taken over by one of his former al­lies – Char­ity Ngilu.

Against a back­ground of such ex­am­ples of the po­tent acronyms of var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties and po­lit­i­cal coali­tions ac­quir­ing such force and strength as to be­come a sure ticket to elec­toral vic­tory, it is hardly sur­pris­ing that the newly minted NASA – the Na­tional Su­per Al­liance – has at­tracted so much at­ten­tion.

And, in a strange twist of his­tory, we find that, just like in 2002, the po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment’s can­di­date is Uhuru Keny­atta. And out in the Op­po­si­tion we have the former Prime Min­is­ter Raila Odinga, former Cab­i­net min­is­ters, two former vice pres­i­dents, and all kinds of po­lit­i­cal heavy­weights, who, if they would only unite, can cer­tainly de­feat the in­cum­bent – just like they did in 2002.

But to win, NASA needs to be­come a ve­hi­cle that con­sol­i­dates the com­bined vote power of the Op­po­si­tion blocs.

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