WHY NASA IS A GAME CHANGER

The Ju­bilee Party should an­tic­i­pate and pre­pare for a united op­po­si­tion un­der the Na­tional Su­per Alliance. And it must re­call Uhuru beat Raila with less than a mil­lion votes in 2013

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices - MACHEL WAIKENDA Po­lit­i­cal and com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­sul­tant

Ahead of the 2002 gen­eral elec­tion, there was a flurry of ac­tiv­ity among op­po­si­tion politi­cians as they toyed with the idea of field­ing a sin­gle can­di­date against Kanu. In the pre­vi­ous two elec­tions, Pres­i­dent Daniel Moi was handed the pres­i­dency by a di­vided op­po­si­tion. In that par­tic­u­lar elec­tion, how­ever, Moi was not run­ning and had, in­stead, en­dorsed Uhuru Keny­atta. This re­sulted in a walk­out from Kanu by its new­est part­ner, the Lib­eral Party of Kenya, led by Raila Odinga. The late Ge­orge Saitoti, the then Vice Pres­i­dent, also left be­cause he felt be­trayed by the en­dorse­ment of Uhuru and the ap­point­ment as VP of Musalia Mu­davadi.

Two months be­fore the elec­tion, Raila pulled a card that sur­prised many, in­clud­ing some of his col­leagues in the op­po­si­tion, when he de­clared “Kibaki Tosha!”. Mwai Kibaki be­came the Narc pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and went on to de­feat Uhuru.

Four­teen years later, we ap­pear to be in the same po­si­tion that gave birth to Narc. There has been an as­sump­tion that Uhuru stands a clear chance to be re­elected, and Raila is the only vi­able ri­val.

While this ap­pears to be the case, the Ju­bilee Party should an­tic­i­pate and pre­pare for a united op­po­si­tion un­der the pro­posed Na­tional Su­per Alliance beat Raila with less than a mil­lion votes in 2013.

What’s more, the win in 2013 was just about 80,000 votes above the 50+1 vote mark. With­out th­ese votes, we would have had a run-off, in which Raila and other can­di­dates, in­clud­ing Mu­davadi, would have joined forces.

The key pro­po­nent of the NASA alliance is ANC’s leader Mu­davadi, who got slightly be­low half-a-mil­lion votes in the last gen­eral elec­tion.

If his NASA idea be­comes a re­al­ity, the op­po­si­tion will form a force that will eas­ily give Uhuru and and Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto a run for their money.

All in­di­ca­tions are those in the op­po­si­tion know that apart from hold­ing state power, the Ju­bilee Party has en­deared it­self to Kenyans, es­pe­cially in the ru­ral ar­eas, through var­i­ous de­vel­op­ment projects. There­fore, the pri­mary fo­cus of this NASA out­fit is not to win but to lose, and en­sure Ju­bilee does not win in round one.

This alliance can achieve this ob­jec­tive ei­ther by go­ing to the elec­tion as a united front or by split­ting into in­di­vid­ual par­ties, each of them field­ing its can­di­dates. They will, how­ever, be united by a com­mon pur­pose — to deny Ju­bilee vic­tory in the first round. This is dan­ger­ous for Ju­bilee and Uhuru be­cause it is a vi­able chance to win by forc­ing a runoff, and unit­ing in the re­run.

As I have writ­ten be­fore, those in Ju­bilee seem more fo­cused on who will com­pete with the Deputy Pres­i­dent in 2022, in­stead of fo­cussing on 2017.

On the other side, the op­po­si­tion ap­pears fo­cussed and mov­ing full steam to­wards the 2017 gen­eral elec­tion to deny Ju­bilee out­right vic­tory. In the past weeks, Ju­bilee and its sup­port­ers have shifted their fo­cus to the an­nounce­ment by Peter Ken­neth that he will be sup­port­ing Pres­i­dent Uhuru’s re­elec­tion in­stead of wel­com­ing PK and his sup­port­ers to the Ju­bilee fold.

Some are pre­oc­cu­pied with how this will af­fect Ruto’s pres­i­den­tial bid in 2022

This pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with 2022, and the as­sump­tion that Uhuru has al­ready won the 2017 elec­tion, is what is likely to cost Ju­bilee.

At­ten­tion must be on en­sur­ing all Ju­bilee sup­port­ers are reg­is­tered as vot­ers and that they come out to vote.

So to my fel­low Ju­bilee mem­bers, and as I have opined here be­fore, the 2017 elec­tion win is not in the bag yet. There is a lot that needs to be done to en­sure that.

Com­pla­cency and voter ap­a­thy, cou­pled with a united op­po­si­tion can make us lose the pres­i­dency and the ma­jor­ity seats in the Na­tional and County as­sem­blies.

We need a change of tack, to re­strate­gise, re en­er­gise our base and im­me­di­ately start an ef­fec­tive “Get out the vote” cam­paign.

We can­not al­low NASA to pull an­other Narc stunt, mak­ing Uhuru a one-term Pres­i­dent.

THIS ALLIANCE WILL FORCE A RE­RUN AS A UNITED FRONT OR BY SPLIT­TING INTO PAR­TIES AND EACH OF THEM FIELD­ING ITS CAN­DI­DATES. THEY WILL BE UNITED TO DENY JU­BILEE VIC­TORY IN THE FIRST ROUND

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