Rutto Bomet rally to launch Super Alliance
Raila arrives from Nigeria and could head to opposition event
A weekend rally is touted as a massive thanksgiving prayer for Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto, but the convergence of key opposition chiefs on Sunday signals the birth of the national super alliance, NASA.
The alliance is a potentially formidable initiative uniting them against President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Jubilee Party machine next year.
It aims to undermine Deputy President William Ruto’s influence in his South Rift Valley backyard, where some leaders are shepherding the key region’s voters away from the ruling Jubilee coalition.
Sources familiar with the planning said the meeting will be the first public appearance by opposition leaders to assure the public Uhuru will face a united team. They tell the Star the super alliance is to be announced, though the deal is expected to be signed in December.
The rally beamed live on nationwide television is likely to send jitters through Jubilee, especially as it is set squarely on DP’s Ruto’s turf.
The rally will celebrate Governor Rutto’s return this evening — to great fanfare — from a South African hospital where he underwent surgery for facial injuries suffered in a confrontation with police.
Laden with political symbolism, the rally will take place at historic Bomet Stadium, which seats 37,000.
Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress boss Musalia Mudavadi and his Kanu counterpart Gideon Moi will address the crowd.
ODM leader and Cord chief Raila Odinga, who has been giving university lectures in Nigeria, could return in time for the rally.
However, ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen said Raila will visit Kericho on Sunday, not Bomet.
Key speakers include Jubilee rebels led by Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot.
Cheruiyot, formerly a powerful Kanu man, this evening leads a big delegation to welcome Governor Rutto at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Rutto was airlifted to South Africa after sustaining injuries below his right eye during a fight between his supporters and those of National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso, his chief opponent in the Bomet governor’s race.
Yesterday, Mudavadi’s spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi and Bomet county
MUUNGANO MAALUM IS A SPACE FOR ALL THOSE AGAINST MISRULE BY JUBILEE, WHICH IS CHARACTERISED BY CONDONING RAMPANT CORRUPTION
Communications director Kiprotich Samoei separately confirmed to the Star the thanksgiving rally was on.
“It’s true, local churches have organised an interdenominational prayer for the governor this Sunday and many leaders are expected,” he said. Kabatesi said his boss will attend. Cord affiliate parties — ODM, Wiper and Ford Kenya — have been negotiating with ANC, Kanu and Chama Cha Mashinani to form the National Super Alliance, NASA, to face Jubilee in 2017.
Kanu and Rutto’s CCM refused to dissolve and join the Jubilee behemoth. The unity attempt rekindled memories of 2002 when Narc toppled Kanu, endings its 24-yeas reign.
In a coordinated strategy to send a strong message to DP Ruto, the Isaac Rutto homecoming is to be an extravagant affair. After a grand airport reception, the motorcade of leaders and Kalenjin professionals will travel to City Cabanas where leaders will address the media before driving to the city.
On Saturday, the convoy will drive to Bomet town with stops in Suswa, Narok town and Mulot.
Mudavadi has been the public face of NASA and has reserved the name with the Registrar of Political Parties.
The ANC boss, who was duped by Uhuru and Ruto ahead of the 2013 polls, says NASA is an outfit for those who want a better Kenya.
“Muungano Maalum is a space for all those against misrule by Jubilee, which is characterised by condoning rampant corruption; a ruinous and extravagant economic model of borrowing to eat while protecting economic saboteurs; arrogant ethnic exclusionism; and ruining our youth with the hustler mentality while stealing billions meant to empower the same youth,” ANC said in a statement last month.
On October 28, Cord CEO Norman Magaya told the Star the super alliance deal could be sealed by December. This was corroborated by Kanu’s Salat
“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,” Magaya said.
Despite its benefits, the coming together of the opposition is likely to compound an existing headache: Who should be the flagbearer to face Uhuru?.
Already, Cord co-principals Raila Odinga, Moses Wetang’ula and Kalonzo Musyoka are having a hard time deciding who will head the coalition ticket.
Just this week, Kalonzo and his erstwhile confidant Johnson Muthama have been in the news as the former VP accused the senator of working in Raila’s interests.
Mudavadi too has been urging all other opposition chiefs to drop their bids and instead back him.
When Rutto was injured, Raila and Gideon were among the first to visit him at the Nairobi Hospital and strongly condemned the attack.
“The attack on the governor continues a worrying agenda of hate and intolerance that has taken root in the country as the Government’s way of dealing with dissent and opponents, real or perceived,” Raila said.
Kanu secretary general Salat earlier told the Star,”The (alliance) talks are already at advanced stages, with a tight timeline, and I believe in December this year we will sign an agreement with other opposition parties to embark on countrywide campaigns in January.”
Salat said the opposition wants to run the campaign based on issues concerning all Kenyans, in development likely to change the national political landscape.
THE (ALLIANCE) TALKS ARE ALREADY AT ADVANCED STAGES, WITH A TIGHT TIMELINE AND I BELIEVE IN DECEMBER THIS YEAR WE WILL SIGN AN AGREEMENT
Deputy President William Ruto with Kilifii North MP Gideon Mung’aro at Matano Manne Centre in Ganze yesterday/
Opposition leader Raila Odinga with the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nigeria, Dr Nkem Okeke, and the widow of Nigeria’s founding President Prof Uche Azikiwe at the NnamdiAzikiwe University on Wednesday/