Rutto Bomet rally to launch Su­per Al­liance

Raila ar­rives from Nige­ria and could head to op­po­si­tion event

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - FELIX OLICK @olick­fe­lix

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


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.



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/

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