Mukalo Kwayera @kwayeram
Details emerging from the boardrooms of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) affiliate parties strongly indicate the opposition outfit is teetering on the brink of an acrimonious split, the People Daily can report.
Top officials and ardent activists within the hitherto vibrant outfit confidentially disclose that intra-Nasa conflict that bubbled in Parliament this week is a tip of a divisive iceberg that has accumulated from hushed disagreements among leaders.
Deep-seated differences in opinion and strategy among the leaders of the four political parties that form Nasa—ODM, Wiper, ANC and Ford-Kenya—have tossed it on the verge of a major splinter even as its four co-principals continue to put on a brave face in the wake of some embarrassing happenings.
In the National Assembly on Wednesday, ODM, Ford-Kenya and ANC legislators told off their Wiper counterparts threatening to eject the party from the Nasa ambit if they insisted on replacing Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga (ODM) with Borabu MP Ben Momanyi (Wiper) in the Parliamentary Service Commission.
On Tuesday, Wiper MPs had protested that it was unfair for ODM to hog the lion’s share of slots in parliamentary committees and PSC, leaving Wiper with crumbs. Behind the scenes, Jubilee MPs were understood to be plotting to vote with Wiper in kicking out Wanga for Momanyi. Yesterday, the House set voting for PSC slots for next Tuesday, as it merged that Jubilee has taken a position to help Wiper vote for Momanyi.
And in ANC yesterday, some functionaries joined the fray by accusing two of their fellow lawmakers, Kakamega Senator Cleopas Malala and Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi of staging a rebellion against their party leader Musalia Mudavadi and instead going to bed with enemies of the party. “We want to tell Malala and Osotsi that we know they are dining with the Jubilee administration and moreso top officials.
We understand they are on the payroll of Jubilee. They should stop abusing our party leader. He is our 2022 presidential flag-bearer. Wasituingize kwa maneno ya swearing-in,” said a statement by ANC officials. Other insiders say it’s only a matter of time before intra-party and inter-party divisions spill over into the limelight in an untrammelled fashion that could leave Raila “looking for new partners”.
“Differences arising from the mock swearing-in theatre staged by Raila were only a culmination of long-drawn lack of unanimity in the manner the four principals approach critical issues,” an influential governor from Western Kenya told the People Daily yesterday.
At the centre of the divisions are a group of youthful radical intellectuals (mainly lawyers) and financiers who are understood to have captured Raila and the entire Nasa agenda in all practical purposes such that the former premier merely acts at their beck and call in total disregard of views and concerns from his co-principals.
“There is a lot of friction within Nasa. Raila has been hijacked by the radical revolutionaries. They control his political decisions without taking advice from the co-principals,” the governor said.
On the other hand, a governor from Lower Eastern talked of a “worrying trend within Nasa”, saying “painful as this might be to some people, the truth is that Raila has surrendered himself to the whims and dictates of a small clique of reckless activists fashioning themselves as revolutionaries.”
The radical revolutionaries are understood to have ostensibly been behind Raila’s withdrawal from the October 26 (last year) repeat presidential election, that has since been analysed by political pundits as a fatal political mistake.
“In all honesty, Raila rarely consults Kalonzo, Mudavadi or Wetang’ula on any of the contentious decisions he has taken after the court nullified Uhuru’s election victory on Septmber 1,” stated the Governor from Eastern Kenya.
Nasa legislators were said to have been stunned by Kalonzo’s comment on Tuesday, during an interview with a vernacular radio station, that he believed the mock oath Raila took was unconstitutional. He later told a Wiper women group meeting the same day that he believed he could have been arrested had he taken the oath.
Sources in Wiper say, apart from appearing once in a public media conference with Raila after January 30, Kalonzo has not been meeting with the Nasa leader, while he has held several meetings with Mudavadi and Wetang’ula.
Wiper deputy party leader Farah Maalim was yesterday quoted saying he believes neither Nasa nor Jubilee will exist as a united entity by 2022. “Kenya is at a crossroads, all I can say is that Nasa and Jubilee are collapsing, a search for totally new formations has just begun,” Maalim was quoted saying.
Also putting the principals under pressure is the disconcerting move by the hitherto sympathetic religious fraternity, US and Western diplomats and international donors who have not only distanced themselves from, but also strongly condemned, what they consider as the Opposition’s unhelpful confrontational activities and unconstitutional manner of executing its political push. Matters could yet take a nose-dive coming Tuesday if Jubilee votes with Wiper to replace Wanga with Momanyi.