Elections 2017NATIONALNEWS

Fresh election not practical, Mudavadi says of Raila push

The plot to pull apart by the National Super Alliance (Nasa) key principals thickened yesterday as ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi poured cold water on calls for a repeat presidential election made by Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

It was the second time in as many days that Mudavadi hurled a broadside against Raila, after having said on Tuesday that the Nasa leader had tricked him and his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Party) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) to skip the mock oath ceremony on January 30.

Yesterday, Mudavadi termed the calls for a repeat election pushed by Raila as impractical.

Mudavadi, who spoke in an interview aired on a national TV station said Nasa should, instead, start preparing itself for the 2022 elections instead of concentrating on calling for a fresh election.

His remarks come just two weeks after Raila demanded that a fresh presidential election be held in August to mollify the country.

Mudavadi, a former Vice President, also warned that Nasa risked losing focus unless the leadership discusses and irons out some of the burning issues within it.

The stand may also fuel the growing turbulence within Nasa where the leaders have made little effort to conceal bubbling differences.

Speaking in Kakamega on Tuesday, Mudavadi claimed he, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula felt betrayed by Raila who ‘dodged’ them as they waited in a city hotel as he took the oath alone.

And yesterday, he added that the Raila mock swearing-in at Uhuru Park was supposed to be a people’s assembly event was turned into an oath event. “The people who made the people’s assembly look like the swearing-in are the ones who have been misleading Kenyans, because that was not the end to itself. It is these issues that we have to deal with in Nasa,” he said in the interview.

He emphasised it was not viable for the country to have a presidential election this August due to both legal and budgetary constraints.

He argued that there is no legal framework that would enable the country to hold another poll anytime soon the previous twin elections last year having already burdened the exchequer.

“Issues of democracy of this nature must be financed by the citizens themselves and that can only come through a parliamentary process,” Mudavadi said.

He now wants Nasa to train its guns on 2022 by focusing on electoral reforms that would ensure the country holds free and fair elections.

“I want to appeal to the members of Nasa to not lose sight of the ball, let us not lose focus…We may be spending too much time on issues that are just dedicated to insulting each other, but they are not giving us the forward movement,” he said.

Kalonzo, on his part, was quoted in a vernacular radio station in Machakos last week saying the oath Raila took was illegal.

And to buttress Kalonzo’s stand, Kamba elders converged in Mwala, Machakos county, on Wednesday under the banner of Mau Mau War Veterans Association and asked Kalonzo Musyoka to ditch Nasa to chart his own political future.

Wetang’ula and Mudavadi are also seen as walking a strained path as, on Sunday, the Ford Kenya leader skipped an event in Khwisero, Kakamega county, that was hosted by trade unionist Francis Otwoli to “forgive” the Nasa leaders for failing to accompany Raila during the mock oath. Sources said Wetang’ula had been invited.

And today will see another litmus test for Nasa cohesion as ODM delegates meet in Nairobi to discuss the party’s future in Nasa. It is expected that some of the delegates will call for an endorsement of a resolution to have Raila ditch the alliance and go it alone in his 2022 presidential bid.

Raila has maintained that he does not recognise President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration and vowed to push for a fresh poll, but Mudavadi’s latest views may have a significant bearing on local politics as it hints at an opposition that is slowly coming to grips with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second mandate.

Political pundits have noted that part from Raila, the other Nasa co-principals have relented in their push against the Uhuru presidency, which has obviously caused a strain between them and Raila.

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