Anthony Mwangi and Charles Musyoka @PeopleDailyKe
Nasa co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula are under pressure again from the United States to follow the alliance leader Raila Odinga into the conciliation path he has charted with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Sources revealed yesterday that US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec met Amani National Congress party leader Mudavadi, Wiper’s Kalonzo and Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya for talks in which he urged them to drop their hard stance and, instead, join Uhuru and Raila in their new-found pact.
The three have been sulking and threatening to kick Raila’s ODM party from the alliance to protest his solo move to strike a deal with Uhuru. They have even been more aggrieved by ODM’s scheme to kick out Wetang’ula as the Senate Leader of Minority and replace him with Raila ally and Siaya Senator James Orengo.
Godec was said to have impressed on the three the need to join Raila in the initiative that is anchored on uniting Kenyans. But only hours after the meeting the trio, addressing a rally in Kitui, vowed to remain united to seek to capture the presidency in 2022. They, however, said they were not against the dialogue Raila is pursuing with President Uhuru, reiterating they need to be involved in the dialogue that they insisted must be inclusive.
Speaking at Kathivo market in Kitui West constituency, while campaigning for Wiper parliamentary by-election candidate Edith Nyenze, the leaders said ODM cannot purport to speak for Nasa, noting the coalition’s rules of engagement are clear that if one of the partners falls out, the outfit can remain with the three remaining parties.
“We, as leaders, have a common goal of ensuring Kenyans co-exist peacefully, therefore, the need for inclusive dialogue,” said Kalonzo. He said they have no problem with Raila and will embrace the efforts he is pursuing with President Uhuru to bring Kenyans together.
But well-placed sources at the Nairobi hotel where the trio had met Godec said the envoy told them pointblank to either drop the conditions they are trying to impose on the Uhuru-Raila unity deal or risk finding themselves irrelevant in the current political scenario. “The US wants the trio to join Uhuru and Raila in uniting the country without conditions,” said the source.
The three assured the envoy they have no problem working with the two but maintained they had issues with Raila, whom they accuse of betrayal, added the Wiper inside source. “They accused Raila and his ODM brigade of making the deal to appear as if it is exclusively his and the President’s,” revealed the source.
However, Godec who has been organising the meetings at a Westlands hotel, is openly of the view the deal between Uhuru and Raila is for the good of the country and needs to be supported by all. The trio, according to the source, also asked on Godec to intervene on the planned move by ODM to replace Wetang’ula with Orengo.
Though Raila has denied being aware of the Wetang’ula ouster bid, his close allies at the Senate are behind the move. In Kitui, Mudavadi said the three co-principals’ concern is the threat of thinking that the Opposition will be no more.
“The Nasa co-principals had been agitating for dialogue even after the presidential elections and if something went wrong half-way, that is a small matter,” Mudavadi said, adding that he has been in talking terms with Raila and hopes everything will go on smoothly.
“As far as we are concerned, Nasa is intact and the handshake between Raila and Uhuru has little or no impact on the coalition stability,” said Mudavadi. Wetang’ula downplayed behind-the-scenes political maneuvre by ODM to remove him as the Senate minority leader, saying as Nasa co-principals, they felt betrayed when one of them opted to pursue dialogue with the President alone.
He said those thinking Nasa has been shaken by the ODM move would soon be in for a rude shock as the coalition is working day and night to sustain its popularity till 2022. Other leaders present in the campaign foray included Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and legislators Ben Momanyi (Borabu), Chris Wamalwa (Saboti) and Gideon Mulyungi (Mwingi Central).