The dicey presidential flag bearer riddle of the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) now heads into a crescendo as the coalition’s top-notch, now joined by Bomet governor Isaac Ruto, yesterday tied themselves to next Thursday as the date to name the candidate and the running mate.
The meeting of the Nasa co-principals that now includes the Johnnie-come-lately head of the Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party yesterday sought to recreate the ODM wave of 2007 by naming the five Pentagon.
What now remains to be unveiled, and what Nasa supporters across the country have endlessly waited for, is the alliance’s torch blazer.
Ruto, who may have just joined for want of high-profile camaraderies and just to defend his governor saddle will definitely not lay claim to the presidency.
But Prime Minister Raila Odinga (ODM), former vicepPresidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi of Wiper Party and Amani National Congress (ANC) respectively as well as Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya each have a stake in seeking the baton. And what a scramble for the baton that will be!
Twelve scenarios have been compiled by a co-ordinating committee of 12 members drawn from the four parties, negating the initial assumption that Raila Odinga was going to the automatic candidate with ‘any other’ as a deputy.
Two of the scenarios: Mudavadi-Kalonzo or Kalonzo-Mudavadi are said to have gained escalated currency and elicited more excitement than the other 10 options, giving a headache to Raila and his backers who now see his chance facing an acid test.
The other proposals weighed by the Nasa intelligentsia, most of which are viewed as not workable in the prevailing political atmosphere are: Raila-Kalonzo, Raila-Mudavadi, Raila-Wetang’ula, Mudavadi-Wetang’ula, Mudavadi-Raila, Kalonzo-Raila, Kalonzo-Wetang’ula, Wetangula-Kalonzo, Wetang’ula-Mudavadi and Wetang’ula-Raila.
Already, antennas have been raised higher in the political backyards of each of the four principals where supporters are itching to bolt out of Nasa or boycott voting if their preferred choice will not be the eventual bearer of the flag.
Owing to reasons pegged on ethnicity and regional balance, the mediators are understood to have dismissed any combination that includes Raila, Wetang’ula and Mudavadi on the same ticket as the trio hail from the western part of the country. The geographical standing thus leaves Kalonzo as an indispensable member of the Nasa line-up in whatever formation.
In the same vein, it is understood that they opined that Raila’s massive following around the country and his larger-than-life clout, in addition to the fact that he has previously ran for the presidency thrice, leaves him above the position of runningmate, meaning he can only be the chief carrier of the Nasa flag or skip being on the ticket but, instead, lend his unflinching support to any two, one of which must be Kalonzo.
Some of the co-ordinating team members allied to Raila are understood to have previously been adamant that the former premier has the most noticeable political gravitas, financial muscle and national influence be the candidate with Kalonzo as the running mate .
That line of thinking was enhanced by a leakage of that proposal to the media by the pro-Raila members of the co-ordinating team and which was confirmed by the ODM secretary-general Dr Agnes Zani.
However, sharp reactions from the political bastions of Kalonzo and Mudavadi compelled some three members of the co-ordinating committee—Siaya Senator James Orengo, his Machakos counterpart Johnstone Muthama and Tongaren MP Dr Eseli Simiyu— to disown Zani’s remarks and declare that no agreement had been reached.
Sources divulged that after the brouhaha raised by the supporters of Kalonzo and Mudavadi, a considerable section of the co-ordinating team had reached concurrence that a ticket that combines Mudavadi and Kalonzo, regardless of who tops it, would be the most nationally-accepted pairing to face JP’s UhuRuto. The Kalonzo-Mudavadi advocates are said to have repeatedly wondered why Jubilee functionaries increasingly get excited to face Raila than the two in the wake of propaganda that continually paints the other Nasa ticket seekers as ‘moles’ and as ne’er-do-wells.
Only three weeks ago, National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale gleefully described Raila on the floor of the House as “the best suited” presidential candidate for Nasa, terming him a nationalist.
However, Ruto’s joining of Nasa could as well be laden with some complications. The outspoken Bomet governor is understood to have presented some conditions before teaming up with the Nasa four.
The CCM Party Leader is said to have demanded that his going to Nasa could only receive considerable backing if his “classmate” at the University of Nairobi, Musalia Mudavadi, was handed the presidential ticket arguing that Raila’s candidature could drive the Kipsigis community away from Nasa arising from reasons related to the evictions of some people from the region from Mau Forest when Raila was Prime Minister.