Kenya’s opposition leaders unity remain elusive

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By Muchemi Wachira

NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya’s four main opposition leaders have yet again failed to agree on the National Supper Alliance (Nasa) presidential flag bearer to face President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August 8 general sending signal that the alliance is still unsteady.

The leaders—Raila Odinga of Orange Democratic Movement, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper Party, Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya and Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress, were scheduled to gather at a coastal retreat on Monday in a final effort to salvage the alliance.

They have been feuding over who is the best candidate suitable to send the ruling Jubilee Party home.

The main purpose of the meeting was to consider a report by the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) on the coalition’s presidential flag-bearer and power-sharing proposals.

The much-awaited retreat is said to have been put off after ODM leader, Odinga travelled to South Africa over the Easter holiday to visit his ailing daughter, Rosemary. He was expected back in the country either on Sunday evening or on Mondaymorning.

“We cannot go to a retreat because some of the principals are not present. Raila is in South Africa while Kalonzo Musyoka had travelled to Dubai,” Mr Mudavadi, the Amani National Congress leader was quoted saying.

He added that the principals can only have a full meeting when all of them are around.

Mr Kalonzo had, however, returned to the country by Sunday. When contacted the Wiper party leader alluded to a change of strategy.

The said the intention was to keep the schedule of the retreat a closely guarded secret. “We want this meeting to remain a mystery. We know that there is huge interest but we don’t want to be infiltrated and that’s why we are not disclosing any details,” he told a local daily.

A leaked report had suggested that members of the NASA’s National Coordinating Committee (NCC), which has been tasked with the work of coming up with the name of the coalition’s flag bearer settled on Odinga as its presidential candidate with Musyoka deputizing him.

However, this was disputed by the alliance members after it sparked outrage with Mr Mudavadi’s supporters’ protesting in the streets.

Mr Musyoka also dismissed the report insisting that he will not agree to be Mr Oding’a running mate this time.

He argued that after deputizing the ODM leader in 2013 polls, the two had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that said, this time it is Mr Odinga who should support him in gunning for the presidency.

Other media reports indicated that the retreat might be delayed for two or three days after Bomet Governor, Isaac Ruto agreed to join NASA as the fifth principal. Mr Ruto has been a critic of the deputy president William Ruto after he fell out with the Jubilee administration.

He has promised deliver a big section of the voter-rich Rift Valley region to the opposition.

Ruto will be received in Nairobi before the end of this week according to the media reports.

The reports further say the Governor will hold discussions with the four NASA principals before they all fly down to the Coast to agree not only on who among them would fly the opposition flag and also the power-sharing formula.

When the NASA coalition was launched three months ago, it had given Kenyan hopes that come, August 8 elections; it would dislodge President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration, which has been riddled with corruption and tribalism.

But with the internal wrangles rocking the coalition opposition supporters are slowly losing confidence as the unity of the leaders remains elusive.

This is giving Jubilee an easy time as Nasa is being seen as an outfit led by greedy and self-destructive leaders.

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