Raila Odinga has joined his three National Super Alliance (Nasa) co-principals in a high-level meeting on the future of the opposition coalition in Athi River.
Mr Odinga on Monday arrived at Stoni Athi Resort in the company of Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress) and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula.
Mr Odinga’s car was leading the convoy when the four leaders pulled up at the resort in Machakos County at noon.
His attendance, like his Friday meeting with President Kenyatta, came as a surprise to political observers because his handlers had indicated that the ODM leader was not aware of the meeting.
Even though the meeting was planned last week, it has acquired some extra significance following Mr Odinga’s Friday meeting with Mr Kenyatta.
From left: Nasa co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Raila Odinga enjoy tea at Stoni Athi Resort in Athi River on March 12, 2018. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The former prime minister attended the meeting without informing his co-principals, raising questions on the future of the opposition outfit.
Tension was palpable as the four leaders made it to the meeting after a weekend of uncertainty amid complaints from Mr Odinga’s co-principals that he had not talked to them since the Friday event.
And even though they arrived in one convoy, the usual camaraderie was missing.
Mr Odinga was the first to get out of his car but did not wait for the others.
He climbed out and was met by National Assembly Deputy Minority Leader Robert Ombui and walked straight into the meeting room, with Siaya Senator James Orengo in tow.
He was followed by Mr Wetang’ula, Mr Musyoka and Mr Mudavadi.
The agenda of the meeting is likely to include the surprise meeting at Harambee House, especially because the other Nasa chiefs feel betrayed.
They will also be seeking to know what is in it for the Nasa and the extent of the deal the two leaders hammered on Friday.
Others in attendance are Mr Johnson Muthama, Dr Esseli Simiyu, Mr Sakwa Bunyasi who, alongside Mr Orengo, are members of the Nasa coordinating committee.
ANC secretary-general Barrack Muluka and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana are also present.
The meeting came as Nasa’s People’s Assembly organising committee suspended its meetings countrywide.
Mr David Ndii, a member of the People’s Assembly organising committee, on Monday said President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga had asked them to put off their plans.
He spoke to journalists at Okoa Kenya offices in the capital Nairobi.
The meeting also came as more reactions on Uhuru-Raila meeting poured in.
Nyamira County Governor John Nyagarama on Monday called on Nasa and Jubilee to discipline their members opposing the new unity deal.
In a statement, Mr Nyagarama said the country needs to heal from divisive politics that has threatened national unity.
“National dialogue led by the country’s most powerful and most admired leaders is the perfect start to healing our deeply divided nation,” he said.
“Those who oppose it should be disciplined by their respective parties and coalitions.”
He called on party hardliners to support the new unity bid.
The historic meeting saw the two leaders unite towards a common goal of bonding the country.
“Politicians on both sides should come and out to support the new pact because it promises the start of healing and reconciliation for the country,” Mr Nyagarama said.
The governor, who is among the Nasa leaders who have been calling for dialogue since the disputed August 8, 2017 elections, promised to rally his colleagues from the Council of Governors to support the unity talks.
Separately, a grouping of Kenyans living in diaspora have hailed the coming together of President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.
Chairman of the Kenya Diaspora Alliance Shem Ochuodho on Monday said the organisation was pleased with the bold statesman-like step the two leaders took to reunite the country.
“Kenyans living abroad have consistently called for the two political leaders to talk over the country’s political future,” said Dr Ochuodho.
He said the organisation had rooted for dialogue in Kenya through a multi-sectorial forum that includes elders, religious leaders, private sector, intellectuals, and youth, among others to search for common ground.
“The meetings culminated in an elders meeting in Nairobi last week, which also brought together top leaderships of Jubilee and Nasa,” said Dr Ochuodho.