22 July 2018

Kenya: Mudavadi Seeking to Make Nasa a Strong Opposition Outfit

Photo: Capital FM
National Super Alliance leaders.

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi has said he is keen to rescue the National Super Alliance (Nasa) from collapse.

The fate of the outfit under whose umbrella opposition leader Raila Odinga vied for the presidency against his key challenger and the eventual winner, President Uhuru Kenyatta, has been uncertain. This is after Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta made peace on March 9.

Nasa is the brainchild of Mr Mudavadi, who roped in Mr Odinga together with Ford Kenya leader, Moses Wetang'ula and his Wiper Party counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka.

Mr Mudavadi told the Nation that the death of Nasa would see the Jubilee government get away with many ills if opposition parties are not strengthened. Ford Kenya boss Moses Wetang'ula quit the coalition.

"Kenyans may never forgive us should we abandon our role as the opposition, especially now when everything that could go wrong with governance is happening. There is the explosive issue of looting public coffers, impunity and public debt, which are deeply hurting the common mwananchi. It is instructive that as opposition, we haven't interrogated the budget exhaustively," he said.

JOINING GOVERNMENT

And aware of the allure of joining the government side, the ANC leader said: "I remind them that being in the opposition is not a crime."

His comments are seen in the context of Mr Odinga unilaterally mending fences with Mr Kenyatta, a move that almost scuttled the coalition.

Since then, Mr Wetang'ula has demonstrated the willingness to work with Deputy President William Ruto while Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has since endorsed the handshake.

Saying that it was taking too long to come to terms with the new political realities since last year's elections, Mr Mudavadi admitted that a 'rough lull' in Nasa activity was not helping matters.

"When I therefore talk about reinvigorating Nasa, it is out of a desire that the long period of reflection is past us, and it's time to retrace our steps on the basis of the big and long-term agenda that brought us together," he said.

In his mission, the ANC leader opened the doors for new entrants in what could signal further re-alignment in the political landscape.

"I am also using these unfulfilled agenda to interest other like-minded individuals, groups and political parties to join in Nasa rejuvenation. Nasa was not set up for political parties only. We set out to enjoin trade unions, small-scale traders, women and professional and student organisations," he said. The reality though is that it is easier to attract newcomers to a party in power than one in the opposition," he said.

REVAMP NASA

Urging his partners to revamp Nasa, Mr Mudavadi said there are legal requirements and responsibilities that go with forming, joining, exiting or dissolving a coalition.

"So far, no founding member party has taken any initial steps of exiting. What is happening is that founder parties are coming to terms with unfolding events such as the handshake," Mr Mudavadi said at Malinya market, Ikolomani in Kakamega last week.

"Nasa is my brainchild and I am determined to do everything possible to ensure it remains intact and is strengthened as we focus on preparations for the next elections."

On Monday while in Mombasa, Mr Wetang'ula accused Mr Odinga of betraying the alliance and vowed that his party had moved out.

The Bungoma senator said his party will concentrate on building the ground support through meetings and public rallies.

Signalling that he is not keen on merging with ANC, the Ford Kenya leader said his party has been losing chances of grabbing elective posts because of alliances with other parties.

LEADING THE WAY

At the same time, Sabatia MP and an ally of Mr Mudavadi, Mr Alfred Agoi, warned that youthful politicians from the region would take over if the veterans fail in leading the way for the much needed merger and unity.

"We, the Luhya must start planning now. We have to start charting the same direction. We have our own sons (in reference to Mudavadi and Wetang'ula) who can lead Kenya," he said.

Concerns have been rife that Mr Edwin Sifuna, the ODM secretary-general, ANC Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri, his Kakamega counterpart Cleophas Malala are closely allied to ODM leader Mr Odinga, whom Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang'ula have accused of using and dumping the community.

Said Mr Wetang'ula: "Our own sons are being used by people from outside to abuse us on their behalf."

But Sifuna, who at some point declared himself the Luhya spokesperson, wondered why young leaders were being accused of undermining veteran politicians.

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