Kenya: How Fresh Nasa Fights Could Scuttle Uhuru Succession Plans

Fresh infighting among the opposition brigade in the National Super Alliance (Nasa) is threatening to scuttle President Uhuru Kenyatta's 2022 succession plans.

Mr Kenyatta, whose relationship with Deputy President William Ruto now seems irreconcilable, had embraced a good working rapport with the outfit led by ODM leader Raila Odinga, but new revelations by Mr Odinga's co-principals could complicate the President's succession matrix.

Nasa consists of Mr Odinga, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford-Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula.

Former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto's Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party was also in Nasa, but the former Council of Governors chairman has now joined Dr Ruto's camp.

When President Kenyatta met leaders from lower Eastern, led by Mr Musyoka and governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos), at State House in Nairobi on Monday, he emphasized the need for leaders to unite, noting that a country cannot move forward if leaders are divided.

"I have done much more than I was able to do even in my first term. Why? Because I have been able to focus myself working in conjunction with my colleagues. I have been able to focus on the development agenda not the political agenda," the President said as he reportedly hinted at backing one Nasa principal in next year's poll.

The assertions, however, seem to have fuelled a fresh conflict in the opposition coalition, with Mr Musyoka declaring on Wednesday that he'd rather "retire from politics than support Odinga's presidential bid in next year's elections."

"It will be unthinkable to support Mr Odinga for the third time. I will be the most stupid person to once again support his bid without a measure of reciprocity," Mr Musyoka declared.

More on this: Kalonzo Musyoka: I'd rather retire than back Raila

Also read: Raila, Kalonzo vow to revive Nasa ahead of 2022 election

Uhuru endorsement

But Mr Kenyatta dismissed reports that, during the State House meeting on Monday, he had urged Nasa leaders to unite with a promise to endorse one of them as his successor.

Mr Odinga forged a working relationship with President Kenyatta on March 9, 2018, and his ODM supporters believe that with the truce, he would benefit from the Head of State's endorsement in next year's election.

Read: Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga craft 2022 coalition

During Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu on June 1, the President in his speech hinted at his future plans with Mr Odinga.

"I want to say here today that whatever the future holds, I look forward to working with him (Raila) and all Kenyan leaders and Kenyans to build a better, brighter, more united and prosperous Kenya, East Africa and Africa," President Kenyatta declared amid applause from the audience.

But despite the camaraderie between the two 2013 and 2017 political protagonists that spells hope for the future, the discontent in Nasa could derail their future plans.

ANC Thursday declared that the marriage between the five Nasa coalition partners is over and cannot be salvaged and that Mr Mudavadi, Mr Musyoka, Mr Wetang'ula and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi are now focusing their energy on building a new outfit - One Kenya Alliance (OKA).

"OKA is an emerging conversation and any like-minded partners are welcomed as long as we agree on ideologies and the agenda for the people of Kenya. ODM should have restarted the conversation with a public apology for the transgressions that it meted out on Nasa coalition partners," ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula said Thursday.

'Failed outfit'

Under the 2017 Nasa agreement, he said, the party that produced the presidential candidate, ODM, was not eligible to field a candidate in 2022 if the coalition stuck together.

Now, he added, they view Nasa as a failed outfit due to the breach of trust committed by some key Nasa principals after the 2017 election.

He also cited several reasons Nasa can no longer hold together: unilateral decisions made by some coalition members to join programmes and arrangements with other parties without consultations, betrayal by ODM, which chose the Handshake alone without involving other core parties, and CCM's move to join the DP's camp.

"The refusal by ODM to share resources from the Political Parties Fund amongst the Nasa coalition partners and demonstration of bullish behaviour by orchestrating the removal of the minority leader in the Senate, Hon. Moses Wetang'ula, are just some of the reasons this coalition cannot suffice," Mr Savula added.

He also mentioned the removal of the deputy minority leader in Senate, Cleophas Malala, and his subsequent replacement by Kilifi Senator Steward Madzayo of ODM; the ejection of the minority whip, Chris Wamalwa, who was replaced by Ford-Kenya's Eseli Simiyu; and the ouster of Butere MP Tindi Mwale from the Energy Committee in the National Assembly.

On Thursday, ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna accused the party's Nasa partners of advancing their "usual old script to attack our party".

jjochieng@ke.nationmedia.com

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