Wiper wants Kalonzo named opposition flagbearer
A 2013 pre-election agreement appeared to rock the National Super Alliance on Wednesday after the Wiper party said it would not settle for anything less than having its leader Kalonzo Musyoka named the opposition presidential candidate.
Minority leader in the National Assembly Francis Nyenze said it was Wiper’s turn to produce the opposition flag bearer in line with a controversial 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) said to have been signed between the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Wiper.
“Kalonzo will not be deputy to anybody because of the 2013 MoU. We still stick to that. Why would we want to change if it was agreed upon? It will be difficult to convince the Kamba people that we are going for second place again,” said Mr Nyenze, a long time ally of Mr Musyoka.
Mr Nyenze’s hardline position is sure to complicate ongoing talks between the four Nasa affiliates – ODM, Wiper, Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford Kenya – in their efforts to agree on a joint presidential candidate without creating internal conflict.
As one of the three Wiper representatives in the 12-member Nasa coordinating committee, Mr Nyenze’s word carries the weight of the party’s position on the choice of the presidential candidate.
Mr Nyenze also spoke of attempts by ODM to increase its representation in the coordinating committee by adding two more MPs, Kajiado Central’s Memusi Kanchori and Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua to give Mr Odinga a numerical advantage in the ongoing talks.
“It was actually three weeks ago but we said they cannot sit in the committee because each candidate has to have three representatives. Having two more would have given Raila an unfair advantage over others,” said Mr Nyenze.
He spoke as the opposition outfit down played reports of confusion within its ranks after scheduled meetings failed to materialise on Tuesday.
One of the four Nasa co-principals Musalia Mudavadi said there had not been any meetings scheduled for either Monday or Tuesday.
“We did not have any scheduled meetings, not even today but if things change, we will let you know. Of immediate concern to us is the disclosure by IEBC that they are unable to procure an integrated management system. This is a matter which calls for a very serious discussion with all the stakeholders,” he said.
Two other members of the Nasa coordinating committee also maintained that there were no scheduled meetings on Monday.
PLANNED BY MEDIA
“The purported meetings were planned by the media, not us. Yesterday, I and my party leader Moses Wetang’ula were in Mombasa attending the National Legislative Summit. There is no way we could have been in Mombasa if there were any planned meetings in Nairobi. Mr Musyoka was in Dubai and only two principals Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi were available,” said Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale.
Tongareni MP Eseli Simiyu echoed similar views; “we did not meet because the technical team must first meet and submit its report. Even today there is no planned meeting but just know that we have made some good progress.”
But even as they denied that there were any scheduled meetings, the Nation received an invitation from ODM Director of Communications Philip Etale inviting the media to cover some of the meetings.
Reads one such invite: “ODM leader Raila Odinga will tomorrow (Tuesday, 21) preside over the biggest gathering of youth aspirants vying for various seats across the country on the ODM ticket at Orange House, Nairobi. The event is scheduled to begin at 10am. During the event, several high profile youth leaders and aspirants will be defecting to the ODM Party from Jubilee.”
“This will be Mr Odinga’s first engagement after returning to the country from a week long tour of South Africa and the US. You are invited to cover this event.”
“Raila will also meet Kalonzo, Wetang’ula and Mudavadi at Orange House after this meeting,” the invite added.
Both Dr Khalwale and Dr Simiyu also confirmed that Nasa would hold a rally at Nairobi’s Uhuru Park on Friday.