NASA’s Coastal retreat to name the presidential flagbearer collapsed in disarray, creating new alignments within the unsettled opposition, the Star has established.
Another retreat has not yet been scheduled, but the four principals agreed to stick together. It is understood neither ODM chief Raila Odinga nor Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka would deputise the other.
Principals Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), Kalonzo and Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) said selection was biased in favour of Raila. Wetang’ula walked out.
The April 9 retreat at Vipingo Ridge, Kilifi, was to select a candidate.
“Nothing is agreed. I demand the ODM secretary general (Agnes Zani) withdraw her statement,” Kalonzo said last week after meeting Mudavadi. He referred to Zani’s statement affirming truth of the leaked portion of the NCC report saying best ticket would be Raila- Kalonzo.
At Kilifi, A Ghanaian team briefed the principles on how to defeat a hostile government. Drama began when Wetang’ula protested against the presence of Raila’s Capitol Hill campaign team and others.
Only the four principals and one close aide were supposed to attend. Raila brought at least six more advisers than allowed.
Wetang’ula also protested against the method NASA’s National Coordinating Committee proposed to pick the flagbearer.
Former VP Kalonzo was accompanied by his campaign manager Rodney Okoth, a UoN law lecturer.
Mudavadi brought aide Kabatesi Kibisu. Wetang’ula was alone.
Kalonzo and Mudavadi also opposed Raila’s large team and the selection process. They did not leave. The three principals protested Raila’s strategists had been staying at the hotel since April 7 and joined the talks.
They included Adams Oloo and former ODM coordinator Caesar Asiyo.
“The opposition chief arrived with Suna East MP Junet Mohamed and his NASA technical representative Abubakar Zein. It violated rules, requiring only eight people attend,
and it annoyed other principals,” a Capitol Hill source told the Star.
On the flagbearer issue, the technical committee report was shelved after complaints some members were pushing a personal agenda. The report listed possible 12 potential tickets of presidents and running mates.
It said the strongest against Jubilee was a Mudavadi-Kalonzo ticket — the reason the report was scrapped.
NASA sources said a good number of the technical team favoured Raila and wanted to kill the report.
Instead, lacking technical report, the principals settled on findings by the NCC. That team drafted five questions for a straw poll of principals.
The questions, tabled by Ford Kenya Deputy leader Boni Khalwale, were: 1) Who should be flagbearer? (weight: 10 per cent); 2) Who has the best chance of winning? (40 per cent); 3) If your party leader is running mate, who should head the ticket? (15 per cent); 4) If your party leader is the presidential candidate, who should be the deputy? (20 per cent);
5) Who can win more votes in Jubilee strongholds? (15 per cent). However, Wetang’ula questioned why questions were weighted differently.
He was supported by Mudavadi and Kalonzo who dismissed the proposed question strategy by NCC since numbers three and four are similar.
In its recommendations, now scrapped, the technical committee agreed the presidential candidate must: 1) Have high numbers in opposition strongholds; 2) Change battle zones into NASA strongholds; and 3) Get 30 per cent of total votes in Jubilee strongholds. It had 12 ticket scenarios.
The top three pairings in descending order of vote-getting are Mudavadi for President with Kalonzo as running mate; Raila-Kalonzo (leaked) and Kalonzo-Raila. However, it said any of top three could be the presidential candidate.
The first, Mudavadi-Kalonzo would be likely to grab Jubilee strongholds.
The second, Raila-Kalonzo, failed after Wetang’ula, Kalonzo and Musalia objected.
At this point, Wetang’ula left and called for another meeting in Nairobi.
He said he was heading to Nairobi, however, sources close to him said he stayed in Mombasa and snubbed dinner with the three principals.
The talks collapsed after one principal left. The next day, April 10, Kalonzo Kalonzo and Mudavadi met at the Wiper leader’s Kilifi house for breakfast. Kabatesi and Okoth attended.
Raila learnt what transpired.
On Tuesday, the ODM wing selectively leaked the Raila-Kalonzo part of the technical team’s report, showing Raila as flag bearer and Kalonzo as running mate. The other three principals were off ended.
“If they (NCC) cannot guard this process, they are also part of this confusion,” Kalonzo said at Wiper headquarters.
Raila called Musalia for another meeting at the Karen Club, with Siaya Senator James Orengo, Professor Makau Mutua and nominated Senator Oburu Odinga.
Musalia was joined by Vihiga Senator George Khaniri and ANC deputy party leader Kipruto Kirwa.
Mutua said a Raila-Mudavadi ticket would not work since both come from Western.
The group expressed concern Jubilee would capitalise on its propaganda that Raila cannot win and whip “kimundu’ emotions in Mt Kenya.
The idea of ODM working with other Kamba leaders was floated but trashed by the team, which on NASA unity.
The following day, Mudavadi met Kalonzo at his office to discuss options.
From the Karen and other meetings, it was clear Raila cannot be Kalonzo’s running mate and Kalonzo refuses to be Raila’s, the ODM chief’s aides said.
The two refuse to deputise each other. Kalonzo says he won’t leave NASA. Privately he said he would accept
another position if Raila is flagbearer. Possible posts include Nairobi governor, assembly speaker and Premier, among others.
An aide said Raila was considering other options since close allies insist he must fly the flag.