Opposition leaders today begin a one-day make-or-break retreat to agree on who will carry the flag to battle it out with President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August polls. National Super Alliance (NASA) leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula will meet in South Coast to discuss the critical issue of flagbearer among other issues of power-sharing, in case they secure power.
A senior official in the coalition told The Sunday Standard that some of the principals arrived at the venue Saturday evening for the talks that are intended to seal the deal on the presidential candidate. Tensions Earlier before the talks, Musyoka held a meeting in Ukunda with the former Minister Chirau Makwere who is eyeing the Kwale gubernatorial seat on a Wiper ticket.
Raila, who was expected to have a series of meetings in Lamu, will join his colleagues later on in South Coast.Wetang’ula drummed up support for his Ford Kenya Party in Changamwe before joining Kalonzo. According to a senior ANC official, Mudavadi will jet in to Diani Sunday morning to join his colleagues for the talks. At the heart of the retreat is the discussion on the report that was prepared by the a five-member technical committee tasked with considering various options of picking a presidential candidate. The 12-member National Coordinating Committee (NCC) team brings together three members from ODM, Wiper, Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress. Siaya Senator James Orengo, a member of the team, said a report prepared by the NASA technical committee had been shared with the principals. He added: “The Summit expressed satisfaction with the work of the NCC and the technical committee.” The meeting comes amidst hard line positions that have been taken by the principals and there parties on who should carry the presidential baton in the August 8 contest. Each of the principals and their lieutenants have dug in on the flagbearer issue with different groupings fronting for their party leader.
A leaked NCC report caused a furore when it emerged that it had suggested a repeat of the 2013 lineup of a Raila-Kalonzo ticket. When The Standard broke the story of a possible Raila-Kalonzo ticket with Mudavadi designated as Chief Minister and Wetang’ula as the National Assembly Speaker, some NASA parties dismissed it. During a press briefing at its headquarters in Nairobi on Wednesday, ANC termed the reports as erroneous. “Our members in the NCC and technical committee are not aware of a decision having been made. We are, however, aware of many working documents and proposals under discussion in the two committees,” said Godfrey Osotsi, ANC’s secretary general. ANC deputy party Leader Kipruto Kirwa, a member of the NCC, asked party supporters to ignore what he described as misleading information. National Assembly Minority leader Francis Nyenze, also an NCC member, had repeatedly said his Wiper party would not accept anything short of a Musyoka candidacy. Nyenze has insisted that a 2013 Memorandum of Understanding between Wiper and ODM has to be honoured, which was to see ODM support a Musyoka ticket.
Nyenze said it is Raila’s turn to support Musyoka in accordance with the MoU. “We don’t have to keep meeting and even if we meet a hundred times, we will not agree until the MoU is honoured,” Nyenze said.