Mudavadi, Raila, Gideon kick off 2017 alliance talks

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Coalition for
Reforms and
Democracy, Raila
Odinga and Kanu
secretary general
Nick Salat attend
celebrations to
mark Kenya’s
Madaraka
Day, the 53rd
anniversary of
the country’s
self rule, in Uhuru
Park grounds,
Nairobi, June 1,
2016. / REUTERS

The likelihood President Uhuru Kenyatta will face a united opposition is becoming more probable by the minute, as his opponents prepare to sign a pre-election agreement in December.

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The coming together of the opposition may however compound an already existing headache: The question of who should be the flagbearer to face Uhuru.

Already, Cord co-principals Raila Odinga, Moses Wetang’ula and Kalonzo Musyoka are having a hard time deciding on how to choose their candidate.

Raila’s ODM, Kalonzo’s Wiper and Wetang’ula’s Ford-Kenya that are already in Cord are set to join hands with ANC, Narc Kenya and Kanu to form the National Super Alliance (NASA).

ODM leader Raila is also expected to meet several close allies this weekend to discuss issues regarding a super alliance.

NASA is said to be the brainchild of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, who is asking his colleagues to support him as the Presidential candidate.

Today and tomorrow, ANC will hold a retreat in Machakos, where NASA is part of the agenda, according to its Secretariat.

“The meeting will, among other issues, review the emerging political developments in coalition building, particularly the formation of the National Super Alliance, or Muungano Maalum, spearheaded by the ANC Party Leader,” ANC said in a statement.

The retreat will be chaired by Mudavadi, and the party said it will hold a press conference on Friday to give its members the way forward.

The Star has established that all the opposition parties have agreed to field a single candidate in the coming elections after lengthy discussions on the process of identifying a unified flagbearer.

The development comes as the fourth step in the seven-month talks after they identified the issues to be urgently addressed, among them how to craft an all-inclusive government and the process of strengthening devolution.

“The talks are already at advanced stages, with a tight timeline, and I believe in December this year we will sign an agreement with other opposition parties to embark on countrywide campaigns in January,” said Kanu secretary general Nick Salat.

Salat said the opposition want to run the next campaigns based on certain key unifying policy concerns of Kenyans, in a development that will change the national political landscape.

“Our interest is to have a government with a national face, put structures in place to support good governance, open up the democracy space and save our heritage that includes the national parks,” Salat said.

He emphasized the talks are in the final stages – a clear indication they have agreed on most items – and the main agenda is to ensure the desires of the 2010 Constitution are met, strengthen devolution and increase the representation of women in all structures of governance.

“What you hear about the Super Alliance negotiations is true. We have a common agenda of rebuilding the nation, stopping reckless borrowing and ensuring the country is governed by laws, not individuals,” said Salat.

He added: “Our country is heading in the wrong direction and our priority in the Super Alliance is to rebuild the institutions of government as per the dreams of the new Constitution.”

The talks bring together Mudavadi, Raila, Kalonzo, Wetang’ula and Narc leader Martha Karua.

“It is public knowledge we are working with the Narc leader on the policy and issues levels. She has been in talks with the ODM party leader and I cannot preempt anything. Just know that we are focused on coming up with policies that will enhance transparency and good leadership,” said ODM chairman John Mbadi.

As part of the pre-election plan, the leaders have also agreed to create the positions of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers, as well as support a parliamentary system to cut the Executive’s powers.

They will ensure the number of Cabinet secretaries remains at a maximum of 22, while more resources are channelled into the devolution structure, with close monitoring to avoid the stealing of public resources.

“When they [Jubilee] came to power, they had a manifesto that they have failed to deliver. By the time we make it official that we are working together as an alliance and focus on saving this country from incompetence and corruption, trust me, we will have a strong timeframe of what we want solved during the specific period,” said Salat.

Mombasa Senator Omar Hassan said the new government, if elected, will focus on equity, address historical injustices, solve land issues as well as put up an inclusive edifice.

“Equity is not discrimination but improving the lives of the poor to better and those who are better to be well-of,” said Hassan.

Mbadi said it was too early to disclose the timeframe and other decisive details, but promised the opposition will head to the next elections as a team.

He emphasized that the Super Alliance prioritizes values of equality, social justice, solidarity, sustainable development, gender equality, and democratic security, where the collective interests of Kenyans take precedence over particular personal interests.

He said foremost among its tasks is to deepen the devolved system as the core pillar of creating wealth and quality jobs for the millions of young people who were conned by the Jubilee Government.

“We have covered the ground and one thing we agreed is to head to the next elections as a team to form an inclusive government. Tribalism, nepotism and bad governance have really messed up the country,” Mbadi said.

Mbadi said the leaders have identified the issues to be addressed over the next five years.

-the-star.co.ke

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