NASA governors misgivings with Raila game plan
As NASA plans a civil disobedience hurricane, opposition governors express fear that demonstrations and turmoil will hurt their counties.
NASA leader Raila Odinga depends on18 opposition governors, including 16 from ODM, to support his indefinite drive for fresh presidential elections and an overhaul of the governance system.
Opposition governors, who met Raila and NASA principals on Thursday, are understood to have expressed apprehension about the economic harm that will be inflicted by protracted demonstrations.
Earlier protests, they say, had lowered revenue collection as most businesses closed whenever demonstrations were held and the call for further demos would inflict more damage.
“I personally support our presidential candidate but it is true the coalition’s planned protests could deny counties a business-friendly environment to collect taxes,” a Nyanza governor told the Star. He asked for anonymity for fear of reprisal.
“We were categorical we will walk together on this as we hope arrangements will be made to ensure businesses are not disrupted and our operations are not affected,” he said.
NASA plans to educate supporters and employ monitors to ensure all protests are peaceful and orderly.
The governors concerns emerged on the day NASA’s National Resistance Movement asked supporters to boycott products from three companies the opposition accuses of colluding with the IEBC and Jubilee Party to rig the two elections, which Raila lost to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
They are East and Central Africa’s most profitable company, Safaricom, together with Bidco Africa and dairy company Brookside associated with the Kenyatta family.
Bidco produces cooking oils Golden Fry, Eliantra, Mallo, Bahari and CowBoy. Its detergents are Gental, Nuru, Soap Flakes and Power Boy.
Brookside produces a range of dairy products, including Ilara and Tuzo Milk, as well as butter, yoghurt and other product
DP William Ruto dismissed the boycott call, terming it extortion.
“As GoK we ask all companies to continue to partner with Kenyans, pay taxes only to KRA and reject the extortion scheme-styled “e-boycott,” the DP said on Twitter.
“As GoK, we advise Bidco to reject extortion and continue its Sh20 billion expansion programme that will increase to 12,500 Kenyans working there.”
That companies have to ‘donate’ to a supreme to avoid listen in the brazen and bizarre extortion racket — styled ‘economic boycott’? Criminal!” Ruto tweeted.
Earlier NASA protests have caused major property destruction and looting. Police have quelled violence demonstrations in which protesters were shot to death.
Counties desperately need local business revenue and they want to attract investors likely to be scared off by protests.
Last month Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o asked protesters to be peaceful and not disrupt business.
“Carry twigs, shout slogans and let people know you are disgusted but do not destroy any property like the roads. It may serve the interest of the moment but later the government pays for it expensively,” Nyongo said.
NASA CEO Norman Magaya on Thursday made no mention of governors’ reservations regarding civil disobedience and boycotts.
Several governors told the Star they had expressed strong reservations and asked NASA strategists to consider the economic impact of their ‘liberation struggle’.
“NASA Governors today (Thursday) approved the coalition’s plan to set up a People’s Assembly and initiate review of the Constitution, particularly to safeguard and strengthen devolution in line with the pronouncement by principals earlier this week,” Magaya said.
Violent protests would mean businesses close and car parks would be empty as motorists wouldn’t venture into town.
Counties would feel the pain of non-collection of taxes, hurting government operations.Local revenue is essential as the Treasury has delayed disbursing funds.
In the 2016-17, counties generated Sh24.71 billion — 41.4 per cent of the Sh59.71 billion annual local revenue target.
They have projected to raise more than Sh60 billion this year.
But NASA is drawing up a liberation roadmap and action plan for political change and an uprising against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Star has established the governors were asked to take charge of People’s Assemblies in their counties — a big task.
A technical team led by economist David Ndii is working on a memorandum to be submitted to county government for endorsement before they tabled before MCAs for approval. A bill will provide the legal framework for local assemblies.
The People’s Assemblies, the National People’s Assembly and the NRM will be the opposition’s key initiatives in what they call a broad-based civil uprising against Uhuru’s administration.
The People’s Assembly will be launched at a One-Million-Man march in Nairobi in early December, after the KCSE examinations.
Each NASA MP has been asked to ferry at least 3,000 supporters to Nairobi for the opposition convention.
Yesterday, political analyst Barack Muluka said what NASA is pushing as a People’s Assembly is akin to what was the face of Kenya in the 1980s and early 1990s.
He described a possible popular uprising “a hurricane” that could sweep Kenya away “if those in power do not listen to popular power”.
Muluka told the Star that the concept has been applied in other jurisdictions like the US, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Philippines to press for changes from unwilling governments.
“In some cases, the power of the day recognised a wind of change was blowing and they cooperated and managed the change,” Muluka said.
The opposition wants protests as non-violent as possible. It’s training team leaders to head demonstrations in major towns and cities, as well as protest marshals to ensure order.