Nasa troubles a case of ‘normal sibling rivalry’, says Raila
Nasa is not disintegrating, leader Raila Odinga has said, and termed squabbles with his co-principals as reflective of sibling rivalry.
In his remarks to ODM delegates during their meeting on Friday, the orange party leader said the fights he had learned of in the coalition were nothing serious.
“I hear people saying wiper is fighting with ODM, ANC ,Wiper, Ford Kenya … tuko katika ile nyumba ya kienyeji ambapo kuna nyumba mingi. Wakati mwingine wabunge huvurutana … hiyo siyo kuonyesha Nasa inasambaratika (We are in the traditional set up with many houses. Parliamentarians sometimes wrangle … that doesn’t mean Nasa is crumbling).”
Raila added: “Hata pale unapoishi na bibi sio furaha kila siku. Hayo ni maisha na yanaonyesha demokrasia (Even with wives, happiness is not the case every day. Such is life … it shows democracy).”
Raila’s comments came days after a near-implosion of the Opposition coalition, with legislators from three affiliate parties openly telling Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to shape up or ship out.
The Opposition leader’s allies are threatening to kick out the three affiliates from key parliamentary committee leadership positions, accusing them of riding on ODM’s back with “insignificant political capital”.
Raila acknowledged that the coalition’s unity was tested during “one of the toughest elections in Kenya’s history”.
He and his co-principals Kalonzo, Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) opposed the outcome of the August 8, 2017 presidential election and then boycotted the re-run on October 26.
They are now leading a resistance but the government has been keeon on suppressing it.
Cracks widened in Nasa after Kalonzo, Musalia and Wetang’ula skipped Raila’s swearing-in on January 30 after weeks of charging the supporters.
But Raila noted that despite the troubles of the poll, the National Super Alliance emerged victorious and better off than they imagined.
“The elections tested our capacity beyond limits as a party, coalition and a nation. All over the world coalitions are formed either to win elections or to form government,” he said.
“NO TURNING BACK”
The ODM leader emphasised that the campaign against electoral injustice will continue until there is change.
“I thank our partners for a battle well fought. In our case, we made history by living past 2013 and expanding into Nasa to fight into 2017 and beyond,” he said.
“What has gone on since August 8 – the crackdown on media, the Judiciary and Nasa leaders – has left no doubt that dictatorship is raising its head in Kenya. The robber must never be allowed to get away with it.”
Raila further said the stalemate following “sham elections” has made it clear that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party is offering “yesterday’s approaches to today’s problems”.
“Jubilee is offering an old country as something new. The times are tough and uncertain. Tides are rough and high but we agree that there is no turning back. That is why we had to assemble and reboot sooner than later.”
The Opposition boss announced that the coalition will set up a task force to look into the August elections and review nomination rules.
“We are here to get the battle ready. The events of a few months have prepared us.”
Raila said the taskforce will look into the capacity, resources, strengths and weaknesses of the election board.
“This will be done to strengthen and avoid past pitfalls. They should present the report within 90 days,” he said. “We will stop a leadership that is heading to the wilderness from taking Kenyans with them.”
ODM was Kenya’s biggest political party for 10 years but lost the status after the Jubilee’s merger of 11 affiliates into one political machine on September 10, 2016.
There has been a discreet but vigorous push for Raila to scout for new political allies, especially after his co-principals chickened out of his January 30 ‘inauguration’ as the People’s President.