President summons former Nasa leaders to Mombasa with the hope of crafting an alliance

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 00:00 |
From left: Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi and former UNCTAD secretary-general Mukhisa Kituyi at a Nairobi hotel where they addressed a media briefing. Photo/PD/Kenna Claude

Emeka-Mayaka Gekara and Kepher Otieno

Former National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders trooped to Mombasa yesterday evening for talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta shortly after holding separate meetings in Nakuru county where they punctuated their speeches with high-octane mind games.

While ODM leader Raila Odinga led his foot soldiers to Nakuru town where he kicked off a journey to create a mass movement, the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) quartet of Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula and Gideon Moi were in Naivasha where they issued a declaration that they will field a presidential candidate in the 2022 General Election.

Uhuru’s Jubilee Party held a meeting of its top organs, which ratified a decision for formation of a coalition with ODM even as it opened its windows for Wiper Party of Kalonzo, the Wetengula-led Ford Kenya, Mudavadi’s ANC and Kanu, which is chaired by Gideon which are working together under the OKA umbrella.

In a move which appeared targeted at sizing up each other, a Raila address to the nation that was scheduled for 11am was rescheduled to 2pm while an OKA press conference initially set for midday was moved to 3pm.

Two groups met a week after their Mombasa meeting with the President, where they were told to unite and back Raila for the presidency with Kalonzo, Musalia and Wetang’ula said to have rejected the offer.

Uhuru is said to have advised them to consult further and report their discussions with him. 

In an interview with the People Daily, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who attended the August 10 Mombasa State House talks, said they had been summoned to another meeting with the Head of State.

“It is true we are headed into another meeting in Mombasa to advance discussions on our unity.

The President is determined to see us work together,’’ said Oparanya.

Time to retreat

Oparanya said Uhuru wanted OKA and Raila teams to agree to field a single presidential candidate of their own volition.

Oparanya said after the first round of talks, Uhuru gave them time to retreat and discuss how each side can strike a consensus and return to Mombasa with resolutions.

“That is why we are going to meet the President in Mombasa again, after our meeting in Nakuru to state our position,’’ the kakamega governor said.

Addressing the press in Naivasha yesterday after a two-day retreat with their troops, the OKA Four maintained their stance that the alliance will field a presidential flag-bearer, effectively ruling out the possibility of backing Raila, while the Nakuru gathering maintained that the Orange party chief will be their candidate in the 2022 General Election.

The meetings were an indication the leaders go to the second round of Mombasa talks still split, with eyes trained on Uhuru to unlock the stalemate even as he works behind the scenes to determine his successor.

“As the “Great Rift VAlley Declaration,” we hereby unequivocally state that One Kenya Alliance will field a presidential candidate in next year’s General Election. And the candidate is here,” said the OKA leaders in a statement.

Earlier in Nakuru, Raila launched his Azimio La Umoja movement saying it was meant to unite Kenyans in a well-choreographed meeting with speakers pitching for Mt Kenya residents to back him.

“The journey towards a mass movement that we set on today aims to bring on board Kenyans of good will, citizens, leaders, movements, social formations and institutions dedicated to advancing people centred and democratic governance,” said Raila.

The ODM leader, who was hosted by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, was accompanied by a host of leaders led by Oparanya, National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed, John Mbadi (Suba) and Homa Bay Women Rep Gladys Wanga.

Others at the event included former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, governors Ann Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Ndiritu Murithi (Laikipia), Nominated MP Maina Kamanda as well Nakuru Town West Samuel Arama.

Forge an alliance

Odinga said the Azimio La Umoja caravan will head to Nyanza tomorrow where he will meet leaders in Homa Bay before heading to the Coast region; Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Bomet, Kericho, Garissa, and Mt Kenya where he will present his road map to Kenyans.

In a similar development, a section of party leaders from Mt Kenya led by Martha Karua (Narc-Kenya), Mwangi Kiunjuri (The Service Party) and Moses Kuria (Chama Cha Kazi) met in Thika during which they declared they will forge an alliance with like-minded outfits especially in Mt Kenya as they seek to chart the way forward for the region.

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