Wiper’s road to bliss made difficult by Nasa’s exit clauses
Anthony Mwangi and Emeka-Mayaka Gekara
What started off as Wiper Party seeking greener pastures in a new coalition has turned into a maze that will either see the National Super Alliance (Nasa) collapse or the Kalonzo Musyoka-led party finding the road to bliss rough.
A clause in the Nasa coalition agreement has been singled out as the toughest hurdle on any possible divorce.
Wiper Party has already kick started the process to leave Nasa but while some coalition partners were quick to point out that it will not be a walk in the park, others said the movement was long dead and only remained in paper.
The argument was that though pulling in different directions, the affiliate parties including Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement, Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress and the Moses Wetang’ula-led Ford Kenya, are joined at the hip by the coalition agreement.
The deal that was signed when the coalition was formed in the run up to the 2017 polls, states that it shall stand dissolved when any three of the parties decide to leave. The alliance has four parties.
“The coalition shall stand dissolved where any three of the coalition parties decide to leave the coalition,” reads Article 15 of the agreement.
Mudavadi yesterday cautioned that for a member of the alliance to walk out, other partners, the Registrar of Political Parties as well as the leadership of the two Houses of Parliament must be notified because of the composition of committees.
“We have heard some of our partners saying they are moving out of Nasa but they have been afraid to evoke the dissolution clause in the agreement.
My hunch is they fear the possible backlash given the support our movement enjoys across the country,” said Mudavadi.
It would be noted that though ODM has declared the alliance “dead” it has never made a formal exit while ANC and Ford Kenya have remained put.
“We settled at three to ensure solidarity and make the alliance difficult to break.
There must be a fundamental reason and one must build a strong consensus of three parties to agree to dissolve or walk out of the movement,” Mudavadi told People Daily.
At the centre of the conflict is the sharing the Sh4.1 billion windfall from the Political Parties Fund, prompting the Treasury to hold onto the money.
Raila’s ODM which was awarded the billions by the Court of Appeal has maintained that it does not owe Wiper, ANC, and Ford Kenya a cent.
Yesterday, ODM officials stressed that the party was no longer bound by the Nasa coalition.
Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said Nasa died on January 21, 2018 when Raila took oath as the “people’s President.”
“It can exist on a piece of paper but the reality on the ground is different. Which organ of the coalition is working?
How can you be alive if your lungs, brains and heart are dead?” posed Sifuna.
He said the partners used the coalition to distribute positions in the National Assembly because “Parliament recognises the coalition.”
“ODM is Nasa. We are the owners of the coalition. Those who want to move out can move out.
A man does not abandon his house after they have differed with his wife,” he told People Daily.
“It is not true that we are in Nasa because of the political parties’ money. The money doesn’t go to the coalition. It is channeled to individual political parties,” he said.
Party Political Affairs Director Opiyo Wandayi said ODM’s co-operation with the Jubilee party cannot be binding since it does not exist in law.
According to Wandayi, the partners in Nasa cannot hide under the issue of oversight to claim that those cooperating with Jubilee had abandoned their roles.
“Under the parliamentary system, checking on the government is the role of Parliament both those in the majority and those in the minority side.
It’s not the singular role of one side to oversight,” Wandayi explained.
He adds: “In case the coalition is dissolved, ODM will remain the Minority party in parliament owing to its strength in terms of numbers.
We are second in terms of numbers after Jubilee party which confirms us as the Minority side.”
He challenged Wiper Party to make good its threat and cross the floor. It will be until then that the legal effect of the coalition agreement will be felt, he said.
But Ford Kenya through its Secretary-General Chris Wamalwa wants the Nasa coalition dissolved since its three of its members have formally disassociated with it.
According to Wamalwa, ODM has officially left the coalition and is working with the government as is Wiper Party while ANC has indicated that it is not willing to stay.
“You cannot have your cake and eat it, you cannot be in government and be expected to oversight it. This is the highest degree of greed,” Wamalwa, who is the MP for Kiminini, said.
On the sharing of the money from the exchequer, Wamalwa defended his party’s position saying the Sh4 billion is proceeds from previous elections.
“It is clear that the money from the Political Parties Fund is for the last elections when the coalition was intact and hence cannot be used to argue a case of a future exercise,” Wamalwa said.
Debate on the coalition, on Tuesday, took a different turn after Wiper Party said it is going ahead to formalise a coalition agreement with Jubilee party following the realisation that Nasa had become dysfunctional.
Judith Sijeny, the secretary general, said the National Executive Council (NEC) had resolved that the party enters into a Coalition Agreement with the ruling party, Jubilee, in line with the emerging political realignments in the country.
The NEC also resolved that a Special National Delegates Conference be convened as soon as possible to ratify the NEC resolution concerning the envisaged coalition with Jubilee.
But the move to decamp from Nasa comes with consequences as it means the party will lose all positions held in Parliament under the coalition banner.
Wiper holds the position of the Deputy Minority Whip, Senate, (Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr) while in the National Assembly, Robert Mbui (Kathiani) is the deputy Minority leader, Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu is the vice chair of the Public Accounts Committee, while Kennedy Kalonzo is a member of East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA).
Asked whether the party was aware of the consequences as a result of walking out of Nasa, Sijenyi said: “We have weighed all the options and as a party we have chosen the ruling party way.”
Yesterday, Mudavadi explained that Wiper cannot be party to two coalition agreements a fact that Sijeny concurs with.
“For them to join Jubilee, they must demonstrate to the Registrar of Political Parties that the existing Nasa coalition is invalid.
Kanu signed its agreement with Jubilee because it had no existing coalition,” said the former the Vice President.