Thirteen years after the Narc alliance toppled the Kanu regime, the opposition’s proposed National Super Alliance, NASA, has sent shock waves through Jubilee.
A NASA onslaught by all key opposition leaders would complicate President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election strategy. The vaunted mega Jubilee Party already is plagued by squabbling over powerful interim posts and its headquarters is yet to be operational.
There’s strength in numbers and opposition leaders say unity is the best way to galvanise supporters and defeat JP.
The NASA name is so compelling that three applications to reserve the name National Super Alliance have been submitted to the Registrar of Political Parties. This indicates the interest and anxiety the movement has generated.
In 2013, Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto crossed the 50 percent-plus-one threshold by only 4,100 votes.
Musalia Mudavadi’s entry into the opposition fold has left the duo and their think tanks rethinking their master plan, though they don’t say so.
There are reports two Jubilee senators and a Wiper rebel MP are behind one bid to claim the name and and spoil the opposition’s branding, if not its strategy.
Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndungu yesterday told the Star she would give preference to the first application received.
“I have seen the applications but I don’t know whether they are from the opposition. Two applications are by lawyers and one by a citizen,” she said, declining to elaborate.
Secretary general of Mudavadi’s ANC Geoffrey Osotsi declined to say whether it is trying to reserve the name. He emphasised NASA is Mudavadi’s brainchild.
“Everyone, even a small boy, knows the brains behind the super alliance is the Honourable Musalia Mudavadi. So any other person attempting to reserve the name must know it is illegal,” he said in an interview yesterday.
Read: [VIDEO] Raila crafting ‘super alliance’ of opposition
Last week, Mudavadi signaled his intention to team up with Cord co-principals Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya).
They would be joined by Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, Chama Cha Mashinani leader Isaac Rutto and Narc Kenya boss Martha Karua.
Cord CEO Norman Magaya yesterday told the Star the deal could be sealed by December.
“The relationship among all principals is very cordial, all are working aggressively to galvanise the alliance. They consult very regularly and plans are underway to put pen to paper and agree on a campaign plan of action from December to August 2017,” he said.
In 2013, Uhuru won only 6,173,433 votes, against Raila’s 5,340,546. Raila claims the election was stolen.
Mudavadi came third with 483,981 votes.
The expected entry of Gideon Moi and Isaac Ruto into the alliance would eat into Jubilee’s Rift Valley vote bloc.
Political analyst Prof Edward Kisiang’ani of Kenyatta University said the opposition will pose a serious threat to Jubilee if it chooses one flagbearer.
“Yes, they can send Jubilee home if they rally behind one candidate and mobilise their bases to register as voters,” he told the Star yesterday.
Publicly, Jubilee top brass has been rubbishing the opposition as confused, divided and unable to win.
However, Jubilee think tanks are said to be keenly watching to see if the opposition unites.
“Jubilee cannot survive such an alliance,” said ODM secretary of political Affairs Opiyo Wandayi. Jubilee is widely known as a party of only two communities [Kalenjin and Kikuyu]. Jubilee can only win by rigging. At the moment, the numbers clearly show Cord will win.”
However, a super alliance will compound the existing headache: Who should fly the flag? Raila, Wetang’ula and Kalonzo are having difficulty deciding how to choose — all want to run.
Yesterday Uhuru and Ruto’s lieutenants called the anticipated alliance inconsequential and said it would break Cord.
Nominated Senator Martha Wangari and Kieni MP Kanini Kega said an alliance will throw the opposition into further disarray and the standard bearer dilemma will persist.
“The process of getting a flagbearer will be a major challenge. If they have issues now when there are three [Cord co-principals], how about when there are four?” Wangari asked. Leaders of small parties brought on board will want a stake. In any case, we as Jubilee are ready for any eventuality.”
Kega yesterday said formation of a super alliance is “purely to force a run-off”.
It will not have any impact on Jubilee strongholds and the ruling coalition already has eaten into parts of opposition strongholds, such as Coast, Western, South Nyanza and parts of Ukambani, he told the Star.
“Jubilee is a united front ready to face any alliance. In any case, we have been challenging them to form one party. I assure our supporters it will be a good duel. We are not scared. Jubilee has increased its support base,” Kega said.
He dismissed the calculus of a super alliance. “If you look at the total votes we got in the last election and what each Cord principal brought to their table, the arithmetic doesn’t change.”
He predicted fallout among principals with presidential ambitions. “For example, Wetang’ula is not likely to accept Mudavadi as flagbearer. Voters in areas like Nyanza may not turn out, if Raila is not on the ballot. The votes are not transferable,” Kega said.
Mudavadi is considered more influential in Western and there’s a good chance he will bring votes to NASA.
In 2013, Mudavadi garnered 353,864 votes in Western, Kenyatta and Raila got 66,185 and 755,525 votes, respectively.
The opposition received huge backing in the Coast, Nyanza, lower Eastern, Western and Nairobi.