African Press International (API)

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Fear for a fallout in NASA

Posted by African Press International on June 3, 2017

By Dickens Wasonga.

Raila Odinga, the NASA presidential flag bearer has asked all ODM aspirants who lost the party’s primaries to rally behind their opponents who clinched the ticket so that his team can have time to concentrate on the national campaigns for the alliance .

Addressing a consultative meeting convened in Kisumu last Friday in a bid to mend fences amongst the aspirants who went through a fierce political competition to clinch the party ticket, Raila noted that the challenges experienced during the primaries were due to the fact that political parties still lacks the capacity to handle the exercise.

" We know there were challenges here and there but this is because our parties operate with limited resources, with staff not adequately trained to conduct such exercises and within a hostile environment. And this wasn’t a challenge only for our party " Raila said .

The NASA flag bearer reminded those who have been criticizing the party that even jubilee had never attempted to conduct party primaries adding that in 2013 ,their main opponents merely hand-picked candidates to run either in URP and TNA.

"When they tried it this time, you saw what happened. And they are the ones who changed laws in Parliament using their strength in the house which saw the political parties registrar and IEBC given the power to micromanage the parties. The time set for nominations was too short and our attempts to conduct the primaries earlier were blocked by IEBC." Said Raila.

He thanked those who failed to clinch the party’s ticket but chose to remain in the party and reiterated his earlier position that NASA will not support independent candidates .

" Our strength will be based on numbers we manage to get as NASA, both in the national Assembly and the Senate." Said Raila.

He took the meeting through the process in which parties like Labour party in Britain picks their candidates to avoid unnecessary fallout that only serves to weaken parties before the polls.

" Even the labour party only select Its nominees. The process is vigorous and only involve registered party members. To be a member of Labour party is not easy let alone being endorsed to run as it’s candidate. You become a member only after being introduced by an existing member of the party and to run u face a committee that vets all potential candidates. Most often the party select it’s nominee and where there’s no consensus, interviews are done. So nominations are selection, not election " he added.

He however hit out at Jubilee government on the extension of SGR project to Naivasha insisting that this was only a ploy by the team to enrich an individual family that owns land in the Town.

" Naivasha doesn’t have any airport, it doesn’t have any port, and this whole scheme is calculated to benefit a family who owns land there. The Town doesn’t meet requirements that makes it economic zone. The want to kill the Mombasa port, and ensure people buy land to build warehouses which we know is owned by one family " he claimed.

He said NASA has a comprehensive plan to turn around the economy of the country and it will launch it’s manifesto on the 19th of this month and asked Kenyans to support them.

NASA plans to have five polling agents in all the polling stations countrywide who they say will ensure the vote is protected. They’ve also picked regional coordinators in every county. In Nyanza alone ,they expect to mobilize 1.8 million votes and Raila said their ten million strong was not just an empty slogan but was based on evidence.

Speaking earlier at the same event Siaya Senator James Orengo said Parliament now plays pivotal role in deciding who is picked to be in government including vetting the cabinet secretaries, ambassadors, chief justice, and therefore appointment by the executive can be frustrated by Parliament if you don’t have the numbers.

Orengo also said a committee of Parliament can also impeach a sitting President.

" The president is impeachable. Besides , committees of Parliament are instituted based on the numbers of MPs winning on a party ticket . We’re a parliamentary democracy and this makes parties very key, that’s why we need more people on our ticket. " Said Orengo.

Immediate former TNA Secretary General Onyango Oloo proposed that all the Governors in the party reserve 30% of jobs to accommodate those who lost their bids but remained to support the party.

John Mbadi was categorical that NASA will not change its position over demands that IEBC returning officers declare Presidential results at the constituency, adding that an officer sitting in Nairobi cannot pretend to verify what they didn’t witness on the ground.

Other notable speakers including Gladys Wanga who is the women County representative for Homa bay called for forgiveness where party primaries were not fair but was quick to urge those in the party to now embrace each other and focus on the national campaign.

Most MPs who spoke at the event criticized President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto for snubbing Raila at the madaraka day celebrations in Nyeri last week.

" They have panicked. Uhuru behaved as a tribal chauvinist by ignoring Raila during the national fete. This was a national function, not a jubilee forum to be used to enumerate what they claim to have archieved.They used the occasion only to drum up support for the party which was wrong " Mbadi said.

As strategy to win this elections both NASA and jubilee engaged in intense voter mobilization in the just concluded voter listing in their backyard.

In Nyanza mobilized 456,621 voters to register in Siaya County, 555,405 in Kisumu, 477,221 in Homa bay and 388,967 in Migori, giving them a total of 1.8 million plus votes in the four Luo Nyanza counties alone.

The leaders are now focusing on ensuring that the registered voters turn out to vote on the polling day. According to Raila the voter turnout in their zones was 84% and jubilee had 95%.

He said NASA affiliate parties will be free to field candidates in NASA zones ,terming the encounter as a friendly fire but the alliance will identify only a popular candidate from any of its affiliates to battle with the other opponents in areas perceived to be a battle ground between it and jubilee.

"We don’t want to take that route that saw us lose some constituencies like Makadara, Embakasi West and Mathare in 2013 where our candidates had to split the votes giving our opponents advantage. " said Raila.

Ends

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