A close ally of National Super Alliance (NASA) co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka has opened fresh debate as to whether the coalition is falling apart following Raila Odinga’s swearing-in on January 30.
Wiper deputy party leader Farah Maalim has painted a picture of major cracks within the coalition.
Mr Maalim claimed Kalonzo, Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula and Amani National Congress (ANC) boss Musalia Mudavadi could be looking for a new political outfit as they strategise for 2022 elections.
Maalim, while speaking on KTN on Sunday, further said Kalonzo would not take oath as the “people’s deputy president” as earlier promised by the coalition.
“I don’t see Kalonzo being sworn in… It is a pity… I would have loved if he (Kalonzo) had taken a firm position from the word go and said, ‘sorry I am a lawyer I don’t want to do this’,” said Maalim.
The former deputy speaker said it was Raila who insisted on the unofficial oath, a stand the other three were against.
The trio skipped the event, raising queries about their unity.
“All along, Kalonzo, Wetang’ula and Mudavadai were opposed to the idea of a swearing-in ceremony,” he said.
“I don’t see NASA surviving beyond that swearing-in. I also see Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula coming together and reaching out to Mt Kenya region. Politics has just started,” he added.
Wiper vice chairman Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, who is also the Makueni Senator, however, dismissed the claims as personal opinion.
Mutula, however, could not confirm whether there are preparations to have Kalonzo take the oath, stating that he is not in the committee that organised Raila’s oath.
“I am not aware of any decision by the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) on this issue,” he said in response to Maalim’s remarks that Kalonzo would not take the oath.
Musalia’s spokesperson Kibisu Kabatesi dismissed the break-up claims, stating that the Uhuru Park event should not be used as benchmark for unity among the four leaders.
“NASA is bigger than a single event and people should know that we are moving forward to other strategies,” said Kabatesi.
He cautioned NASA MPs against revisiting the matter as it could be used by Jubilee to sow seeds of discord in the Opposition coalition.
“Jubilee will be happy to cannibalise NASA if we continue discussing this stale event. It will be easy for Jubilee to infiltrate NASA and plant seeds of mistrust with this kind of back and forth discussion on who attended the event or not,” he added.
But Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala insisted that Kalonzo must take the oath or else the coalition stops engaging him.
“We are insisting that he must be sworn in or we stop engaging him as a member of the coalition. We have started doubting his commitment and his body language shows he is not interested in taking the oath,” said Malala.
Mudavadi and Wetang’ula are believed to have launched a strategy to mitigate the backlash from their stronghold after they skipped the swearing-in.
The duo are believed to have sent their close lieutenants to a retreat in Naivasha last week, where they agreed to come up with a strategy to counter a growing perception among their supporters that they abandoned Raila at the time of need.
A source who sought anonymity said the meeting resolved to take the political war back to Raila’s doorstep, and paint a picture that it was Raila who decided to swear himself in, despite an agreement by the principals that they shelve the plan to another date.
Ford Kenya deputy party leader and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale led a 10-member team to the retreat last Thursday to receive a report by the special technical team advising Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress (ANC) on the recent events in NASA hitherto unknown to public.
They are said to have questioned why Kalonzo was denied an opportunity to see a copy of the oath he was supposed to take alongside Raila.
“How could he be expected, as a lawyer, to take a blind oath that he had not seen? Why was Musalia called on a Nigerian telephone number by Raila and told not to go to Uhuru Park and asked to move to a certain rendezvous if he was in fact expected to be at Uhuru Park? Why was Wetang’ula asked to join Kalonzo and wait for Raila?” the team leader posed.