Talk of ‘poaching’ emerges as fights in Nasa flare out

Thursday November 30 2017

National Assembly majority leader Aden Duale.

National Assembly majority leader Aden Duale. He has said Jubilee Party, which is headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, is reaching out to all leaders in a bid to unite and reconcile the country. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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The Jubilee leadership is torn between negotiating with the Opposition to restore national unity or taking advantage of rivalries between Nasa constituent parties to dismember it.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said Jubilee Party, which is headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, is reaching out to all leaders in a bid to unite and reconcile the country after the long and protracted electioneering.

SPLIT

“Jubilee Party will reach out to like-minded leaders across the country, Nasa being one of them, to unite the country after the deeply divisive elections,” Mr Duale told the Nation by phone Thursday.

However, there was also talk of Jubilee capitalising on disagreements in the National Super Alliance coalition, which is led by President Kenyatta’s arch-rival Raila Odinga, over the sharing of parliamentary jobs to split the Opposition.

There are complaints by Coast MPs after the job of Minority Chief Whip went to Suna East MP Junet Mohamed of Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) rather than to a coastal lawmaker as in the last Parliament.

Also complaining are Amani National Congress MPs, who accuse Nasa of short-changing them in the distribution of positions.

ANC is lead by former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, who is also a Nasa co-principal.

WIPER

Other Nasa affiliates include Wiper Movement, led by former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula-led Ford-Kenya.

Both party chiefs are also Nasa co-principals with the former having been Mr Odinga’s running mate in this year’s presidential election.

“There is talk internally that the Nasa coalition should be split with Wiper, ANC and Ford-Kenya going on their own,” said a top Jubilee member who requested anonymity. “There are also suggestions to bring Coast MPs to our side.”

On the President’s inauguration pledge to unite the country, Mr Duale said: “The President will initiate talks to build a cohesive nation and reconcile differences that have been there, ensure national stability and pave the way for Jubilee to plan for 2022.”

The Garissa Township MP however denied that there was a plot to split the Opposition. He said: “We have no intention of weakening the Opposition. We want a vibrant Opposition so that we can take on each other on issues that will make this country grow.”

Religious leaders and foreign countries have urged President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga to cast aside their differences and hold talks to reconcile and unite the nation.

UNEASE

The unease over fears of infiltration by Jubilee is already evident in the row between ANC chairman Kevin Lunani and Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi, who was last month replaced by Mr Barrack Muluka as secretary-general.

Mr Lunani on Thursday sent a statement through Mr Mudavadi’s press secretary Kibisu Kabatesi accusing Mr Osotsi of doing Jubilee’s bidding from within ANC.

“The plot to destabilise ANC has wider sinister promptings from Jubilee mandarins, who desire to deny our party leader Mudavadi of a political vehicle for 2022,” said Mr Lunani in the statement. “The script has all the hallmarks of how Jubilee caused instability in UDF after the 2013 elections.”

However, Mr Duale dismissed the allegations against Jubilee, arguing that Nasa was facing problems of poor leadership in Parliament.

“Nasa has fallen because of the leadership of the House and it’s very common with an Opposition, particularly coming soon after they lose an election,” said Mr Duale. “There is always pull and push because, for the next five years, they have to manage succession.

“The Opposition will have issues to address on their 2022 succession. We are not involved. We have no business with them.”

After the 2013 polls, Mr Mudavadi was de-listed from the party, thrown out and rendered partyless until he recovered to form ANC.

DEFAMATORY

The ANC official also accused Mr Osotsi of having not accounted for party funds after he left his seat.

But Mr Osotsi quickly hit back, saying the statement attributed to Mr Lunani was the handiwork of Mr Kabatesi and was “nonsense and defamatory”.

Said Mr Osotsi in Parliament: “It was Kibisu Kabatesi’s statement as an individual. He is not an official of ANC. I have the e-mails he sent to the media and I know he used Lunani’s name.

“I have sent those statements to my lawyers for a defamation case against Kabatesi.”

He asked Mr Kabatesi to “stop using the name of the party and Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi to propagate hate and division in the party.”

He added: “I know he is sulking because he missed out on the party list for nomination and even his adventure to become Vihiga County secretary and lately ANC’s Eala nominee. I’m not an employment bureau to give him a job.”

TITLE DEEDS

The MP alleged attempts to use him as a sacrificial lamb, adding that he had been the secretary-general of Mr Mudavadi’s party for a long time and his loyalty was well known.

On Wednesday, Deputy President William Ruto shared on his social media pages pictures of him hosting Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba at his Karen home, a visit seen by many as the beginning of a political “poaching” journey.

The DP, however, said their talks focused on issuance of title deeds to residents, relocating government facilities to allow expansion of Kitale town and the improvement of health infrastructure.

Mr Khaemba’s visit came just a day after ODM vice-chairman and Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok attended the swearing-in of President Kenyatta on the same day Mr Odinga had a prayer rally at Jacaranda Grounds in Eastlands.

And although he was introduced as having led 29 other county chiefs as the Council of Governors chairman, Mr Nanok’s presence sent tongues wagging.


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