More than 4,000 opposition leaders will on Wednesday make what they regard as the biggest declaration of political unity in their bid to defeat President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August General Election.
Opposition political outfits will bring together all their elected leaders and aspirants under the National Super Alliance (Nasa) during a meeting that will be their first manifestation of a united front.
The leaders have said that the alliance will be akin to the 2002 National Rainbow Alliance (Narc) that swept President Daniel arap Moi out of power.
“The Bomas meeting will be the greatest symbol of a united opposition with a strong presidential candidate. There will be an advancement of talks to add other players to the opposition fold,” said Ford Kenya deputy party leader Boni Khalwale.
Dr Khalwale, who is also the Kakamega Senator, added: “We are going to find a solution to a headstrong Jubilee government that is forcing down the throats of Kenyans all manner of bad laws”.
The alliance has been fronted by Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and supported by Cord’s Raila Odinga.
Those expected at Wednesday’s meeting are leaders from Mr Odinga’s ODM, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Party, Mr Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford-K, Mr Mudavadi’s ANC, and Mr Gideon Moi’s Kanu.
The meeting will also take a stand on the controversial laws signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday evening and that allow the electoral commission to turn to a “complementary mechanism” in case the electronic mode of identifying voters and transmitting results fails.
“This meeting is key for the opposition unity to brainstorm and develop strategies that will guarantee a credible election,” said Mr Mudavadi at his party headquarters in Lavington, Nairobi.
He added: “We must work together as the Opposition. We should not come together for constitutional problems only. We genuinely believe some issues have not been managed well”.
On Monday, Cord management committee co-chairmen James Orengo and Eseli Simiyu, as well as ANC’s John Sakwa Bunyasi, inspected the Bomas of Kenya venue and promised what they said was a coalition that would be impossible to defeat in 2017.
“For about six months, we have been speaking about opposition unity. On Wednesday, we are going to take a stand once and for all with a view to beating President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017,” said Mr Orengo, who is also the Siaya Senator.
On Tuesday, Dr Simiyu said Jubilee’s goose was already cooked and they should start packing.
“Once the Opposition is united, Jubilee has no chance at all. That is why some people are working to ensure that opposition unity does not happen,” Dr Simiyu said in an opinion piece.
He added: “But Kenya is ready for change. It has been for a long time now. We are, therefore, getting together to work towards a message that will resonate with majority of Kenyans”.
Kanu leaders, who had been seen to have developed cold feet towards the alliance, on Tuesday said they were in the talks fully and will be represented at the Bomas meeting.
“We are going to be there. We are fully committed to talks on opposition unity and to take a stand on the bad electoral laws signed by President Kenyatta,” party secretary-general Nick Salat told the Nation.
Mr Mudavadi denied that the opposition team from western Kenya was divided following his appointment by trade unionist Francis Atwoli as the region’s political spokesman, opposed by Mr Wetang’ula and Dr Khalwale.
“It’s not a meeting of tribes. We are not going there as Luhyas, but as people who will be representing a political party,” said Mr Mudavadi.
But National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale dismissed the opposition’s renewed vigour, saying it would die down soon. “There is no one new in that Nasa line-up. Who have they added that we did not defeat in 2013? As Jubilee, we are ready and our team is intact and we will defeat any form of opposition unity that comes,” he said in an earlier interview.
- Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi (right) and former Agriculture Minister Kipruto arap Kirwa at the party’s office in Nairobi on January 10, 2017.