Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and on Wednesday held a private meeting following reports that Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga had been proposed as NASA flag bearer.
The meeting held at Wiper Headquarters in Nairobi brought together the two leaders and their close confidants and advisors as the flag bearer debate threatens to divide the newly-formed coalition.
Last week, a leaked report from NASA’s committee tasked with piecing together the best lineup to face President Uhuru Kenyatta indicated that the committee had agreed on Raila Odinga as the coalition’s presidential candidate with Kalonzo Musyoka as his running mate.
The report also indicated that Mudavadi would be the Chief Minister (equivalent to a Prime Minister) while Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula – another principal – being the Speaker of the National Assembly.
The report has elicited sharp reactions with supporters of Mudavadi in Kakamega County on Monday holding peaceful demonstrations to protest against the recommendations.
The Standard on Wednesday reported that Kalonzo and Mudavadi may be hatching a plot to push Raila Odinga out of the presidential race.
All the coalition leaders (Raila, Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetangula) have expressed interest in running for the top seat.
ANC leaders, led by the party’s Secretary General Godfrey Osotsi have rubbished the recommendations with other leaders claiming they will not accept anything short of a Mudavadi presidency.
The matter was made worse after ODM Secretary General Agnes Zani said though the committee had missed some facts in the leaked report, the recommended lineup was true.
Addressing the press after the meeting with Kalonzo, Mudavadi urged his supporters to disregard the recommendations saying any announcement regarding flag bearer position should come from the principals.
Kalonzo on his part said: “ODM is acting in bad faith by endorsing reports on matters that are still in discussion. We have not settled on a candidate and when we do it, we will be a decision made by all the four principals.”
Siaya Senator James Orengo on his part, moved to claim reports of disunity in the coalition saying they are still on course to picking a candidate.
“There are no cracks in NASA as we are all united on a common course. We will make a public announcement on whether or not we agree on a candidate.”
The twists in a Raila-Kalonzo-Mudavadi lineup are not new are they have been witnessed in past elections.
In 2007, Kalonzo was forced to run alone after Raila refused to support his presidential bid. Raila ran as the presidential candidate with Mudavadi as his running mate on an ODM ticket while Kalonzo ran as the presidential candidate on his ODM Kenya party ticket. They both lost.
In 2013, Mudavadi ditched Raila’s camp after they failed to agree on the mode of picking a presidential candidate. Mudavadi ran for president on a UDF Kenya party ticket while Raila ran ad the presidential candidate with Kalonzo as his running mate. They both lost the elections.
Kalonzo and Mudavadi are now focused on having Raila endorse one of them as the presidential candidate with the other being the running mate.