ODM leader Raila Odinga and Wiper party boss Kalonzo Musyoka have finally parted ways, ending an eight-year long political dalliance that saw them run for the presidency twice on a joint ticket.
Not even a last-minute attempt by Mr Odinga notifying Wiper yesterday that ODM had conceded to the request to share out political parties’ funds could salvage the situation. The impasse over sharing of cash is among the reasons that soured relations between the Orange party and its National Super Alliance partners.
Mr Odinga’s letter was dispatched as the Wiper meeting got underway but members defied ODM overtures and resolved to withdraw Wiper from Nasa.
Once the resolution is communicated to the registrar of political parties, Wiper will pull out of the coalition. The party is banking on similar resolutions by Ford-Kenya and Amani National Congress that would effectively dissolve Nasa.
Mr Musyoka has been Mr Odinga’s running mate in 2013 (Coalition for Reforms and Democracy) and 2017 (Nasa) polls, in both cases losing to Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
But this political alliance yesterday came to an end after Wiper party’s top decision making organ, National Executive Committee, unanimously voted to pull out of Nasa and forge a new coalition, the One Kenya Alliance (OKA).
“We’ve unanimously taken the decision to exit Nasa and join OKA, which will form the next government,” Mr Musyoka said, referring to the coalition they are forming with Mr Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC, Ford-Kenya of Mr Moses Wetang’ula and Mr Gideon Moi’s Kanu.
“In making this decision, we have no hard feelings and we are sure and ready to move towards that direction,” he added.
Wiper becomes the second party to move out of Nasa after the ANC council also resolved last Thursday to exit the coalition.
Ford-Kenya is yet to convene a party meeting because it’s engulfed in leadership wrangles with a faction allied to secretary-general Eseli Simiyu arguing the Wetang’ula camp has no legal mandate to commit the party to such decisions.
For Nasa to stand dissolved, which is what the three estranged ODM partners want, three parties must pull out, which leaves Wiper and ANC looking up to Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM), whose leader, former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, has since joined the Ruto camp.
For Kanu to begin formal talks on OKA, it must also revoke a post-poll coalition deal with the ruling Jubilee party, but its officials appear reluctant to do so.
As Wiper members ratified their party’s exit from Nasa, sources, however, indicate that the party didn’t rule out working with ODM again, on condition that the Orange party backs the former vice-president for the top seat.
Sources who attended the meeting told the Nation that Wiper MPs were of the view that withdrawal from Nasa would hand their party a stronger bargaining platform, even with ODM.
“Staying in Nasa would have meant we continue playing second fiddle,” an MP said. Wiper members want their party leader to be the OKA presidential flag bearer. We’re not going to negotiate for anything less than the presidency.
“Even when we were at State House, the President said he (Kalonzo) is fit and we’re going to negotiate for that. Nothing less,” said a senator . Another member added: “Raila needs us as much as we need him. He (Raila) has a voice in this country.”
Mr Odinga is reported to have held numerous talks with Mr Musyoka prior to yesterday’s Wiper NEC meeting. To demonstrate the determination to resolve the cash dispute in Nasa, Mr Odinga dispatched a letter to Wiper party during the meeting.
The Orange Democratic Movement is appreciative of the constructive consultations that have taken place among leaders of our respective parties, consequently thereto, our party has deliberated internally and resolved that we share with our coalition partners... monies from political parties fund attributable to (parliamentary, gubernatorial and county assemblies) votes for the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/2020.
“It is our sincere hope that this would bring closure to the unhealthy exchange of words that has attended this matter,” stated the letter signed by Mr Odinga.
Received the letter
Mr Musyoka lauded Mr Odinga for the gesture, saying, it was a genuine attempt by the ODM leader to resolve the issues in Nasa.
“We appreciate Raila’s move. We’ve received the letter and filed it. These are monies from the consolidated funds and I knew there were extremists from ODM who didn’t want to share these monies,” Mr Musyoka said.
Addressing the media later, Mr Musyoka said they were still open for talks with ODM even as he maintained the party is not ready to play second fiddle to anybody. “We are going to ask for number one and nothing
Part of the frictions in Nasa have been demands by the three other parties that ODM honours an agreement to back a presidential candidate from them.
“This decision is not a divorce with our partners but we’re actually opening our arms for anything. The idea of Cord served its purpose, Nasa also served its time,” Mr Musyoka said.