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End of Nasa as ODM pulls out of Opposition coalition

By , People Daily Digital
Friday, July 30th, 2021 00:00 | 4 mins read
ODM leader Raila Odinga waves to the crowd when he arrived at yesterday National Executive Committee meeting at a Nairobi hotel. Photo/PD/Kenna Claude

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), the opposition party headed by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, yesterday pulled out of the National Super Alliance (NASA), with a stern warning to its former affiliates that it may rescind its decision to give them a share of the political parties’ cash if they continue disparaging it.

The party’s top organ ratified a decision to pull out of the moribund Nasa, making it the third political grouping to leave the alliance that was Raila’s political vehicle  in the 2017 presidential election.

The other affiliates: Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC) Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) have already ditched the movement.

ODM’s exit effectively marks the death of the alliance. The Nasa coalition agreement stipulates that the alliance ceases to exist if three partners pull out.

“We hold that Nasa is in the past. To further demonstrate this point, ODM NEC has resolved to formally exit the Nasa coalition.

NEC has further deliberated on the future of the party and its need to make new friends,” said ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna in a statement after a meting of the party’s National Executive Council.

The other two affiliates: The squabbling Ford Kenya and Chama Cha Mashinani, are yet to ratify a decision for a divorce, but even if they did the current situation presents a fait accompli.

The move by ODM to sever links with its former partners now leaves members of the affiliates holding key positions in Parliament and county assemblies hanging in the balance.

Currently, Wiper MP Robert Mbui (Kathiani) is the Deputy Minority Leader in the National Assembly while Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni) is the Senate Minority Whip under the Nasa coalition power deal.

Stern warning 

Sources at the ODM NEC meeting told People Daily that the party resolved that should its former partners continue badmouthing them, they would withhold disbursement of funds.

According to the party stalwarts, the funds being shared with the former Nasa affiliates was “an ex-gratia, kindness, magnanimity“ and that ODM is not legally bound to share the proceeds of the political parties fund.

“We have agreed that if they continue to talk badly the way they are doing, we will not disburse any amount to them.

After all, we are not legally bound to share anything with them,” said the source.

Yesterday, Sifuna said the offer to share the money must be seen from the perspective of an ex-gratia payment made in consideration of their long standing relationship and friendship.

Sifuna said that ODM has in the past encouraged its partners to have their claim processed through official channels, “like the office of the Registrar of Political Parties or the courts.”

“For reasons best known to them they declined, instead opting to engage the party leader informally.

Our party leader participated in these talks with utmost good faith and with an eye on settling the matter once and for all to free ODM to fully focus on its future,” Sifuna said.

He added: “The party is dismayed by statements attributed to our former partners that the offer was somehow a vindication of their long running grievance and that the same was made in a desperate attempt to keep them in the coalition. Nothing could be further from the truth.” 

Party leader Raila Odinga who chaired the meeting did not attend the press conference.

On Monday, Raila wrote to Kalonzo, Musalia, Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and Chama Cha Mashinani’s Isaac Ruto, saying his party was willing to share a portion of the cash.

“ODM is appreciative of the constructive consultations that have taken place among leaders of our respective parties.

Our party has deliberated internally and resolved without prejudice, we share with our coalition partners ODMs’ share of the Political Parties Fund attributable to parliamentary and excluding, presidential, gubernatorial and County Assemblies votes for the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20,” said Raila in his letter.

Consequently, ODM will get Sh187.9 million, Wiper Sh70.4 million, (ANC) Sh43.8 million, Ford Kenya Sh36 million while (CCM) will receive Sh3 million as shareable parties fund.

Yesterday, Sifuna said: “The offer to make certain payments to our former partners was made because from a plain reading of the Coalition Agreement, we owe nothing to our partners.”

However, ODM partners have argued before that all money received by the party was shareable equally amongst all parties in the Nasa coalition.

Dismissed their position

Both the Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu and Auditor General Nancy Gathangu have dismissed their position, saying the money ODM receives is purely out of the number of votes received by its candidates in gubernatorial, parliamentary, and civic seats and not the presidential ballots.

ODM chairman John Mbadi explained that the political parties fund received by the party was based on the number of votes cast for ODM candidates in the 2017 elections for the other seats except the presidential votes which was nullified.

“They denied us more votes that would have seen our shareable amounts being high.

For instance, my competitor, a Ford Kenya candidate, got 16,000 votes and I got 21,000 votes. We told them we hold joint nominations they refused,” said Mbadi.

Yesterday, ODM announced its intention to embark on an aggressive programme to build new partnerships with other political players.

“We intend to embark on a programme to build new partnerships and extend ongoing talks with our potential partners to the grassroots.

To this end, regional meetings and engagements have been planned with like-minded parties.

The schedule for these will be shared in due course,” the party said after the NEC meeting.