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Why dissolving Nasa outfit is futile exercise

Friday, July 16th, 2021 00:00 | By
Nasa leaders during the Peoples Assembly Lower Eastern Chapter held at Machakos Bus Park in 2017. Photo/PD/File

The fear by the three parties allied to the National Super Alliance (Nasa) that their members would automatically lose their leadership positions in Parliament, has frightened them from folding up the coalition.

As the push and pull in Nasa continued, it has emerged that any move by the three parties oscillating around One Kenya Alliance (OKA) to legally dissolve the moribund outfit, would automatically hand their partner, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) the coveted position of minority party in Parliament.

All members of the three parties: Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya and Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Party would have to relinquish all the leadership positions in Parliament that they hold courtesy of Nasa.

In addition, the parties’ MPs would also have to cease being members of various parliamentary committees, which would be taken over by their ODM counterparts.

Issue threats

Renegade ANC nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo junior warned that the consequences of the three parties actualising the threats to dissolve the coalition are more severe than the actual words.

“All they are doing at the moment is to issue threats in order to heighten their stakes and remain politically relevant as they try to isolate ODM leader Raila Odinga.

But the truth of the matter is that they cannot dare make such a move at the time,” Osotsi stated.

On the other hand, Mutula Jnr warned: “It is a tricky path that we must tread carefully. There are consequences for us to disband Nasa.”

According to Osotsi, a position that was also shared by ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, withdrawal from the coalition by the three parties would render them irrelevant on the political scene as they would lose the threshold of being parliamentary parties.

The constitution and parliamentary standing orders require a political party to have at least five per cent of the total membership of the whole house for its members to be considered into committees. In this case, a party is required to have at least 17 members in the National Assembly and four in the Senate.

ANC has 14 members in the National Assembly and three in the Senate while Wetangula’s has one member (himself) in the Senate and 12 in the National Assembly, effectively denying them a threshold to have membership in committees.

Kalonzo’s Wiper with 19 MPs in the National Assembly meets the threshold for her members to be included in committees but misses out in the Senate where it only has 3 members.

Ironically, ODM meets the threshold in both the National Assembly and the Senate, making it possible to serve as a minority party on its own without necessarily looking for a coalition partner.

“The House Standing Orders are very clear that should Ford Kenya, ANC and Wiper actualise the threats, they will lose all the house leadership positions as well as their membership to committees. This will automatically hand the positions to ODM,” Osotsi observed.

Mudavadi, without giving specifics on the actual timelines of the dissolution, insisted that Nasa was dead.

“Nasa died due to a trust deficit. Our main partner breached the trust bestowed them. At the moment, we have concentrated our efforts on building OKA,”he said in a radio interview.

Mudavadi blamed ODM for dishonouring all the agreements it made with her Nasa partners, including the pledge not to present a presidential candidate in 2022 and sharing of political parties’ funds.

He also accused ODM of lacking respect for other coalition partners whom it treats as junior associates. ANC deputy party leader and Lugari MP Ayub Savula disclosed that they would only move out of the 2017 coalition at the end of the term of the current parliament contrary to the heightened narrative that NASA is dead.

“It is all agreed that Nasa is dead, but it still exists on paper as a legal document. We are not moving out any time soon because the consequences are dire for our MPs in parliament. We can’t risk that,” Savula, whose party leader Mudavadi has been leading calls for the dissolution of the alliance, told People Daily.

Should Nasa be dissolved, major casualties would be Wiper’s Benson Momanyi and ANC’s George Khaniri who would have to lose their positions in the powerful Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).

Others are Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Senate Minority Whip), Robert Mbui (Deputy Minority Leader in the National Assembly) and Eseli Simiyu (Deputy Minority Whip in the National Assembly). This is alongside other members in all parliamentary committees.

Although members of ANC, Wiper and Ford Kenya have been publicly declaring that the coalition is dead, none of the parties has written to the Registrar of Political parties that they want to leave the coalition as is required by law.

Mutula Jr, who is also the Wiper Party chairman, contends that if three political parties meet their delegates and pass a resolution to wind up Nasa, it will be the end.

But should any three of the coalition partners hold their National Delegates Conference (NDC) and ratify the decision to collapse the coalition, then leaders holding their positions will lose their house leader positions, which would be distributed on the strength of each party in the respective House.

“If three political parties meet their delegates and pass a resolution to wind up Nasa, it will be the end.

All positions will be distributed depending on the strength of each party in the respective house,” said Kilonzo Jr. Osotsi says none of the four Nasa partner parties, apart from ODM, meets the threshold of maintaining its membership in committees as well as house leadership.

Osotsi also blamed Mudavadi for the current woes facing Nasa, claiming that he was behind the drafting of the contentious memorandum of understanding.

“Raila mandated Mudavadi to engage experts to draft the MoU. Indeed, he brought in his friend Dan Amayo who did everything before it was presented to the co-principals who adopted it with few amendments. So Mudavadi should be the last person to complain against the document that he himself helped draft,” Osotsi said.

Political friends

Sifuna charged that their partners have not tabled the grievances they hold against the Orange party. He charged that as it is, Nasa organs (Summit, Secretariat and Steering Committees) are dead.

“It is interesting that you can be in a relationship and you do not know that it is over and you are waiting for the other party to tell you it is over. As ODM, we do not know what Wiper’s grievances are,” said Sifuna.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala told Sifuna that without political friends, they will not make any headway.

“Nasa is dead.  We are no longer interested in sharing the money. We are focused on 2022. I dare ODM to take Raila to the ballot alone, that is why the OKA idea is a game changer,” said Malala.

According to Malala, Nasa died because of unfaithfulness and political disloyalties orchestrated by ODM.

He said: “Nasa is dead. Our term limit for Nasa agreement was 2017-2022. We have collapsed because of mistrust, political unfaithfulness and political disloyalties orchestrated by ODM.”

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