It was obvious that Raila would be NASA’s flag bearer, but not clear how the other principals would take it. The long silence that threatened to break NASA supporters’ necks was testament of the lobbying that went into evening out the various political and tribal interests to come up with a single opposition flagbearer.
Kalonzo, who supported the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) government in 2002 and Raila under CORD in 2013, believed it was his time. In his speech at Uhuru Park, Kalonzo said, “I was very ready to be the flag bearer.”
The quest for power
But personal interest was trumped by the quest to dislodge President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto from power.
In a recent interview with Jeff Koinange, Kalonzo regarded himself as a lion that had been hiding its claws. This indicated that he had been humble enough to support previous regimes and now it was time for them to return the favour.
The group, it seems, had settled on Raila as the flagbearer long ago. The lineup mirrored, the proposal that leaked from the committee that was tasked to hammer out a deal.
Without him as the flag bearer, NASA would be placing speakers at the back stage. Raila has dominated opposition politics and he remains the favourite presidential candidate to face off President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August polls. He has been on the forefront in exposing any government rot, unlike his co-principals.
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Raila’s experience and expertise in government also played a critical role in handing him the flag of the NASA coalition. Unlike his co-principals, RAO has been active all through his political career whether in or out of government.
When Kalonzo said Raila Tosha in 2013, he expected a return of favour in 2017 in an MoU that was signed by the duo. However, since they lost, Raila had to return the favour to Kalonzo. But scheming Raila formed a new outfit, NASA, that killed the MoU.
To avoid being noticed, Raila cunningly used Musalia Mudavadi to rally the outfit. He would later join the outfit to kill any bargaining power of the 2013 MoU with Kalonzo. But Kalonzo would not give in that easily, and they had to fight up to the last minute, perhaps the reason they kept postponing the announcement.
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Raila had to use another method, hence brought Isaac Rutto on board. The entry of Isaac Rutto was meant to neutralise Kalonzo who had threatened to leave NASA (through feelers from his followers) if not given the baton. He thus had to suppress his ego and accept the only option for him, Deputy President.
Raila had to give Kalonzo hope, by promising to be a one term president, which he hid in his words during the announcement.
“My work will be done when we reach Canaan, and I will help my co-principals with the journey of transforming this country.” In a nutshell, Raila’s dream would be to clinch power and be a one-term government.
He said his government would be transitional, giving a glimpse to a short-term government. In politics, you can’t take that to the bank!