NASA is shaking up its campaign secretariat as the IEBC yesterday gazetted October 17 for the presidential election rerun.
High-profile figures — including moneybags businessman Jimmy Wanjigi who promised big bucks but didn’t deliver — will be kicked out.
As it tries for a knock-out punch against President Uhuru Kenyatta — in 54 days — Raila Odinga’s opposition aims for a lean, efficient team running a better-organised and lubricated campaign.
Wanjigi and campaign secretariat chief Willis Otieno top the list of those to be purged in the regrouping for an intense, hit-the-ground-running campaign.
The decision to expel Wanjigi was reached at the weekend in Kilaguni, Taita Taveta, where Raila and NASA principals retreated to plot their campaign, create new structures and start fundraising. Today they will visit Kisii to kick off their vote hunt in Western. It is reported Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) all told Raila they did not want Wanjigi because “he did not help NASA as expected and instead caused the team problems,” one source told the Star.
“The principals were clear in their assessment that Wanjigi had promised so much and delivered almost nothing to the campaign,” a source familiar with meeting’s decisions said.
Wanjigi was yet to be officially informed. The notorious and formidable businessman, held in awe by not a few people, is reported to have promised to pay for a tallying center, poll agents and the production of media advertisements, among other things, before the August 8 General Election.
He did not deliver as expected.
Some NASA secretariat staff had complained several times about Wanjigi and his association with secretariat head Otieno, whom they said was serving the tycoon’s interests, instead of implementing decisions of the NASA principals.
Oligarch Wanjigi, a fearsome power broker, did not add value to NASA’s campaigns and instead fueled friction within the inner core.
Raila’s close allies say Wanjigi orchestrated the perversion and watering-down of NASA’s original manifesto that focussed on ending the culture of corruption and cartels. The editing exposed corruption-busting NASA to ridicule and untold embarrassment. Instead, the second, business-friendly manifesto edited at a Nairobi hotel introduced unapproved mega projects catering to interests seeking huge tenders from a NASA government. Among NASA’s key changes is to elevate Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama as heads of resource mobilisation and logistics.
The strategy team will be led by renowned economist David Ndii. All NASA governors, Senators, MPs and MCAs are also expected to pull out all the stops in the new arrangement.
NASA plans to campaign door to door and those elected under the alliance will lead many teams set up by Friday. The Kilaguni was attended by Raila, running mate Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Wetang’ula, select governors and MPs.
They expressed particular concern that NASA did not do much to protect its vote at tallying centres. The role of Raila’s children Winnie and Junior was discussed but NASA leaders want them excluded so professionals can do their work without interference.
In the run-up to August 8, Hamida Kibwana, a former IEBC official now working for Raila, protested against Wanjigi and Otieno’s focus on business instead of campaign issues. In a letter copied to Raila, Hamida said Otieno had no electoral knowledge and was unqualified to head the secretariat. Concerning reorganisation, the idea of Adopt–a–Polling Station, in which supporters would finance and act as agents, was never implemented, despite fundraising. NASA has again embarked on financing and vote protection. Yesterday the opposition alliance released a Safaricom paybill and bank account numbers where supporters and sponsors can deposit funds.
NASA will have a joint Parliamentary Group meeting his week to discuss in detail the roles of other elected members. On Friday last week during the second NASA Parliamentary Group meeting at the Okoa Kenya Secretariat in Lavington, Raila told elected MPs to support the rerun and do everything possible to safeguard his votes. NASA will form a national coordinating committee with members from each region to spearhead campaigns.
Already NASA has hit the ground running, trying to capitalise on Kenyatta’s and Uhuru’s ugly onslaught against Chief Justice David Maraga and his court. Uhuru called them wakora and said he would deal with them after his reelection.
On Friday last week, Maraga and three justices voted 4-2 to nullify Kenyatta’s reelection, an historic ruling since no African court has ever dared nullify the election of a sitting president.
Kisii will be NASA’s first stop.
On Sunday, Kisii residents on Sunday poured into the streets, protesting against the persistent verbal attacks on their native son, CJ David Maraga.
The fusillade of insults could have negative consequences for Kenyatta.
The second unapproved NASA manifesto — that would have benefited businessmen such as Wanjigi — included unapproved capital intensive projects such as the Moyale-Mandera-Wajir-Garissa road, the Likoni Bridge, a public university and ICT centre in every county, airstrips upgraded to commercial standards, a Coast commuter rail line from Malindi to Diani and from Mombasa to Voi, among other infrastructure.
The controversial document was disowned by NASA technocrats who said it tarnished the alliance’s reputation.
By LUKE AWICH @achiaawich