REVEALED: How power struggles in NASA led to Raila fall

Billionaire businessman Jimmy Wanjigi joining the former PM's inner circle proved to be a curse rather than a blessing.

Raila Odinga
NASA's Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka during their rally in Kibera, Nairobi, on July 18, 2017. PHOTO: ENOS TECHE/THE STAR

The National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s chances of winning the Tuesday, August 9 elections were made impossible by infighting, lack of coordination, multiple centres of power and a botched party nominations.

Raila had tens of technocrats who worked on a grand strategy to seal what they reckoned was the only possible loophole in achieving a Raila win, rigging by Jubilee. The game however turned out different in the end.

Raila Odinga_Kalonzo Musyoka
NASA presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka during their rally at Gusii Stadium, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. /TWITTER

For starters, Nasa announced plans to have a state-of-the-art parallel tallying centre which would provide presidential vote results within eight hours after polling stations close. Hence. wakihesabu tunahesabu, wakituma tunatuma, wakitangaza tunatangaza. [They (IEBC) counts, we do the same, they tally the votes, we do the same, and when the time comes to announce the winner, we will announce ours].

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The eight-hour tallying was meant to put pressure on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) not to play round with numbers, in order to prevent what Nasa strategists said happened in 2007 and 2013, two elections that Raila lost.

But come election day, Raila did not have agents in hundreds of polling stations across perceived Jubilee strongholds, mostly in Central and Rift Valley.

Sensationally christened the adopt-a-polling station strategy, Nasa was to deploy at least five agents in each of the 40,883 polling stations, but it was not implemented in the end.

Then followed claims that the ruling party pocketed Raila’s agents followed claims of a daring raid of the Nasa tallying centre which later turned out to be a stage-managed affair by the Opposition, further crippling the Opposition campaign machine.

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Amid tallying of the Presidential votes, Raila strongly protested that IEBC servers were compromised by an intruder who manipulated the election results. The Opposition at the time, did not have all the results from across the country, especially at polling stations level.

When Raila and cronies alleged that they had raw data from the commission’s computers thanks to an insider, which allegedly showed they were ahead with of over 8.04 million votes, IEBC chair Chebukati challenged them to support their allegations with evidence -the results declaration forms. They didn’t.

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Weeks to the polls, has learnt, Raila quietly demoted the head of his presidential campaign Willis Otieno in what was an obvious revelation of infighting and trouble in the Nasa camp.

Through a damning memo that was sent to all Nasa secretariat staff, Hamida Kibwana, a former IEBC official who was working for Raila, accused Otieno of interfering in the recruitment of agents.

Maina Wanjigi_TUKO
Billionaire businessman Maina Wanjigi. PHOTO: TUKO

Hamida claimed Otieno was too focused on making a profit at the expense of Raila clinching the presidency.

Then there was the issue of the mysterious Jimmy Wanjigi, a character whose entry into Raila’s inner circle (read financier) caused a lot of disquiet after Jubilee used his history to crush the former Prime Minister’s anti-graft crusade.