ODM leader Raila Odinga has given a succinct indication that the choice of the National Super Alliance’s (Nasa) flag-bearer will be made public any moment from now.
Speaking to aspirants for various positions from all six Coast counties at Jubilee hall in Mombasa, Mr Odinga said Nasa supporters will soon “see the white smoke”.
The white smoke is used by the Catholic Church to indicate that a new Pope has been selected. Black smoke on the other hand indicates that no candidate has satisfied the requirement of taking the mantle.
“Huo moshi mweusi mnaona ni makusudi yet tu (The black smoke that Nasa supporters are seeing for now is just a deliberate calculation),” he said and assured the members that white smoke will soon come out.
Jubilee Party leaders have been using Nasa’s dithering in naming of the presidential candidate to discredit its leaders as unfit to hold the senior most elective position.
Mr Odinga made it clear that the coalition, comprising ODM, ANC (led by Musalia Mudavadi), Wiper Democratic Movement (led by Kalonzo Musyoka) and Ford-Kenya, under Moses Wetang’ula, will not disband, and remains focused on trouncing the Uhuru Kenyatta-led Jubilee Party.
“There are many rumours that Nasa will disintegrate, but take it from me that it will never happen. None among the four of us is leaving. Leaving to go where?”
He said he was in Mombasa for purely an ODM function, not Nasa, a situation created by misunderstanding among supporters.
“There was a lot of confusion that we were coming for Nasa, but we came only for ODM. We came to meet you the aspirants and to talk to you,” he said.
He urged aspirants seeking tickets on ODM not to fight with each other but to practise civility.
He said infighting will give Jubilee an edge in the August 2017 elections.
The deputy party leader, who is also Mombasa governor, Hassan Joho told members to end their wrangling because it is eating into campaign time.
“Whenever the party leader comes or goes somewhere, he has to address a meeting to reconcile leaders. Please, give our party leaders time to campaign,” Mr Joho appealed.
He said 5,000 aspirants had applied to vie on ODM ticket and called on those who will not win in the primaries to support the victors.
The party’s elections board chairperson Judy Pareno said anyone found disrupting the nomination exercise in April will be disqualified.
Mr Odinga and Mr Joho refuted claims by some quarters that they already have candidates who will get direct tickets.
“I have heard it a lot in Lamu, Kwale and elsewhere that I have planted aspirants to get direct party tickets. I assure you I cannot do that. Let me tell you that the nominations will be free, fair, credible and transparent,” he assured.
Mr Odinga accused the Jubilee government of perpetuating corruption, running down the agricultural sector and cheating the public that it had built more than 2,000kms of tarmacked roads.
“Such length of tarmac is from here to Rome in Italy. Can the Jubilee government show us where those roads are because we would have tarmac roads in all the 47 counties,” he said.
He agitated for a Nasa administration, arguing that it has the solutions to poverty, unemployment and health care.
Also present were Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo, Nominated Senator Agnes Zani, Women representatives Mishi Mboko (Mombasa) and Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi), MPs Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Rashid Bedzimba (Kisauni), William Kamoti (Rabai) and Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe).