A clause in the 2017 Nasa power-sharing agreement gives opposition leader Raila Odinga a free hand to run for president again in 2022 if the pact is not renewed.
If he runs, the 2022 stab at the presidency will be Mr Odinga’s fifth attempt at the top job in an illustrious career that spans almost three decades.
With Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress’ Musalia Mudavadi, and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula all waiting to be backed by Mr Odinga in the 2022 race, the provision that the opposition leader will only be barred in the event of a renewal may complicate their chances.
The parties, including Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani, which later bolted out of the coalition, agreed that Nasa will be deemed dead by 2022, but with an option of the agreement being renewed for a further term of five years.
“In the event of the renewal of the coalition agreement for a further term of five years, the coalition’s presidential candidate in the August 2017 elections shall not be eligible for nomination as a presidential candidate,” the agreement says in Article 10 (a) marked as an addendum.
The provision that Mr Odinga is only barred from vying for the top seat in the event of a renewal of the pact has given the ODM side a fresh push, with some legislators already calling on him to renege on the deal after the three other Nasa principals failed to show up for his mock swearing-in on January 30.
“Nasa is Nasa, and we will deal with the issues as Nasa,” Mr Odinga told Citizen TV in June when asked whether he will be honouring the deal.
With Mr Wetang’ula having severed ties with Mr Odinga, and a growing distance among the parties following Mr Odinga’s handshake deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta — that his colleagues protested not being consulted — it is difficult to tell whether this clause may apply in 2022, if the coalition, against all odds, stays alive till then.
“I think it is unfortunate that we allowed that clause to be there because it creates an escape route for him (not to back the others in 2022) provided that Nasa is not there,” Ford-Kenya deputy party leader Boni Khalwale said.
“And you can see what is happening already, Raila has completely moved out of Nasa now,” he added.
Mr Wetang’ula has often broached the subject of Mr Odinga’s candidature in 2022, and in July, he suggested that the “killing of Nasa” was a well-choreographed scheme.
“Raila rocked Narc and later formed ODM. This has been the trend as after joining CORD, he said people were tired and wanted a change, and that we should switch to Nasa. He has a history of rocking parties,” he told Citizen TV in July.