NASA’s manifesto was reedited at a high-end Nairobi hotel — to include unapproved multi-billion-shilling projects — and the reworking nearly jeopardised the grand unfurling of the blueprint .
The Star has established that technocrats at the NASA presidential secretariat only realised the existence of two versions of the manifesto on Tuesday last week, hours before the manifesto launch.
Both are on the NASA website, one now called an implementation document.
The existence of the two manifestos — the one with mega projects now disowned as ‘not the official manifesto’ — has been a huge embarrassment for the alliance that says it wants to fight cartels.
The second document is seen as catering to interests that want huge tenders from a NASA government.
Inquiries by the Star indicate a prominent figure in Raila Odinga’s campaign secretariat obtained the finalised document just days after it was ready for publication.
With a team of designers, the man spearheaded the re-editing to incorporate numerous capital-intensive projects. These included roads, a bridge, a public university and ICT centre in every county, airstrips upgraded to commercial standards, among others.
The result was a document riddled with mistakes.
In a glaring spelling blunder, for instance, the NASA logo misrepresented the core message of change, instead introducing a distortion and contradiction.
In place of the official motto Mambo ya Badilika (Things are Changing), the edited non-manifesto was written Mambo ya Badilikia (Things are Turning Against).
Only moneybags met at the venue where the changes were made.
And they quaffed the best.
For instance, Remy Martin Louis XIII brandy, retailing at Sh460,000 a tot. The bottle goes for Sh1,300,500.
NASA technocrats who authored the original document, led by economist David Ndii, are said to have hit the roof over claims business lobbyists were creating tenders for themselves.
“The key concern was that some people are creating projects for themselves to implement with an imminent Raila victory,” a source familiar with the behind-the-scene intrigues told the Star.
Ndii, chief draftsman of authentic NASA manifesto, was quoted by the Daily Nation saying lobbyists including “tenderpreneurs” who were jostling to have their projects captured in the blueprint.
“We have become a stakeholder society. So people call themselves stakeholders. Even tenderpreneurs are in there. In fact, they are there in a big way,” he said.
In a separate interview on Citizen TV on Monday this week, Ndii said the NASA manifesto has no projects — contradicting the copy was widely circulated to the media.
“I have seen a lot of things you have pointed out there. They are not in the NASA manifesto. You must have seen a document written [as the] implementation programme. It’s not the manifesto. The NASA manifesto has no projects,” Ndii told the moderator.
The controversial manifesto promises construction of a Coast commuter rail line running along the coastline from Malindi to Diani and from Mombasa inland to Voi.
It says the NASA government will fast-track implementation of the Nairobi Mass Transit Project.
Others big projects are construction of the Moyale-Mandera-Wajir-Garissa Road, upgrading selected airstrips to commercial aviation standards and constructing the Likoni Bridge.
But Ndii says the work of a political leader is simply to change policy direction.
“If you read our manifesto, it’s what is called evidenced-based policy making, it’s not plucking projects from the air to please people…Your job as political leaders is to change policy direction. The technical expertise is in government,” he said in the TV interview.
“This habit of Jubilee of promising big things like laptops and then falling flat on its face is because they were inexperienced on how you do policy. They get to government and in fact find evidence does not support the things they went around telling people.”
Ndii, a controversial writer, led the task force advising the Narc government on the Economic Recovery Strategy credited with reviving the economy in the first Narc coalition administration under President Mwai Kibaki.
But the two-manifestos saga is seen as a blow to Raila’s anti-graft crusade and has been used by the Jubilee campaign to discredit it.
In the genuine manifesto, Raila — jailed for nine years by the Kanu administration for championing accountability and fundamental rights and freedoms — had promised to bring down cartels in government on day one if elected on August 8.
Raila said there will be “no sacred cows” in fighting graft starting from the Office of the President and the Cabinet and elected and appointed government officers.
“The culture of impunity will end on day one. We cannot end corruption when there is no line between public interest and private business interests of the powerful. The NASA Coalition President will never get away with passing the buck to the EACC or Judiciary. This is the pledge to ourselves and the people of Kenya,” the manifesto reads.
Governance analyst John Kaguchia said the glaring spelling mistakes indicate competing personal interests within the opposition.
“There is internal competition among constituent parties. This raises fundamental questions on how NASA will rule,” he said.
DP William Ruto now says opposition leaders are “captive to cartels who were funding their party”.
He said one document is meant to cater for interests of the corruption cartels funding NASA campaigns.
“It is clear one manifesto explains how corruption cartels will get kickbacks in tenders awarded to dubious projects like Anglo Leasing, if NASA forms the government,” Ruto said. – Story courtesy of The Star