Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi has defended the Kenya Kwanza Alliance agreement amid criticism and online trolling of alleged conditions they have to meet to get the promised benefits.
At the same time, Mr Mudavadi admitted that Deputy President William Ruto became the Kenya Kwanza Alliance’s presidential candidate because he was comparatively ahead of the other partners in planning and organisation.
For agreeing to give Mr Mudavadi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula a 30 percent share of government should he win, Dr Ruto will have to distribute the remaining 70 percent share among the more than 10 other parties that are supporting his presidential bid.
Mr Mudavadi, through his chief strategist Prof Amukowa Anangwe, told the Nation that the deal that they negotiated ensures that the Western region gets its fair share of the national cake.
“It is a good deal, more than we expected and an adequate compensation for any sacrifice that we may have made especially with respect to being a presidential candidate and the deputy presidential candidate,” said Prof Anangwe.
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In the agreement, Mr Mudavadi has been promised the position of Prime Cabinet Secretary which will be created after the elections in case the DP wins in the presidential election. Wetang’ula on the other hand will get the National Assembly speaker post as UDA produces both the presidential candidate and the running mate.
Besides the positions, ANC and Ford Kenya were also promised a 30 percent share of the national government including cabinet secretaries, Principal Secretaries, ambassadors and High Commissioners, chairpersons of state corporations, directors of state corporations and chairpersons and commissioners of constitutional commissions.
In addition, the region will get 1,000 kilometres of bitumen standard roads.
However, before the two Western leaders could sell the agreement based on the benefits their region stand to gain if they support Mr Ruto, an addendum to the agreement emerged which showed that the 30 percent share they have been promised will only come if they deliver 70 percent of the Western vote.
The revelation dampened the mood as Kenyans took to online platforms to mock Mudavadi and Wetangula for agreeing to such terms.
Azimio leaders Junet Mohamed and Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho also added their voices accusing Mr Ruto of conning his coalition partners by demanding that they deliver 70 per cent of the Western vote.
Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua is also required to deliver 35 per cent of votes in Machakos County while Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi should deliver 50 per cent of his county votes.
"Musalia, Wetangula, Kingi and Mutua have been conned by Ruto. These four men have been allocated positions Ruto said would not exist... Our friends you are conned in an elaborate con game and wash wash scheme. You won't survive; our thoughts and prayers are with you," said Mr Mohamed.
But Prof Anangwe denies the existence of such pre-conditions, though he acknowledges that the benefits they have been promised can only come if they work hard in the campaigns and vote for Dr Ruto.
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“That is mischief by the people propagating it. It is not anywhere in the document. I have checked with the lawyers and our partners. There is nothing like that. It is pure political mischief,” said Prof Anangwe.
He added, however: “But I would qualify this by adding that we have to deliver the votes, not as a pre-condition but as a matter of cause. There are no pre-conditions but we cannot expect to benefit from the 30 percent unless we deliver the votes for Ruto to win.”
At the same time, Prof Anangwe disclosed some of the internal negotiations that went on behind the scenes. The former minister told the Nation that while the decision on the presidential candidate caused a lot of debate, it was less contentious because the deputy president was far ahead in planning.
“The choice fell on Ruto for many reasons that you may understand: he had started the journey earlier, he had galvanized the country and had a national constituency. So he had a comparative advantage over his colleagues,” he said.
The contentious issue in the negotiations was the running mate positioned. Having missed out on the presidency, Mr Mudavadi wanted to be the running mate.
“It was a contentious issue because already UDA had agreed internally with its members that Ruto would be the presidential candidate and the running mate would come from the mountain region. We, therefore, needed a formula that would keep the arrangement within UDA in place as well as the new partners that were coming in,” says Prof Anangwe.
“There was good justification for Musalia to seek to be the running mate. In any case, his party ANC had already endorsed him to run for president. Ford Kenya delegates had also done the same for Wetangula. But we had to make hard choices: Do we disrupt an arrangement that had brought Mount Kenya into the fold to reward Musalia or Wetangula or do we look for a workable formula where Mount Kenya would stay as is Rift Valley while Western also gets something?” he added.
According to Prof Anangwe, it was advantageous to let Mount Kenya keep their slot of deputy president but Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetangula had to be compensated adequately hence the offer of a 30 percent share of the national government positions.
With the Western region assured of a 30 percent share of the national government, it means that the rest of the country will have to share the remaining 70 per cent, which could disadvantage the other parties that are supporting the DP but did not sign the Kenya Kwanza Alliance agreement.
Instead, each of these parties has signed separate deals with the Alliance and which were deposited as addenda to the coalition agreement. Each of the parties has been assured a stake in the national government “commensurate with the number of members of County Assemblies, National Assembly, Senate and Governors” elected on the respective parties and “the general role played and effort in the Presidential campaigns preceding the General Election scheduled for August 9, 2022.”
According to Prof Anangwe, the Alliance’s agreement is for the founding political parties.
“The Founding parties are privileged like in any other organizational arrangement. They started this thing. They have made the alliance attractive. They took the risk to bring the Kenya Kwanza Alliance to fruition and therefore they had every right to determine the shape of the alliance,” he said.