Deputy President William Ruto, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and FORD-Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula in Mumias on February 8, 2022.


It’s do-or-die for Musalia Mudavadi as Raila Odinga rocks Western

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi is facing the fight of his political life as he desperately seeks to ring-fence Western region and its 2.7 million votes ahead of the August 9 General Election. 

Widely considered the “gentleman of Kenya’s politics”, Mr Mudavadi surprised friend and foe when he came out swinging during the ANC National Delegates Conference at the Bomas of Kenya on January 23.

While announcing a political pact with Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance, the former finance minister fired salvos at the Jubilee administration for mismanaging the economy.

He has now intensified his onslaught on the Azimio la Umoja Movement led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga as he seeks to consolidate support in Western Kenya behind Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

The region voted heavily for Mr Odinga in the 2007, 2013 and 2017 elections, but Mr Mudavadi is now battling to drive a majority of the votes towards his alliance in what is shaping up to be the toughest succession race ever.

Azimio la Umoja

Mr Mudavadi, Dr Ruto and Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula have for the last three days been traversing the region to popularise their alliance.

Mr Mudavadi was replaced as the Luhya spokesman by the elders’ forum in resolutions read by the Secretary, Mr Peter Ludava, during the Bukhungu II meeting in Kakamega on the New Year’s Eve.

“We resolve that the community shall only vote for candidates on other seats who are allied to Azimio la Umoja,” Mr Ludava said.

The Kenya Kwanza team has planned a major rally at Bukhungu Stadium on Saturday to neutralise Azimio forays in the region. Mr Mudavadi defended his pact with Dr Ruto, saying it was a calculated move that will see him emerge as a key political force.

Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula have abrasively projected Mr Odinga as a state project, saying the ODM leader cannot be trusted.

“We have given him (Raila) support in the past four elections and now he has become mzigo (baggage) to us. We are tired of propping in each election year. We have rejected Uhuru's succession plan. When will Raila support us?” posed Mr Mudavadi.

Political debt

Addressing supporters in Vihiga on Sunday, Dr Ruto said President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga owe Kenya Kwanza leaders a political debt.

“We supported Raila until he became Prime Minister. I helped Uhuru and ensured he was elected the President. The two owe us a political debt,” said the DP.

Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga addressing residents of Kakamega town on September 10, 2021.

Photo credit: Pool

The Kenya Kwanza leaders took their campaigns to Vihiga, Busia, Kakamega and Trans Nzoia and are battling the wave of ascendancy of the Democratic Action Party of Kenya, which is linked to Azimio la Umoja.

ODM Deputy Party leader Wycliffe Oparanya has, however, dismissed Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula as politicians who have betrayed their communities by working with the DP.

“Why would he (Mr Odinga) be a state project when he is running for the fifth time? He’s the people’s project. It is Mudavadi who was a project in 2013 and he lost it,” said Mr Oparanya.

He wondered whether those vying for other seats are also State projects. “Why haven’t they (Kenya Kwanza) said those he (Mr Kenyatta) will vote for in the other five positions are also projects?” posed the governor.

Political direction

Mr Wetang’ula asked the Luhya community to support Kenya Kwanza Alliance for taking a political direction that will ensure the region gets a big stake in the next government.

Mr Mudavadi revisited the 2002 polls in which President Kenyatta was rejected by voters for being a State project. The former Vice President said at the time, they were humiliated after they failed in their attempt to support Mr Kenyatta.

“Because of the blunders I made, I ended up losing the Sabatia parliamentary seat. This is the same mistake President Kenyatta is repeating,” said Mr Mudavadi.

He wondered why Mr Kenyatta is yet to ask voters in his Mt Kenya backyard to back Mr Odinga’s presidential bid since their handshake in March 2018.