Musalia Mudavadi

Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi during the interview in Nairobi on February 2, 2022.


| Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Mudavadi: We must end the politics of coercion, betrayal in Kenya

In this final instalment of a two-part series, ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi talks to Nation about the UDA deal with Deputy President, corruption and zoning by Kenya Kwanza coalition.

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Is there a secret deal with the Deputy President that Kenyans do not know of?

No. Why do you want a secret deal? When we were setting up Nasa, when did you establish the arrangement that Nasa had? You found it when we had lodged the document with the Registrar of Political Parties. Nothing is done until the document has been filed.

Will you field your presidential candidate under Kenya Kwanza Coalition or on the constituent parties?

We have to go by the law, and the law has now come into place. I would just advise that Kenyans look into the details and provisions of the law. What we were trying to achieve when this law was being debated was to try a Narc kind of coalition so that a coalition party can now formally field a presidential candidate under its name among other provisions.

If we take you back, just slightly, the law was that even when you are looking at Cord coalition, or the Amani Coalition or the Nasa coalition in more recent times, or the Jubilee Coalition, you will notice that to go to the ballot, you could not have the symbol of the coalition in the ballot but the symbol of the party that is producing or nominating the presidential candidate.

What this law has been trying to put across is that if you and I enter into a coalition and there is a symbol of that coalition, that symbol can now be found in the ballot paper.

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Your differences in Nasa were blamed on betrayal by ODM which eventually led to the dissolution of the coalition. What safeguards will ANC push to include in any agreement with UDA and Ford-Kenya to ensure the coalition lasts the full term?

At the end of the day, the law is supposed to seal some of those things and it is giving the Office the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) more powers to enforce coalition arrangements.

Previously, the ORPP did not have such powers. The office was just a custodian of what you have entered into but the real weight, the onus of implementing, was left to individuals. If they decide to disregard you, there is very little you can do.

You will have protracted litigation or legal processes trying to solve these things but with this law, that is being minimised. But by and large, at the end of the day, trust is the underpinning issue.

There must be trust and I said there was a serious deficit of trust in the previous arrangement around Nasa.

A quick highlight, even the other day, when your paper just came out and said, ‘ANC and Wiper given Sh100 million’, why did you not ask for the actual documentation?

Why did you not ask for proof? How did you let such a question pass? You owe it to Kenyans. Why did you not just tell him (ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna) to put the documents on the table, show us the actual transfers, and which date did you transfer this amount? To which account?

There have been reports that one of the things under discussion/agreed on with the DP is to zone out the country so that UDA, for example, does not field candidates in Western region and other areas where ANC and Ford-Kenya are strong and vice versa. What could you tell us about this?

I think there are some details, which are being discussed within the coalition and at this point, because I have always been a systematic person when it comes to these things, these are issues of discussion and I would not want to preempt any conversation around that.

But as members of Kenya Kwanza, the three lead parties, ANC, Ford-Kenya and UDA, we have teams working so that we can benefit from the strengths of all these political parties.

Mudavadi: We must end the politics of coercion, betrayal in Kenya

Is that also the case with the DP’s position? What are the discussions so far regarding the deputy president’s position within the Kenya Kwanza Coalition?

I will not comment on that. We must remember this, we are pushing the Kenya Kwanza movement which puts Kenyans first. I have constantly said, and I believe the next government we will form will do it, the next government must come with a strong economic agenda.

But unfortunately, people are not interrogating me about the economic agenda, the roadmap. I think we are missing the point. I raised the question the other day and (Aden) Duale has raised it again. There is a very serious matter.

Parliament put a ceiling of Sh9 trillion for our public debt. Indications show that that the ceiling has been breached or broken and we may be at Sh11 trillion plus without parliamentary approval and we are calling on the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury to come and tell Kenyans what the real numbers are and also come clean in case he has he broken the law by not having sought parliamentary approval.

This thing is being hushed despite having been done under the table. What does it mean to me, to you, to taxation? What are the impacts on inflation? Why is the civil servant not getting his increment in accordance with his letter of appointment? Why are we seeing the government, through the Labour ministry and the department and others, beginning to bring a law that will start legalising salary cuts? Why are Kenyans not ready to discuss these issues?

UDA, which is now your partner in Kenya Kwanza, has said that they will not be running on anti-corruption platform yet ANC seems to prioritise the fight against corruption as your speech on January 23 and subsequent speeches have suggested. How will you reconcile these positions?

I think in all fairness, that question will be best answered by that person who was supposedly quoted.

As far as I am concerned, whatever we are going to do, when we talk about reviving and focusing on the economy, surely, the fight against corruption is embedded in that.

While you have been criticising the President and the government for the rampant corruption and huge loans, you have avoided doing the same for the DP despite the fact that he is part of the government. In your view, does the DP share in the blame for the runaway corruption and huge loans, most of which were taken during Jubilee’s first term between 2013 and 2017?

I spoke to the nation. I pointed out the issues that need to be sorted out. The fact that I said it when he was there shows you that I can be very candid about issues affecting the country.

In your joint rallies with the DP, the two of you have had mixed messaging. While you have, for example, criticized SGR as a corruption avenue, the DP has been hailing the SGR as one of the government’s achievements. How do you reconcile these positions?

The infrastructure is in place but to this day, why has the government made sure that the contractual details of an infrastructure project, and not a security project, remain a secret?

Why would the government go and file an affidavit in court to make sure the details of this contract do not come out under the Freedom of Information Act on the basis that the contracts are a matter of national security?

When the two of you are speaking on the same platform, and like I have explained, it comes out as a sort of mixed messages...

I think what I can say is that it is not a mixed message. The infrastructure project is there but what Kenyans want to know is the commitments that go with it. What are the commitments? Did we mortgage any household silver in the process? These are the questions that Kenyans are asking.

Your critics have used your alleged role in the Goldenberg scandal as Minister of Finance then as well as allegations that your Riverside home was a gift to you by the Goldenberg mastermind Kamlesh Pattni to say that you are the least qualified to talk about the economy and corruption in government. What is the truth about your role in the Goldenberg scandal as well as your ownership of the Riverside home?

That is absolute nonsense. To be honest, I want to criticise the media. On this one, they are either mischievous or lazy.

There was the Bosire Commission of Inquiry, a judicial commission of inquiry, a public one. The details are out there. You have copies. I can even give you other copies. The details are there, why the dishonesty? I stopped Goldenberg.

This inquiry was conducted when I was an ordinary citizen. It was done under the Kibaki government. I was a civilian; I could not even influence the outcome of the report.

Why do you run away from it? Why do you want to go on rumours rather than a report of an inquiry that lasted for three years?

Any final word?

What I would like to say is that we are resolved as Kenya Kwanza to give Kenyans the real alternative in this context and our agenda is one, the economy, two, the economy and three, the economy.

We must create jobs, wealth; we must sort out the CBC confusion in the education sector. We must deal with the massive public debt, which is stifling our ability to do anything. We must deal with devolution. Counties are not getting the rightful share and governors are being intimidated.

Above all, we must say no to the politics of coercion and allow Kenyans to make their choices and I can tell you all these hullabaloo, what we are seeing now, if you notice, Azimio is operating in tents. They are operating in tents, very elaborate tents with garlands.