Musalia Mudavadi allies keen to have him deputise Willliam Ruto

Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi says he has negotiated for a third of government appointments should Kenya Kwanza coalition win the August polls, but his name still features as a possible running mate to Deputy President William Ruto.

His supporters and admirers argue that Mr Mudavadi, 62, is the best-suited candidate for the position after serving for 19 years in key positions in government. The ANC leader made history when he served as Kenya’s seventh vice president for just 60 days towards the end of Kanu’s reign in 2002.

In the former Western province, Mr Mudavadi is one of the senior-most politicians, who enjoy support from Luhya community. In 2013, he contested the presidency and came third after garnering 483,981 votes behind ODM leader Raila Odinga, who got 5.3 million, and President Uhuru Kenyatta, who had 6.1 million votes.

Before Mr Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula made the surprise decision to partner with Dr Ruto on January 23, he had assured his supporters that he had set his eyes on the presidency and his name would be on the ballot in August.

Following the dramatic shift in his political game plan, he appears to have had a change of heart and says his decision to work with the Dr Ruto was not about the position he would occupy should they form the next government but about the stake for communities from his Western backyard.

His supporters, led by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, have lately intensified calls to have him offered the running mate slot in the Kenya Kwanza coalition, arguing he is the most credible person with experience and qualifications to serve in the position.

But Mr Mudavadi said he was more focused on negotiating a stake for Western, saying he had been assured of 30 per cent of key government positions should Kenya Kwanza clinch the presidency.

His critics have accused him of being an indecisive leader, who shies from the frontline when needed to rally the Luhya community during key political moments.

Prof Herman Manyora, a political analyst, says Mr Mudavadi stands very little chance of being picked as running mate as Dr Ruto is likely to face Mt Kenya to boost his bid.

“Mudavadi does not have the muscle to galvanise the support in western in favour of the Deputy President and the Kenya Kwanza coalition,” he said.

“What compelling factor would make Ruto choose Mudavadi as his running mate? The hope to get Western votes? That is very difficult because even when he was a presidential candidate, he didn’t beat Raila.”