Musalia Mudavadi

From left: Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula, Deputy President William Ruto, ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi and Jibebe’s William Kabogo at Bomas of Kenya on January 23, 2022.

| Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

The big dilemma in Ruto-Mudavadi union

What you need to know:

  • The Deputy President's camp has said he will not drop his bid in favour of Mr Mudavadi.
  • It is widely expected that the ANC party leader will back Dr Ruto’s bid for President.

Deputy President William Ruto and his newfound ally, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, are walking a tight political rope in their quest for power in the August 9 elections.

The two leaders and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula on Sunday agreed to work together even though both the DP and Mr Mudavadi have set their sights on the top seat.

Legally, Dr Ruto cannot seek the running mate position at the end of his term as Deputy President and thus must focus on becoming President or sacrifice his ambitions and become a kingmaker by backing Mr Mudavadi's bid. 

But the DP’s camp has said he will not drop his bid in favour of Mr Mudavadi, citing his campaigns across the country.

Interestingly, Dr Ruto’s lieutenants from the Mt Kenya region have also ruled out ceding the running mate slot to Mr Mudavadi, who hails from Western Kenya.

Dr Ruto on Monday chaired his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party’s parliamentary group meeting at his residence in Karen, Nairobi. He announced that the team had endorsed the UDA-ANC-Ford Kenya partnership but did not divulge the details of the pact.

But it is widely expected that Mr Mudavadi will back Dr Ruto’s bid for President.

This is likely to raise questions among Mr Mudavadi’s supporters about his role in the alliance and what position is reserved for ANC.

Running mate position

Dr Ruto is said to be looking for a running mate from the vote-rich Mt Kenya region, and the entry of Mr Mudavadi into his fold could complicate his strategy.

Even though Mr Mudavadi has been welcomed into the DP’s camp, stressed nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura, the running mate position still belongs to Mt Kenya region.

“We welcome Mudavadi to the Hustler Nation. He is a good person and an experienced politician, but what I know for sure is that the Deputy President’s position has been reserved for someone from Central Kenya,” Mr Mwaura said.

Central Kenya, reiterated Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni, is unlikely to cede ground on the running mate slot.

“Let the people of Western know that their son Musalia Mudavadi is being played. I’m foreseeing a case from Wednesday when the person who will be sold as a presidential candidate during their joint rally in Nakuru will be Ruto,” Mr Omogeni said.

The best position Mr Mudavadi may get, he said, is Speaker of the National Assembly or the Senate.

Dr Ruto has not mentioned the specifics of his partnership with Mr Mudavadi, only noting that the details will come out in due course.

“If you followed the statement of our friend Musalia Mudavadi during his NDC, it was about the status of our country and those are the issues at the heart of our conversation,” he said after the UDA parliamentary group meeting.

Presidential ambitions

“The rest of the details of our relationship will be in subsequent documents.”

In an interview with KTN News on Monday night, Mr Mudavadi said his working relationship with Dr Ruto did not mean that he had dropped his presidential ambitions. 

He said the details of their pact will come to light once a coalition agreement with the DP is finalised. 

"For now, there is nothing wrong with having joint rallies with the DP. We can make statements together or individually, it’s not a new phenomenon in our politics," he said.

"But the ANC (delegates meeting) gave me the mandate to negotiate depending on the political dynamics, although at this point in time I have taken (their) endorsement … very seriously and I am on the road for campaigns for the position of President." 

Dr Ruto said the details of their agreement will be filed with the Registrar of Political Parties at an appropriate time.

“They will be public documents and so they will be available for Kenyans to look at,” he said.

Dr Ruto had announced during the ANC delegates meeting at the Bomas of Kenya the birth of a new working relationship with Mr Mudavadi.

The DP revealed that beginning today (Wednesday), they will launch joint rallies in Nakuru before moving to Western on Friday and Central on Saturday.

Ruto-Mudavadi alliance

Mr Mudavadi’s alliance with the DP, said Kandara MP Alice Wahome, did not mean that the Central region was ceding ground on the running mate position.

“We only attended the ANC (delegates conference). How do you make that conclusion?” she said.

But some political observers believe that the Ruto-Mudavadi alliance is beneficial to both leaders.

“It is a normal political alliance that seemingly adds value to both camps,” said Prof Macharia Munene of United States International University (USIU).

“Musalia is a candidate for President, not for Deputy President. This is more of a post-election understanding than a pre-election one.” 

Kenyans will find out more about the UDA-ANC deal on February 6 at a rally planned for Mumbi stadium in Murang’a County, said Senator Irungu Kang’ata.

“UDA will make an announcement that will cause a political thunderstorm in Kenya. We shall make an earth-shaking announcement on this date. Watch the date,” he said.

Mr Mudavadi camp would not make any demands on the DP’s camp, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala has said.

But when reached for comment yesterday, he would not say what Mr Mudavadi’s role will be in the DP’s camp.