Musalia Mudavadi

ANC Party leader Musalia Mudavadi addressing his supporters at Bomas of Kenya on January 23, 2022 during the party's NDC meeting.

| Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi: Indecisive or simply calculative?

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has been described as a laid back and indecisive personality in his political career which dates back to 1989 when he was elected unopposed as MP for Sabatia.

This followed the death of his father, Moses Mudamba Mudavadi, who served as a powerful minister in President Daniel Moi’s Kanu regime.

Those close to Mr Mudavadi describe him as a man who carefully thinks over what he says and does not rush into making decisions and public pronouncements.

He has earned the tag of “a safe pair of hands” from his supporters who describe him as a non-polarising character and the gentlemen of Kenyan politics because of his affable personality and non-controversial stances.

Kenya is broke, says Mudavadi

On the political arena, Mr Mudavadi has likened himself to Lionel Messi, the Argentine soccer star, while his supporters fondly refer to him as MaDVD.

Prof Amukoa Anangwe, who served as Butere MP and a minister in Moi’s administration, says Mr Mudavadi prefers speaking in a coded language like he did when he declared the Bomas earthquake moment.

“He prefers making his position on key issues in a non-controversial way since he values the democratic rights of each individual. Those who view him as a weak and laid back politician do not simply understand the man,” he says.

The ANC leader is on record as having served the shortest period as Kenya’s vice president after he was appointed to the position by Mr Moi on November 4, 2002 to January 3, 2003.

He was Uhuru Kenyatta’s running mate in the 2002 General Election but they lost to Mwai Kibaki despite receiving support from Moi, their political godfather and mentor.

He was first appointed to the Cabinet as Minister for Supplies and Marketing in 1989 and served until 1993.

In the same year, he was appointed Minister for Finance and was thrust into the Goldenberg scandal in which the country lost billions of shillings in a compensation scheme for fictitious gold and diamond exports.

I come with clean hands, says Mudavadi

The Goldenberg scandal was hatched and executed between 1991 and 1993 and was marketed as possible major exchange earner for the country.

The ANC leader was accused of authorising payment of Sh2.1 billion in the fictitious deal in which the taxpayers lost Sh158.3 billion to companies and individuals linked to scandal.

The scandal, which ran for about three years, brought the economy to its knees before it was nipped in the bud.

But Mr Mudavadi, who maintained that he was the whistle blower in the matter, was cleared by a Commission of Inquiry chaired by Justice Samuel Bosire in 2003.

The young Mudavadi enjoyed the trappings of power until 2000 when he succumbed to Moi’s pressure and bowed out of the presidential race in favour of Uhuru Kenyatta. In return, he was appointed Minister for Transport and Communication, a position he held until 2002.

The move ended up being a huge political gamble that so him lose the Sabatia parliamentary seat to the then little known preacher turned politician Moses Akaranga.

Mr Mudavadi was consequently consigned to the political cold after the election loss. 

He made a comeback during the 2005 constitutional referendum when he joined the NO side and found himself on the same side with Raila Odinga who was then in Liberal Democratic Party.

After the referendum, Mr Mudavadi joined other politicians who converted the Orange camp that emerged victorious in the 2005 referendum into the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

In 2007, Mr Mudavadi was picked as Mr Odinga’s running mate on the ODM ticket. They lost the election to Mr Kibaki and the outcome of the poll was disputed by ODM, triggering the 2007/8 post-election violence that claimed more than 1,100 lives

This forced Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga to form a Grand Coalition government where they agreed to share government slots on a 50-50 basis.

At the time, Mr Odinga became the prime minister and he went ahead to name Mr Mudavadi one of the two deputy prime ministers, with the other slot going to Mr Kenyatta.

In 2012, Mr Mudavadi declared his intention to contest the presidency and sought the ODM ticket in the nominations.

He later decamped from the party, accusing Mr Odinga of placing hurdles in the way of other aspirants in the nomination process.

Mr Mudavadi joined the United Democratic Party (UDP) and became its presidential flagbearer. After parting ways with Mr Odinga, the ANC leader briefly joined the Jubilee Coalition that brought UDF, URP and the TNA.

But Mr Mr Mudavadi’s parted ways with President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, complaining he had been short changed after signing an agreement in which he was to be the coalition’s flagbearer in the 2013 polls.

After their fallout, Mr Kenyatta admitted he had signed the agreement with Mr Mudavadi but explained that he had been misled by “dark forces” to append his signature to the deal.

In the 2013 election, Mr Mudavadi emerged third behind Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

This, again, sent him into political oblivion with critics writing him off from the political arena.

His attempts to rebrand UDF ahead of the 2017 general election hit a snag, forcing him to abandon it and form his own party.

It is the move to form ANC that helped revive his political career. He described the party as his own shirt and termed the UDF as a borrowed shirt.

He then formed the National Supper Alliance (Nasa) that replaced the Coalition for Restoration of Democracy (Cord) that Mr Odinga used in the 2013 polls and lost.

The wind of Nasa blew fast and attracted Mr Odinga's ODM, Kalonzo Musyoka's Wiper and Moses Wetang'ula's Ford Kenya.

Nasa battled with President Kenyatta's Jubilee Party in a spirited campaign that saw the Supreme Court annul the results of the 2017 General Election.

The alliance had an agreement that blocked Mr Odinga from contesting in the 2022 polls whether Nasa formed government with the ODM leader as president in 2017 or not.

But the alliance was rocked by disagreements after Mr Odinga maintained that he had not spent his last bullet and would be in the race for the presidency in the 2022 polls. 

The disagreements over the sharing of the political party’s funds among parties in the Nasa led to the breakup of Nasa and the eventual dissolution of the coalition by the Registrar of Political Parties after ANC, Wiper and Ford Kenya withdrew their membership.

Mr Mudavadi has since been opposed to Mr Odinga's candidature and joined his colleagues in the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) in declining to offer him their support again.

This has seen the ANC leader aligned with Dr Ruto's UDA party even as Mr Mudavadi insisted that his name will be on the 2022 presidential ballot paper.

"I am presenting myself for the presidency and offer to revive the country's economy. I want Kenyans to look at me as Mudavadi and not in the eyes of Ruto or Raila," Mr Mudavadi said in the recent past.

Efforts by President Kenyatta to reunite the former Nasa principals to forge a united front against Dr Ruto have hit a snag with each of the OKA principals insisting they will be in the race for the presidency.


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