By Peter Atsiaya and Vitalis Kimutai
Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi raised eyebrows when the task of inviting President Kibaki to address the nation during Friday’s national Madaraka Day Celebrations in Nairobi fell on his shoulders.
In the absence of Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, the task was either going to fall on him or Mr Uhuru Kenyatta who is also DPM, but it appears the President settled on the Sabatia MP because such a decision, with critical implication on State protocol, cannot be done without his being consulted.
But he left even before the President was through with the day’s burden, this time to board a military chopper at his disposal. Also enhanced is his motorcade, something even he himself delights over and claims it is because of his security.
Sources around him also reveal Mudavadi has in acquired a new four-wheel-drive, armoured custom-made, white Toyota Lexus, a monster of a machine with all the security add-ons you can think of, including bulletproofed body, mirrors and all-terrain run-flat tyres.
The estimated cost of the vehicle powered by a massive fuel-guzzling V-12 engine is Sh36 million.
Although the car is regularly in his convoy, the DPM does not use it when entering the venues of his rallies. It sports the latest KBR series registration plate.
But that is not all in the new face of Mudavadi. The DPM, previously soft-spoken, now displays confounding streak of combativeness in his political approach that is much unlike his previous disposition and language.
Despite never having run a party of his own, his new party, United Democratic Front, which at the formative stages was linked to one of President Kibaki’s top aides, Prof Nick Wanjohi, appears to be spreading its wings fast.
The party is flexing both financial and political muscle on the Presidential campaign.
Unlike the laid back, modest and gentlemanly politician of the past, a new Mudavadi is emerging and is being courted by those who believe he may be the compromise candidate for the forces set against his former boss in Orange Democratic Movement, Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
After the Nyayo National Stadium fete, Mudavadi was flown in a military chopper to Western Kenya for a rally in Bungoma.
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