By Roselyne Obala and Geoffrey Mosoku
The Jubilee Alliance’s guarded secret finally came out when Mr Musalia Mudavadi said he was lured into joining it by a deal signed with Mr Uhuru Kenyatta purportedly handing him the presidential ticket.
Both Deputy Prime Ministers washed dirty linen in public, conceding they had decided the ticket holder on their own in boardroom style, even as Uhuru curiously claimed he was coerced to do so by ‘powerful forces’, which he did not specify.
“He came to me and told me that if we are elected, the West will not give Kenya money; that our tea can’t be sold abroad and that Kenyans are not ready for another Kikuyu president as this will cause more bloodshed. Given that I love peace, then I decided to quit and support Musalia,” Uhuru told delegates.
“You as party members and MPs have spoken and I have had your voice; I am ready to face off with my colleague at Kasarani and if wananchi say its him I will not contest any seat but rather work with him in any capacity he so wishes,” he added, referring to the cancelled delegates conference earlier set for last Monday then Tuesday. Mudavadi on the other hand told the country: “Uhuru said that after consultations, he had decided to withdraw his candidature and wished to support me as the coalition candidate for the president.”
Mudavadi said with the present uncertainty over the coalition, he felt compelled to tell Kenyans the truth concerning the deal that led to the signing of the pact between TNA, URP and UDF. “The public has been subjected to a cocktail of speculations, rumours and half truths about the circumstances under which UDF party entered a coalition with URP and TNA,” he said.
So at the end of the day the fate of Mudavadi in the alliance appeared in doubt as he insisted he would remain but also held onto his previous arguments that the stalemate would be resolved by way of consensus among Jubilee’s top leadership.
His precarious position appeared to be compounded by the fact that Uhuru and his The National Alliance MPs and party officials, were still adamant that the winner of the ticket would be decided through a delegates system, not individual trade-offs.
With Mudavadi not willing to take part in nominations by delegates, while Uhuru, who was the guaranteed the ticket under contention in his first deal with Eldoret North MP William Ruto, vowing he would not take part on consensus, there might be little option left for Mudavadi other than to play along or jump ship.
This was evident because of the strong position Uhuru’s allies took, to the extent of even dismissing Mudavadi as one out to be given the ticket on a silver platter.
It did not help matters that Mudavadi and his United Democratic Forum insisted the agreement signed at Uhuru’s home in the presence of a team of lawyers was binding even after TNA parliamentary group rescinded it on the basis that they were not consulted and was undemocratic in nature. It was another day full of drama as Mudavadi convened a press conference aired live on television, and attended by high-ranking UDF politicians and partners Kanu with whom he signed a separate deal before moving over to Jubilee.
Mudavadi detailed how Uhuru went to his house on December 4 and pleaded with him to join the Jubilee Alliance in the presence of other Jubilee leaders Mr Chirau Ali Mwakwere (Matuga), Najib Balala (Mvita) and Ruto. Mudavadi said they first signed a draft agreement at the meeting in his house before moving to Uhuru’s residence for another meeting.
According to him, it was during the second gathering that a legally binding document again endorsing his candidature was signed.
The signatories were Uhuru and Mudavadi with two lawyers representing them and Ruto also appending his signature as witness.
During a meeting with TNA delegates at Multi-Media University, Nairobi, Uhuru agreed he had indeed signed the document endorsing Mudavadi as the presidential candidate for the Jubilee Alliance.
But he lamented some powerful forces he did not name had coerced him into entering the deal against his conscience. The Gatundu South MP claimed that he was warned his presidency would face many challenges, among them economic sanctions against the country.
Other threats allegedly mentioned, forcing him to step aside, included an aid freeze by Kenya’s international partners and talk that Kenyans were not ready to vote for another Kikuyu president.
Uhuru told the delegates that he met TNA MPs at Panafric Hotel on Monday night and briefed them on his decision to leave the ticket to Mudavadi.
“The MPs rejected the deal and said only delegates will decide who becomes the flag bearer and that is now what is going to happen,” said Uhuru.