Mudavadi endorsed as Amani coalition flagbearer

By Mwaniki Munuhe

Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi and UDF leader MusaliaMudavadi after he was endorsed as the party presidential candidate.[PHOTO: COLLINS KWEYU/STANDARD]
NAIROBI; KENYA: Musalia Mudavadi was endorsed as the United Democratic Forum presidential candidate in an event that also rolled out the third major political coalition as the country prepares for the March 4 General Election.

Although Mudavadi did not name a running mate, he declared he would humbly take up the challenge against the other coalitions contesting the presidency, the Jubilee Alliance led by Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga’s Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD).

In his acceptance speech at UDF’s National Delegates’ Conference at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, Mudavadi, who is the Deputy Prime Minister, pledged to promote peace and stability and make every effort to transform the country.

SEE ALSO :Don't rig census to favour certain regions, warns Mudavadi

“I humbly accept my nomination as the presidential candidate for this alliance. I want to humbly submit that I will not let you down,” he declared.

And in a warning shot to other presidential contenders, Mudavadi told party members that he had shown other competing parties the “red card”.

“I have said in the past and I want to repeat here that poverty has no dignity. Those who intend that Kenyans remain poor must be put on notice that Mudavadi is here and your time is up.”

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.

Accompanied by his three children Michael, Moses and Maryanne and his wife Tessie, Mudavadi said   UDF and partner parties would spend the next few weeks streamlining their political manifestos and preparing one comprehensive document.

 Mudavadi, who will be running for office under the Amani coalition, which brings together United Democratic Forum Party, New Ford-Kenya and Kanu, received the endorsement of Eugene Wamalwa who announced yesterday he would be stepping down from the presidential race to support the UDF candidate.

SEE ALSO :Owalo gets ANC Kibra nod

 Wamalwa, who heads the New Ford-Kenya Party, was among party leaders at the delegates’ conference, which was also attended by Kanu chairman Gideon Moi.

Running mate decision

Mr Moi, whom some delegates had expected would be named the running mate, endorsed Mudavadi for president, describing the Deputy Prime Minister as a politician who had consistently sacrificed his personal and political ambitions for the sake of others.

“In 2002 you sacrificed your ambitions for Uhuru Kenyatta, in 2007 you stepped down for Raila Odinga, but? in 2013 your time has come,” said the Kanu leader.

Wamalwa showed up when the conference was in progress, taking many delegates by surprise. The New Ford Kenya leaders had previously been holding talks with the Jubilee Alliance but the negotiations collapsed when Wamalwa reportedly refused to accept a position he was offered in a post-election Jubilee government, saying the position carried little clout. He later began talks with the Eagle Alliance led by presidential aspirants Peter Kenneth and Raphael Tuju, but details about these talks have remained sketchy.

SEE ALSO :Ruto, Raila prepare for a bruising battle in Kibra by-election

Addressing delegates yesterday, Wamalwa said Mudavadi could be trusted to unite Kenyans.

“The next election is not going to be a two-horse race as many have said, it is not going to be about reforms, it is going to be about transformation.

“I want to tell you that you are better off in a safe pair of hands with Musalia Mudavadi.”

Wamalwa’s support is expected to boost Mudavadi’s stature in Western Kenya which has a large number of its population backing other political parties. “I want to tell those that believed Western cannot vote as a block that Western is and will remain united,” the said the New Ford Kenya leader who is also the Minister for Justice. 

Like Wamalwa, Mudavadi’s candidacy has been beset with problems. Prior to his endorsement, Mudavadi was entangled in a tug war with the Jubilee coalition led by The National Alliance (TNA) Party leader Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto.

SEE ALSO :Uhuru has no legacy other than debts, says Mudavadi

On December 4, Mudavadi and Uhuru had signed an agreement which formally stated that the TNA leader would abandon his presidential ambitions and support the UDF leader as Jubilee Alliance’s flag bearer for the presidency.

Former allies

However, Uhuru later reneged on this agreement, saying it had not been endorsed by the Jubilee Alliance’s top decision making body.

This led to a dramatic falling out of the two former allies, and a few weeks later, Jubilee picked Uhuru as its presidential flag bearer with United Republican Party’s William Ruto as his running mate.

Wamalwa’s entry to the Peace Coalition was the latest in a series of political dealing making.  Kanu secretary General Nick Salat said the Amani Coalition signed the agreement on Thursday. 

However, the agreement by the Peace Coalition  comes at a time when December 4 deadline for depositing such coalition agreements with the Registrar of Political Parties,  has expired.

This could mean that the agreement itself may just be a gentleman’s agreement and any differences that may arise in future over the pact may be difficult to resolve.

But these issues were overshadowed by the pomp and colour during the ceremony also attended by MPs, among them, Jeremiah Kioni, Ndiritu Muriithi, Helen Sambili, Bonny Khalwale, Justus Kizito, and former minister Mukhisa Kituyi.

Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.

Mudavadi UDF Kanu Jubilee Alliance