Amani National Congress (ANC) Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi’s heightened political activities have left many wondering just what his game-plan is as political heavyweights train their eyes on the 2022 elections.
The former Vice President has lately been traversing the country, at times delivering hard-hitting statements against the Jubilee administration, and also taking on those who are seen as possible opponents in his bid for the presidency in the next elections.
Mudavadi appears to have disengaged from the trappings of the National Super Alliance (NASA) - the coalition he was affiliated to as a co-principal and whose name he mothered for purposes of the last general election – to chart his independent ways ahead of the next polls. While in NASA, Mudavadi was down the pecking order behind ODM Leader Raila Odinga and Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, the coalition’s ticket bearers in 2017.
But with the coalition already declared dead and both Raila and Kalonzo having warmed up to the government after the "Handshake,” Mudavadi has taken it upon himself to be the strongest critic of the Jubilee administration, trying to position himself as official leader of the Opposition.
As the country continues to face hard economic times, it is Mudavadi who has constantly attacked the Jubilee administration’s appetite for external borrowing, which he says has plunged the country into heavy debt. On this, Raila and Kalonzo have largely been quiet. Even then, he has dedicated much of his energy on attacks against Raila and Deputy President William Ruto.
Initially, Mudavadi had trained his guns on Ruto, often questioning the source of the money the DP keeps contributing in churches weekly. Lately though, Mudavadi appears to have gone slow on his attacks against Ruto, training his guns on Raila.
This comes amid murmurs that the two - whose relationship has resembled a pendulum over the years - could be looking at a partnering for the 2022 elections. But Mudavadi has trashed this talk, insisting that he and the DP will be competitors in the polls.
Ruto, who has been making inroads in Mudavadi’s Western Kenya stronghold, has repeatedly been calling on Mudavadi to consider working with him, a position that is strongly fronted by Western Kenya politicians supporting Ruto’s bid.
“These are two strong politicians who have worked together before. There is no reason why they still cannot be under one ticket in 2022,” said Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, a key supporter of Ruto.
However, Lugari MP Ayub Savula dismisses any talk of a joint bid between Musalia and Ruto, insisting that the ANC’s surest bet was through closely working with Raila to inherit the strong political base of the ODM leader.
Savula, who is now Mudavadi’s Deputy Party leader, says they have been asking their party leader to go slow on his attacks against Raila and maintain a cordial relationship with him, as a strategy to inherit his political base when the ODM leader retires.
“Raila is in his sunset days politically. His political life is soon coming to an end and we are advising Musalia that he should maintain his good relations with him so that when he exits active politics he would be the automatic candidate to inherit that political base,” Savula said.
Savula said that together with ANC allied MPs, they were waiting for Mudavadi to return from his tour of United States to talk to him about working closely with Raila, as they did under NASA.
However, Mudavadi’s recent remarks about Raila and the handshake with Uhuru does not indicate a politician keen on working with the ODM supremo.
While addressing Kenyans in the US, Mudavadi said that Raila was forced to the handshake after some Western countries threatened to revoke his visa and those of his close relatives unless he got into a working arrangement with Uhuru. “I believe in telling you the truth. What gave birth to Handshake is personal survival rather than patriotism."
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