Raila, Mudavadi rivalry heats up as stakes rise in Kibra by-election

ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi addresses the press at Emara Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi after he arrived from his tour of the US. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Barely three hours after landing in the country from the US, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi revisited his growing tiff with ODM leader Raila Odinga, and vowed to teach him a lesson in the Kibra by-election.

The ANC leader, who launched the first salvo against Raila while in the US early this week, said he will pitch camp in Kibra to bring an end to the injustices inflicted upon the constituents by many years of Raila’s stranglehold.

The constituency is regarded as the backyard of ODM and the immediate former MP, the late Ken Okoth was elected through the party. In the past, Raila represented Kibra when it was under the larger Lang’ata constituency.

Campaigns are ongoing in Kibra ahead of the November 7 by-election and all eyes are on Mudavadi’s candidate Eliud Owalo, Jubilee’s MacDonald Mariga and ODM’s Imran Okoth, brother to the former MP.

Yesterday, Mudavadi said he had started spinning “the wheel of change” in the constituency and promised to liberate the people from the grip of individuals who regard it as their “doormat and personal property.”

In a statement seen to be targeting ODM, Mudavadi said the moment of awakening was in Kibra and warned those who consider the constituency their play field to prepare for defeat.

“Kibra cannot be anyone’s doormat as is being suggested. Nor is it anyone’s private property, their house or their bedroom,” charged Mudavadi when he addressed the media at Ole Sereni Hotel.

He said he had felt palpable panic among competitors and vowed to teach them a lesson by heeding the call by Kibra people asking for change that has been elusive for several years.

“Nothing demonstrates the craving for change in Kibra than the fact that its youth have often put their lives on the line for change that has never come. And just as often, many of those lives have been lost for nothing,” Mudavadi said.

While away, Mudavadi said, he received information that cash mongers were flaunting massive sums of money in an attempt to influence the November 7 by-election.

Last bullet

“Kibra is not a sack of potatoes to be auctioned to the highest bidder. Nor is it a cruse instrument to be deployed for selfish ends. I urge the people of Kibra to reject attempts to auction them,” Mudavadi said.

He added that it was time to tell Kenyans the truth even as he spoke about his message in the diaspora that the Handshake between Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta had nothing to do with patriotism.

For Mudavadi and Raila, once allies and part of the National Super Alliance (NASA) and friends who know each other’s secrets, their fight has erupted fast and furious.

While addressing Kenyans at Springfield City Massachusetts, the ANC leader described Raila as a spent force whose last bullet was expended in 2017.

But it was his claim that the political handshake between Raila and President Kenyatta was commissioned in duress that hurt ODM.

“We do not want to define this as cowardly, but Kenyans can make their own judgement. It is also common for his ilk to make outlandish and totally outrageous statements, to gain the ever elusive mileage” ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said.

As Mudavadi was going for Raila in Nairobi, his deputy leader Ayuba Savula was in Lugari vowing to block ODM from receiving the political parties fund millions until it agrees to share with fellow coalition partners.

Savula said ANC will not be cowed by ODM threats and intimidation in regard to the money. Mudavadi party’s nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi however said his party leader was behaving like a jilted lover. He said Mudavadi, as the owner of NASA, needs to take responsibility, “be honourable and cease name-calling.”

ODM’s Opiyo Wandayi on the other hand claimed that Mudavadi was using Raila as a scapegoat for his lacklustre political performance.

Dual citizenship

“We sacrificed a lot to have Raila where he is, even as he enjoys State largesse. When it comes to 2022, we hope he will look at our input and pay back,” said Vihiga MP Alfred Agoi.

Yesterday, Mudavadi unpacked a message from Kenyans in diaspora, calling for review of laws prohibiting those with dual citizenship from enjoying leadership positions. He specifically poked holes at how Mwende Mwinzi’s ambassadorial nomination was opposed because of her dual citizenship, saying it was unrealistic and laws should be changed.

Incidentally, Raila had issued a statement on the same matter earlier in the day.

“How is it possible that Kenya has employed a Chief Executive Officer from Europe (Jonny Andersen) to head Kenya Airports Authority without anybody asking the foreigner to relinquish the citizenship of his country, yet we deny Mwende’s appointment?” posed Mudavadi.

Ms Mwende was appointed to represent Kenya as an ambassador to South Korea.

He also said Kenyans in diaspora wanted to be allowed to participate in elections.

[Additional reporting by John Shilitsa]