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Mudavadi reels from defection earthquake in ANC

Deputy President William Ruto with ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi during a political rally in Bungoma on January 28, 2022. [Standard]

Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress has suffered a wave of defections, which the party leader attributes to thunderbolts from State House.

Reeling from an earthquake emanating from unprecedented quarters, Mudavadi decried the invasion of his party. He said his MPs have been “bought”, likening Western Kenya to present-day Venice, where politicians are being bought like merchandise from stalls.

Adopting a philosophical demeanour, Mudavadi lamented: “Is it possible that Western Kenya is the modern-day Venice? Kwa sababu wabunge wetu wananunuliwa kwa njia ambayo haieleweki (Our MPs are bought at an incredible rate.)” 

Mudavadi mentioned MPs he complained had decamped from his stable as a result of what he called makombora (missiles) from State House. 

They are Oku Kaunya (Teso South), Tindi Mwale (Butere), Titus Khamala (Lurambi), Christopher Aseka (Khwisero) and Peter Nabulindo (Matungu).

The ANC leader was referring to Tuesday’s meeting of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Western Kenya MPs, which was perceived as the genesis of the ANC haemorrhage. Vihiga Senator George Khaniri also attended the State House meeting.

Aseka said: “(ODM leader) Raila gave us nothing. We are just convicted to support him. Our party leader (Musalia) said we have the freedom of association and we were exercising our rights as he is.”

Mudavadi’s immediate former deputy in the party, Ayub Savula, who is Lugari MP, faulted the ANC leader for dragging the President’s name in the affair.

“The President is retiring. He is not a competitor in the election. Mudavadi should not be misled by Deputy President William Ruto,” Savula said.

But it was the absence of the majority of MPs elected through ANC at the rally in Bungoma that made Mudavadi’s losses clearer.

Only four out of the party’s 13 MPs attended the rally. They were Alfred Agoi (Sabatia,) Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale,) Beatrice Adagala (Vihiga) and Kassim Tandaza (Matuga).

More MPs are reported to be on their way out.

“Chama si wajumbe, chama ni watu (A party is not defined by the MPs, but by the people),” Mudavadi said, citing similar defections in Western Kenya in 1992 that weakened the opposition.

“In Western, there were five defections. But when the elections were held months later, none of them was re-elected. May the earthquake strike their constituencies.”

The four lawmakers, who Mudavadi declared had left him, met Raila on Thursday night, in what they said was to discuss their move into the Azimio la Umoja movement.

Their meeting with Raila came hours after the former prime minister received 16 MCAs who had defected from ANC.

Savula joined Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi’s Democratic Action Party-Kenya, with Osotsi and Kaunya moving into ODM.

Aseka said the Thursday meeting was to strategise their campaign for Raila in Western Kenya. The move came in the wake of Mudavadi’s and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula’s newly-minted alliance with Ruto.

“We didn’t agree with Musalia’s move to join Ruto as he never consulted us. We also welcomed Khamala and Mwale to Azimio,” Aseka said yesterday.

Khamala described the Thursday evening meeting as “a cup of tea with Baba”.

“He is a statesman and we go to him for wisdom,” Khamala said. He was, however, non-committal on his move to Azimio.