When Musalia Mudavadi is crowned as the country’s first Prime Cabinet Secretary in a few weeks, this will call for celebrations. Although this is not the first time he will be ascending to such a high office, having served as a vice president 20 years ago, his return to government will certainly call for celebration.
When the Amani National Congress party leader first tasted a dose of freedom, he celebrated the milestone in style. In all his schooldays, Mudavadi confesses that he had been forbidden from tasting beer by his father but things changed when he graduated.
When he ultimately cleared education, his father Moses Mudavadi who was a minister had grand plans for his son.
“My father was very happy when I was now in employment. Yet for some reason, he thought I needed support. He found a used blue Datsun 120Y and bought it for me for the price of Sh75,000,” Mudavadi says in his memoirs, Soaring Above The Storms of Passion.
And as the old man ceremoniously handed over the ignition keys of the car to his son, he remarked, “I would like to give you some support so that you can carry on that way.”
That said, the minister initiated the young Musalia into the club of adults by inviting him for a beer at Hotel Boulevard, accompanied by his personal assistant Elan Ngase Lumwaji.
Musalia too wanted to return a hand now that he had just been gifted a car and had received his first salary. That is how he came to buy his father two Tusker Premium beers at Hotel Boulevard.
His favourite watering hole, however, was not Hotel Boulevard but Mateso Bila Chuki in Eastleigh where he enjoyed memorable moments with his gang of friends who cruised the city’s nightclubs in the Datsun.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Musalia left college. His father too is no more and will not be available to imbibe some beer to celebrate his son's return from the political cold where he has been for almost 10 years.
But now that he is poised to be the third most powerful man in government after President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua, the ANC leader will wish his father was here to see how much of a man he has been.
Though he has been close to power, there have been moments, as he explains in his memoir when he was almost overwhelmed by powerful forces like being arrested after the 1982 coup for his involvement in university student politics.
Like a sphinx, Musalia has mastered the art of rising from the ashes.
This is the second time he will claim his place in government without going through elections. In 2008 after the much contested 2007 election, he was named a deputy prime minister in the government of national unity where President Mwai Kibaki had a power-sharing deal with Raila Odinga.