Mudavadi keeps country guessing on his plans as election clock ticks

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi during a service at Redeemed Gospel Church, Liberty Christian Centre in Nairobi, on Sunday, January 9, 2022 [David Njaaga, Standard]

With less than seven months to the August 9 General Election and campaigns intensifying across the country, Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi has kept his supporters in the dark about his future plans.

Mudavadi, an astute politician, has been sending mixed signals on whether or not he will be on the ballot, sparking off speculation on his next move.

Speculation is rife that the former vice president could be inching closer to joining forces with Deputy President William Ruto, claims Mudavadi has in the past denied.

The former deputy prime minister cuts an image of a man at a crossroads, having recently lost several MPs and Members of County Assembly to Azimio la Umoja movement. He has kept a low profile since the defections.

Mudavadi has lost MPs Peter Nabulindo (Matungu), Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated), Christopher Aseka (Khwisero), Oku Kaunya (Teso North) and Ayub Savula (Lugari) who joined Azimio la Umoja.

Savula argues that his party boss ought to support ODM chief Raila Odinga’s presidential bid “because it will make it easy for him (Mudavadi) to ascend to power in 2027.”

According to the lawmaker, Mudavadi could end up as a loser in case he opts to work with DP Ruto. 

The ANC deputy party leader is categorical that he could ditch ANC party should Mudavadi team up with Ruto, who is going for the top seat in the country.

Mudavadi is said to be in the horns of a dilemma, with a section of supporters said to be pushing him to go all the way to the tape while others want him to negotiate with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila in order to assume the Nairobi governor seat.

Another group of supporters are said to be piling pressure on Mudavadi to make up his mind on whether to work with DP Ruto or Raila.

Until recently, when he announced that he will keep the door for negotiations open, Mudavadi has been consistent that he will not play second fiddle in the August 9 polls.

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, a close ally of DP Ruto, said they would be glad to have Mudavadi in their team.

“He is taking long to declare whether or not he will join the ‘Hustler’ nation, we know he is under pressure from the Azimio La Umoja architects to support Raila but we shall continue courting him,” said the lawmaker.

According to Washiali, all they want is to have a strong political formation with a national outlook. “Mudavadi will help spruce up our political outfit’s image.”

But the lawmaker says Mudavadi should not make unrealistic demands “because time is not on our side. He cannot be made Ruto’s running mate; let him join the team first and help DP Ruto clinch the seat, things will fall into place.”

Nabulindo disclosed that he was under pressure from his constituents to work with Raila in Azimio La Umoja.

“They told me that I should not take them into the opposition, Azimio La Umoja is likely to form the next government and we must be in there to be able to secure development projects for my people,” he said.

Aseka indicated that it would be better for Mudavadi to team up with Raila and prepare to take over from the latter in 2027 “when he retires.”

Martin Oloo, a political commentator-cum-lawyer, argues that all signs point at a possible alliance between Mudavadi and Ruto.

“He could have resolved to embrace Ruto as a person, their deal will not take into consideration the interests of the people of Western,” he opines.

“Mudavadi has been talking ill of Raila but rarely attacks DP Ruto, we have also seen his close allies attend events organised by Ruto,” argues Oloo in reference to recent Eldoret UDA rally attended by Kakamega senator Cleophas Malala.

Senator Malala argues that Mudavadi should be left to choose his friends amid ongoing political realignments, sentiments the Amani leader has echoed.

But Oloo believes Mudavadi risks losing political ‘premium’ soon if he fails to make a decision.

“He should decide whether he wants to remain relevant or not, politics is about decision-making; it is clear that Ruto and Raila will make a stab at the presidency, they are campaigning all over but Mudavadi is nowhere to be seen.”

Oloo believes it would be a waste of time for Mudavadi to insist that he will be on the ballot given his “dwindling” political fortunes as his allies desert him.

Mudavadi skipped the OKA principals meeting in Naivasha on Friday as he was said to be chairing ANC meeting in Nairobi ahead of the party national delegates conference slated for January 23 at the Bomas of Kenya.

“He is engaging in time-wasting tactics which may not help much, he must make difficult decisions or else he could sink,” said Oloo.  

But MPs Titus Khamala (Lurambi), Malulu Injendi (Malava) and Mudavadi’s chief campaign adviser Prof Amukowa Anangwe insist that Mudavadi is in the presidential race.

It remains to be seen what political move Mudavadi will make after the anticipated NDC meeting.