Together with his wife Tessie, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader and just crowned presidential candidate, Musalia Mudavadi, has three children.
He is a calm man who hardly shows his emotions unless necessary.
During a previous up-close-and-candid interview with this writer, the seasoned politician, a one-time Minister for Finance and Vice President spoke fondly about his family as he opened up about what drew him to Tessie, the love of his life.
“What drew you to her?” I asked then.
“Oh my!” he responded, chuckling, a little flustered. “Good values, by the way. You meet people, you start talking…”
“You mean her?” I prodded.
“Yeah!” he said, smiling.
“And then you find that as you converse, you observe how you are connecting in terms of the thought process. Do they have the humour, do they have the sense of purpose, the focus - you know, all these things help in shaping the kind of relationship you are looking for? So I would say that as I looked at her and we talked, with time, the values that I saw in her are the ones that attracted me to her. And frankly speaking, I have no regrets.”
They have been married for a little over 31 years, having marked their Pearl Anniversary on November 17, 2020. People tend to tiptoe around those in positions of power, but his wife keeps him grounded. He said during the interview that she ss the one who tells him what everyone is afraid of telling him.
“She has been a good mother to my children and where I have been absent because of my political career, she has filled the gap,” he said. They have three children – Moses, Michael and Maryanne.
Other than moments with his family, which he said were his ultimate happy times, he gave an off-the-wall description of one of his happiest memories - hilarious because it seemed unlike him, yet relatable.
“You know when you are in school and you are writing your last paper in an exam? It’s like you have been liberated!” he said as we broke into laughter. “You know what I mean? When you are at the university level and you’ve done your final exam? By the time you are putting that final full stop to say that you are done, it is very exciting. It is such a relief!”
In his autobiography, Soaring Above the Storms of Passion, Mudavadi gives an account of his high school days in Nairobi School, describing how, for instance, they preferred Limuru Girls and Kenya High School over Alliance Girls, because “they were too academic and book focused while we wanted fun. Instead of talking to you about social issues, they would give you a lecture in chemistry and biology and go on and on with that kind of stuff.” Quite the typical high school student.
Whenever there was a meeting with a girls’ school, they would all flock around Ben Wakhungu to borrow his exclusive Brut Cologne. “The can in our hands, we would generously spray ourselves and step out smelling like perfume factories, ready to meet the girls…. I still hope to buy him some cologne someday, in belated appreciation,” he writes.
In that interview, Mudavadi revealed that he had been celebrated as the long awaited son on his mother’s side, back when not having a son was considered disastrous in their culture.
Today, he looks forward to one day leading the country. “The truth is I have declared my interest in the presidency of this country and that is something that I say that God-willing, hopefully will be achieved,” he said.