Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has entered a partnership deal with Deputy President William Ruto that is set to shake up political alliances ahead of the August 9 presidential elections.
The two made the announcement yesterday on the day a hard-hitting Mudavadi launched his presidential bid by sharply criticising President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration for running down the economy and piling up the national debt.
Mudavadi, who had promised a political earthquake, accused that the government of formalising corruption by allowing “criminal minds to take over the budgeting process”.
Speaking during the ANC National Delegates Congress at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, he claimed that the government was bankrupt and was being steered by officials who do not pay taxes.
He described government functionaries as the “biggest burden Kenyans have to carry” while rallying his supporters to reject “political projects and their sinister schemes”.
The ANC leader described borrowing by Jubilee as reckless, saying it had put the country at risk of being auctioned by international lenders. He made the remarks with DP Ruto – who is second in command in the Jubilee administration – sitting right behind.
Mudavadi also outrightly rejected overtures for him to back ODM leader Raila Odinga for the presidency, declaring that joining Azimio la Umoja Movement - was not an option for him in the succession race. Raila is expected to vie on the Azimio ticket.
“ANC’s stand, which I am privileged to pronounce, is that the spectre called Azimio is not an option. We may not know who is going with us, or who will be our comrades at arms on this mission. But we know who they will not be,” said Mudavadi.
He criticised what he called “weaponisation of State agencies” which he claimed were being used in an elaborate scheme to blackmail leaders into backing some candidates.
ANC, Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), and Ford Kenya, whose leader is Moses Wetang’ula, have since lined up a series of joint rallies, starting in Nakuru on Wednesday in what could mark the beginning of major political realignments in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Ruto said after Nakuru, they will head to western Kenya on Friday and central Kenya on Saturday.
The DP said the political deal with Mudavadi was a culmination of prolonged negotiations. He said they were ready to make sacrifices in the run-up to the polls in a statement that implied one of them will have to drop his presidential ambitions.
“I want to confirm on behalf of UDA that we will work with ANC, Ford Kenya and any party that wants to walk this journey of uniting our country,” said Ruto. “The statement is the beginning of a journey to the next General Election. We have had in-depth discussion with our brother and agree that Kenya is bigger and we will make sacrifices”.
The DP said only ANC and UDA could fix the country’s economy through their bottom-up and “pesa mfukoni” economic models.
In his hard-hitting speech, Mudavadi said ANC will not work with untrustworthy friends.
“We have travelled with untrustworthy persons before and even when we have given them another chance to redeem themselves, they have failed miserably by returning to their old mischief,” he said in a jibe targeted at his opponents.
He said ANC will be seeking partnership with political players who can be trusted while ruling out working with the ODM leader.
The ANC leader also criticised Cotu boss Francis Atwoli, accusing him of abandoning workers.
He said it was tragic that the once robust labour movement had been vandalised and cannibalised by clueless and self-serving clownish leadership.
“It will not be that a clownish cowboy club that labour for a few individuals who openly boast and display the trapping of opulence whose sources remain mysterious,” said Mudavadi, who was recently stripped of his role as Luhyia spokesman and replaced by Governor Wycliffe Oparanya at an event presided by Cotu boss Francis Atwoli at Bukhungu Stadium.
On his part, Senator Wetang’ula vowed to stand with Mudavadi in the journey to transform the economy.
“When I was put in a situation that I described as messy, Mudavadi stood with me shoulder to shoulder. I want to reciprocate to you here that you will never walk alone,” he said.
“It is not an accident that Ruto and his team are here; it is because we believe in building an equitable Kenya. No politician is limited in making choices, and the choice we make is what will determine your path,” he said.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua lauded Mudavadi for speaking the truth on what was ailing the country’s economy.
“It cannot be that the people rejected a project in 2002 only to have another project 20 years later,” said the MP.
Garissa Township MP Aden Duale blamed graft and high national debt for loss of jobs and closure of companies.
He also criticised the erosion of the powers of independent institutions.
“When the history of the Republic of Kenya is written, one page would come out clearly of a government that overthrew independent institutions,” said Duale.