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Musalia Mudavadi ends UK tour, tells rivals to brace for 2017 polls

POLITICS
By Stephen Makabila | August 2nd 2015
President Uhuru Kenyatta is received by ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi (centre) and other Western leaders in Mumias last month. Mudavadi has declared his candidature for the presidency in 2017. [PHOTO: BENJAMIN SAKWA/STANDARD]

NAIROBI: Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi return today after a three-week reflective trip to the United Kingdom, with a promise of a bold comeback in the political scene in readiness for the 2017 presidential race.

His ANC party is now registered and was on Friday gazette by the Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u.

Mudavadi, who in 2013 came a distant third in the presidential race under the United Democratic Forum (UDF) after Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee and Raila Odinga of CORD, has already declared ANC as his vehicle in the second stab.

“You should expect a lot of energised political activity by ANC in coming days, weeks and months as I step up my focus on the 2017 presidential race,” Mudavadi told The Standard on Sunday in a telephone interview from London.

While in London, Mudavadi met the British doyen of Liberal Democratic politics Lord David Martin Scott Steel, who is Baron of Aikwood to discuss devolution among other issues.

Lord Steel and Mudavadi’s talks centred on best practices for liberal democracy ideology and international links. ANC experts are already working on the party policy paper and Mudavadi will be seeking partnership with political parties in UK.

The ANC leader also met the Director of African Affairs in the UK foreign office Nic Hailey on economic and political developments in Kenya, the war on terror and regional issues such as the crises in South Sudan and Burundi, and the controversies dogging presidential elections in Rwanda and Uganda.

“I sought British views and positions on the anti-terror war and the escalating situation in the Great Lakes Region and the civil war in South Sudan. You know Kenya is intimately engaged in these matters through Igad and the East African Community,” Mudavadi said.

The former Deputy Prime Minister declared Kenya should seek home-grown solutions to its problems, and that politicians should outgrow petty politics and focus on issues that can unite Kenyans.

Mudavadi, who was away during last weekend’s tour of the country by United States President Barack Obama, explained his UK tour was planned much earlier and there was no way he could have rescheduled it.

“I was in the UK for a crucial engagement besides attending the graduation of my two sons. I am happy other Kenyans hosted Obama and issues of concern to the country were discussed,” he said.

RE-BRANDED PARTY

Mudavadi said he would, from the coming week, begin intense political activities aimed at popularising ANC.

“We have scheduled a press conference this Wednesday where the party leader will officially receive the certificate from the Secretary General and elaborate more on his UK tour,” said Kibisu Kabatesi, Mudavadi’s spokesperson.

Kabatesi downplayed claims that Mudavadi could team up with President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of the 2017 poll. “There could be re-alignments but what we know for now is that Mudavadi’s focus is the presidential race,” noted Kabatesi.

Mudavadi also maintained he had his eyes fixed on the price.

“I will lead countrywide member recruitment ahead of the launch of the party later in the year. I remain focused on running for the presidency on ANC to bring the desired change in the country,” he said Mudavadi.

Speaking on the UK tour, Kabatesi said: “Mudavadi sought for exchange programmes with like-minded political parties where ANC party cadres can have opportunity to study the workings of political party systems in Britain. Such links will be important for ANC’s growth”.

GUEST SPEAKER

The East African Association, a powerful British investors lobby with a lot of business investments in Kenya, also held a luncheon for Mudavadi, and provided an opportunity to measure investor confidence in Kenya. Mudavadi was guest speaker.

Mudavadi capped up his UK visit with a meeting with Kenyan professionals in Britain and explored the establishment of ANC Diaspora office in London.

“We want tap into rich ideas and membership of the Diaspora on how to make ANC an inclusive movement for Kenyans. I also engaged them on how they want modalities and logistics of their participation in elections to be”, noted the former Sabatia MP.

He added: “ANC will champion an electoral system where no vote goes to waste and representation of youth, women and people with disabilities is assured. The debate on the gender rule barely scratches the surface. Every vote must count to ensure wider representation. Voter registration and turnout is low partly over apathy that some votes don’t count in the current first-past-the-post system. That is why I have proposed integration of a vote for the political party to determine extra seats for parties and thus prevent vote wastage”.

ANC Secretary General Godfrey Osotsi said the party would henceforth focus on the second round of its membership recruitment drive.

“After the first phase of recruiting 24,000 members in at least 24 counties for purposes of registration compliance which we have achieved, the focus now is on wider membership recruitment which started two weeks ago,” noted Osotsi.

He said targeted regions in the recruitment drive include the Western, Coast, Nairobi and parts of Rift Valley, before the programme is rolled out to other parts of the country.

“The third phase of our recruitment will be after the official launch. We are targeting at least 5 million members in the next six months because we believe the backbone of any political party is strong membership. We do not want to have a party of mere supporters. We want a party of members,” added the Secretary General.

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