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Mutua’s super-sized ambition keeps friend and foe guessing

By Daniel Wesangula | June 17th 2018 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Alfred Mutua is a man who likes to control the narrative. Everything he does is well scripted. He wants, no, needs to know where every comma, every hyphen, every full stop, falls in the script of his public life.

And after the court threw out his appeal against High Court ruling that nullified his election 2017 election as governor, the man from Machakos is back at it again, swaying public opinion towards him, an art he has perfected in his close to 20 years in public office.

As the weekend drew closer, the Machakos Governor pushed through a meticulously edited video on social media, interspersing his pronouncements on lifestyle audit with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tough pronouncements on the same. Shots of both men have a curios time stamp at the bottom. To serious analysts, the video is not all about the political self-importance Mutua has come to epitomise. It is also about ambition and burning desire to associate with the big kahunas.

State House race

To the simple ear and eye, it is the President who has jumped onto Mutua’s lifestyle audit bandwagon after carefully following the moves and pronunciations of the man who wants to succeed him at State House.

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This, though, is only one strand of a life of a man whose ability to choreograph is unmatched. His life, after he knew fame and fortune, follows story-lines that, sometimes border on the absurdity propagated by slapstick humour, his kind of comedy from his dalliance with film-making.

Indeed, it is in his days on the director’s chair for shows such as Cobra Squad that his indefatigable spirit and sometimes misplaced zeal was discovered. Back then, he was on TV, as well as in publishing. During the day, he moonlighted as the government spokesman.

In his predictable never-say-die attitude, Mutua has already filed a notice of appeal. For years now, he has told anyone who cares to listen about his intense desire to lead Kenya.

Apparently, Machakos is not a wide enough territory for him and his personality. Perhaps, the thing that escapes him most is that barring desire, he will need people to actually vote him to State House. The politics of the presidency transcend basic desire, one of the key things that fuels Mutua. He looks like a man who has consulted the crystal ball and has got assurances from the spirits that he will be president in 2022.

When he won back his seat in last year’s election, Mutuaengaged the next gear - embarking on a whirlwind tour of the country popularising his party. If he was not building a prefabricated house in Nyeri he was falling onto a river in Kisii.

Early reports on the latter incident, reports dismissed by the image conscious 47-year-old, had it that he was looking into the afternoon light in search of the perfect selfie before the structure gave way. He has disputed this.

Another thing that has worked very well for him and has him in good company is his smooth tongue. He is a smooth-talker. One of the best. A man who may not be able to sell snow to the Eskimo, but he will make them part with their money somehow, even if there will be no goods or services in exchange.

Election victory

Early this year, he was at it again, attempting the impossible - hammering iron sheets onto a grass-thatched frame.

The courts may have faulted Mutua’s election victory. But the thing they cannot take away is his ability to bounce back even from the most dire of situations. In August last year, many thought a victory was far beyond the grasp of his well-manicured fingers. But he pulled a rabbit out of the hat and was back in the governor’s mansion.

His ambitions for presidency are as valid as anyone else’s. In fact, as a keen follower of the make-belief world of Hollywood and a Donald Trump closet fan, he might just get what he wants.

For now, though, he has the little matter of getting re-elected, something that is quickly becoming a monkey on his shoulder.

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Spin doctor governor alfred mutua Machakos Alfred Mutua
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