Mudavadi talks of deceit as Raila eyes the top seat
By Judah Ben-Hur and Jacob Ng’etich | April 2nd 2021
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has accused former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of ruining coalitions to get on the presidential ballot during elections.
Mudavadi, a principal in the National Super Alliance (NASA), took issue with Raila’s application to contest for the presidency next year at a time their coalition is on the rocks because of his Handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
His assertions come at a time when ODM members lauded the move by its three top leaders to contest for the party’s ticket.
Raila and governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) have all declared interest to run for the top seat on an ODM ticket, according to the National Elections Board (NEB) chair, Catherine Mumma.
After months of keeping his supporters guessing, Raila’s application has caused unease in NASA.
Mudavadi in an interview with The Standard said that according to the NASA agreement, ODM was not supposed to produce a presidential candidate in 2022 after they had one in 2017.
In the 2017 General Election, Mudavadi teamed up with other NASA principals; Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) to back the ODM leader’s presidential bid.
The ANC leader, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula have since shifted their allegiance and now teamed up with Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi in the One Kenya Alliance ahead of the 2022 General Election.
“The agreement is in the public domain, the party that produced the presidential candidate in 2017 would not get one next year, but in Kenya political deceit is a pandemic,” said Mudavadi.
He argued that Raila has the constitutional rights to contest and noted the ODM leader’s candidature was ‘expected’. “I anticipated it, it is not a new development for him to go for the last bullet,” said Mudavadi.
But party members led by chairman John Mbadi and Political Affairs secretary Opiyo Wandayi attributed what is happening in the party to democracy, adding that no one is an automatic candidate but will engage the delegates to sell their agenda.
Mbadi assured all the delegates that the process will be democratic, and there was no guarantee that Raila will be the obvious candidate.
The leaders spoke after the Prof Mumma-led Board officially confirmed that Raila was among the three aspirants who had declared interest in the top seat on the party’s ticket.
In a statement, Secretary General Edwin Sifuna revealed that they had postponed the selection of the 2022 flag-bearer to focus their energies on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process.
“The National Election Board will therefore suspend the vetting and further processing of the applications until after the conclusion of the BBI process,” read a statement by ODM yesterday.
Mbadi told off critics who have suggested that Raila will be the ultimate candidate. He affirmed that ODM was an open and transparent party that follows its constitution and offers all its members equal opportunities.
“Our constitution is very clear, if there is more than one candidate, we subject them through the ODM election and nomination rules process,” said Mbadi.
The political theatrics come to play at a time Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta publicly displayed their brotherhood, thwarting the ongoing speculation that their relationship was on the rocks.
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