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ELECTION 2022

Mudavadi lifts lid on OKA link with Raila bid for State House

POLITICS
By Moses Nyamori | Jan 25th 2022 | 4 min read

ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi in an interview with 'The Standard' at Amani House. January 24, 2022. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has linked State officials to the crafting of the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) for purposes of propelling ODM leader Raila Odinga to State House.

Mudavadi lifted the lid on an alleged behind-the-scene scheme to shortchange him in OKA as part of a larger political game plan to have the nascent coalition join forces with Raila at the tail end in the run-up to the August 9 general election.

In his first exclusive interview yesterday after pulling a surprise move to join forces with Deputy President William Ruto, Mudavadi also accused his co-principals in OKA of a deliberate attempt to sabotage and weaken him within the coalition.

“There was a belief that OKA was to be stringed along and made to work with one of the political camps – Azimio. But all I can tell you is that I have stood my ground and made my mind,” Mudavadi said.

He claimed that there was an attempt by top State functionaries to influence the succession race to go in a particular way.

“Clearly, there are some people who would not want to see a free and fair election by trying to influence the poll. Some people are doing everything to shape the succession,” he said.

Mudavadi's 'earthquake' decision to join forces with Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) was a culmination of weeks of “reflection” against the backdrop of intrigues and suspicion within OKA.

He disclosed that he informed his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Senator Gideon Moi (Kanu), Moses Wetang’ula and politician Cyrus Jirongo that he had invited Ruto to the National Delegates Conference held at Bomas on Sunday.

Kalonzo and Gideon stormed out of the meeting over the presence of Ruto while Jirongo snubbed the gathering altogether.

“I called a number of them and told them that this other guest (Ruto) was also to come and it was upon them to decide whether to come or not. We must defend the freedom of association. There must be latitude for people to be able to engage freely,” said Mudavadi.

Some of his critics had accused him of failing to alert other coalition leaders that he had invited Ruto and that they learned about the invitation while already at Bomas.

Yesterday, however, Mudavadi expressed surprise that his co-principals stormed out of the meeting, citing Kanu and Wiper NDCs to which Raila was invited and ANC did not protest.

“When Kanu invited the leader of ODM to their NDC, they didn't tell me; when Wiper invited ODM we only knew about it at the tail end. It was their prerogative to choose whom to invite. If it is your function, you can choose to invite me or not,” he said.

He described his now-estranged partners as 'nervous' in making political decisions.

KANU chairman Gideon Moi and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka walked out of Musalia Mudavadi's event citing betrayal?. [David Njaaga, Standard]

“What the earthquake has made us to appreciate is that in life you can decide to throw a stone in the pond just to see what comes out. I saw people who are nervous. But I respect them,” said the former deputy prime minister who also served briefly as vice-president in 2002.

The ANC leader also alleged a plot by his co-principals to shortchange him on the OKA presidential ticket by allegedly pushing a narrative that the selection panel that was meeting in Naivasha earlier in the month had settled on a candidate.

There were reports that the panel had identified Kalonzo as the most suited candidate to fly the OKA flag. The team's finding was to be made public on the day the principals were expected in Naivasha to receive the report. Mudavadi snubbed the meeting that was attended by Kalonzo, Gideon Moi of Kanu and Moses Wetang'ula of Ford Kenya.

“There was an attempt to convey a message that a decision had been made on who was to be the (OKA) flagbearer. The party (ANC) took some great exception to the intrigues that were taking place when OKA affiliated parties met,” said Mudavadi.

According to him, all the parties in OKA were aware that ANC would hold its NDC on January 23.

"It was kind of an attempted sabotage and awkward attempt to preempt our NDC," said Mudavadi yesterday. "There was an attempt to undermine me. What was I supposed to tell the delegates after announcing that so and so would be the OKA flagbearer?”

Mudavadi, however, remained guarded on the details of his new deal with Ruto.

Both he and Ruto have declared their interests to run for the presidency. But the fact that Ruto has exhausted his 10 years as Deputy President implies that he can only go for the seat or drop his ambition in favour Mudavadi.

Yesterday, Mudavadi insisted that his eyes are trained on the top prize after receiving endorsement by party delegates to run.

“They endorsed me and I have not revoked by ambition. They also gave me the mandate to negotiate depending on the political dynamics,” said Mudavadi.

In the event that Mudavadi agrees to be Ruto's running mate, the DP will have to do a lot of convincing to the vote-rich central Kenya region whose leaders expect one of them to be named as running mate. Currently, all indications are that Ruto plans to pick his running mate from the region.

ANC, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and Ford Kenya, whose leader is Wetang’ula, have lined up a series of joint campaign rallies, starting in Nakuru tomorrow, western on Friday and central Kenya on Saturday.

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Kanu insists OKA is not dead despite ANC, Ford Kenya's exit
ANC leader on Sunday disembarked from the OKA train and joined hands with Deputy President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Mixed reactions on Mudavadi's political move
Political pundits have differed on the likely political implications Musalia Mudavadi's move could have on his political career.

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