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OPINION: Why Mutua may just amaze Kenyans by becoming the 2022 preferred presidential choice

By Felix Otieno | May 26th 2020

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has a never-say-die fighting spirit and his march to State House now appears unstoppable.

Some observers say he is calculating and realistic, and seems to be reinventing himself as the real alternative for Kenyan politics come 2022.

Besides his impressive development record in Machakos, and given his networks in the country, Dr Mutua, whose grasp of issues with the dexterity of a hands-on leader is unmatched, is seen as a perfect compromise candidate in the 2022 presidential race.

He continues to attract a lot of interest in his actions and dealings, with each and every step he makes being watched closely by political foes, allies and Kenyans at large.

The Machakos county chief has also mounted a relentless anti-corruption crusade that has not gone down well with his detractors, who feel that he is targeting top politicians in President Kenyatta's administration. He has however intimated that he is open to building alliances with like-minded communities.

In the last two years, Mutua has met Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and ODM leader Raila Odinga, something that has caused ripples in the local political scene.

A self-made politician, he formed Maendeleo Chap Chap party as his 2017 political vehicle and put up a spirited fight against Wiper party in a region that had an almost fanatical support for Kalonzo Musyoka.

His strong belief in his own values and principles is what led to his decision to form and head his own political party, and this has worked to his great delight and satisfaction.

Mandeleo Chap Chap Party, registered only three months to the 2017 elections, later won four seats in the National Assembly, with only one coming from Ukambani.

The party also boasts over 40 Members of County Assembly from all over the country.  This was a first for a nascent party, signaling bigger things to come.

In the last few years, he has carved the image of a man of the people with drive and the wherewithal, galvanising support for his presidential ambition.

He has recruited a large number of women and youth into his party. He can thus boast, without fear of equivocation that his party’s alliance is not, and will not be, with other political parties, but rather with the people of Kenya.

Amongst his supporters, he is regarded as firm and resolute in upholding and abiding by the rule of law and seeks to enlist the support of Kenyans keen on change.

He is credited with building market sheds in the 40 sub-locations, lighting up streets and tiny villages, increasing infrastructure by building roads and drilling numerous boreholes.

After close to nine years as the Government Spokesperson in the Kibaki administration, Mutua resigned in September 2012 to contest in competitive politics.

He threw his hat in the ring, joining the race for the hotly-contested Machakos County gubernatorial seat. He easily captured the seat, becoming the first governor of Machakos County, a post that he currently holds to date.

Dr Mutua’s march to the House on the Hill in Nairobi is driven by his passion for justice and the rule of law. He truly believes he has what it takes to rise to the helm.

The ongoing formation of Jubilee coalitions and the issue of dynasties have left Kenyans thinking beyond what they perceive as the norm. They need certainty in their future and seek a leader who can offer this.

Kenyans want new blood, something that has seen him and Governor Ali Hassan Joho, his Mombasa counterpart, emerge as darlings of many who want them to vie for the top seat.

Joho, just like Mutua, has impressed many following his gallant fight against Covid-19 and has been riding on the ODM wave to market himself countrywide.

Another possible 2022 presidential candidate is Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i whose critics view as untested since he has never won a competitive electoral seat having been picked from academia.

Other new leaders being touted for the top seat are Council of Governors boss Wycliffe Oparanya and parliamentarians Kanini Kega and Johnson Sakaja.

A new coalition bringing together President Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga, former vice presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi has been in the offing as these top Kenyan politicians strategise against Deputy President William Ruto's plan to ascend to power.

Ruto who appears to have fallen out with President Kenyatta following the handshake between the Head of State and Odinga, and has been trying hard to shed off the tag of corruption and tribalism stuck on him.

Other politicians cited by political analysts as "old and tired" due to their long stay in politics are Governor Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Senator Sam Ongeri (Kisii), Governor Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Governor Kiraitu Murungi (Meru).

Political commentators believe that if Mutua, who recently unveiled a magnificent and brand new county headquarters in his county, were to vie for the presidency, he would more likely give Ruto a run for his money.

He (Mutua) appears to have succeeded where many have faltered and in the eyes of most Kenyans, he is the best performing and innovative Governor in Kenya, with some asking for him to be loaned to their counties as acting governor.

In all this and more, Mutua, an extremely likeable and affable academic turned politician, fits the bill were he to run for the highest office in the land.

If he is serious about running for President, he needs to get to the ground and he will surely give Ruto a permanent headache.

It is probable that he could win Kenyans’ hearts and end up becoming the fifth President of the Republic of Kenya.

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