Musalia Mudavadi appears to be slowly finding his footing in local politics, months after joining the government.
Mudavadi has in the past struggled to position himself as the Western region’s political kingpin.
Some analysts believe that Mudavadi’s current position as Prime Cabinet Secretary in the Kenya Kwanza government puts him in a vantage position to turn around his political fortunes at both regional and national levels.
Lurambi politician Shiroko Shilenje argues that Mudavadi indeed has the best chance to unite the voter-rich Western and tighten his grip around the region with a focus on the 2032 General Election.
“He is not only the most experienced politician from Western but has the requisite attributes to lead the people of Western and Kenya at large having served as a Minister, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, and now Prime Cabinet Secretary,” opines Shilenje.
In the past, it was impossible for Mudavadi to mobilise politicians from his Vihiga backyard for a meeting, however, times have changed.
During President William Ruto’s tour of Vihiga County last week, Mudavadi exhibited his newfound political prowess by bringing together.
Ruto was in the county to commission the multi-million Vihiga Water Cluster Project last Saturday.
Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo (ODM) and MPs Clement Sloya (Sabatia), Ernest Kagesi (Vihiga), Charles Gimose (Hamisi), Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya), Vihiga Woman Representative Beatrice Adagala and a host of local MCAs joined Mudavadi to receive President Ruto in the county.
But it is the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli, who set the ball rolling by urging the people of Western to acknowledge Mudavadi as their leader to enable him to steer the community to greater political heights.
Atwoli, who in the run-up to the August 2022 General Election was an ardent supporter of Raila Odinga and Azimio said that he recognises President Ruto’s government in which Mudavadi is serving.
He has praised Mudavadi saying he made the right political move to join hands with Ruto and under Kenya Kwanza Alliance that defeated Azimio la Umoja.
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Vihiga politician Jackline Mwenesi, a close ally of President Ruto and one of Mudavadi’s key critics surprised many when she took to the podium and rallied people to respect the former Vice President.
“We must respect Mudavadi and no one can claim that he is old,” said Mwanesi who took issue with a section of local politicians who she claimed have been backstabbing Mudavadi.
She added: "I warn those who continue to disrespect our leader Mudavadi, they should know that he is our king and we support him."
Politicians who spoke said they would offer Mudavadi huge support to ensure he delivers over 70 per cent votes in the region to guarantee Ruto’s re-election bid in 2027.
"We will ensure Mudavadi delivers at least 70 per cent of the region’s vote basket so that Ruto can win his second term and increase our share in the government that will be formed,” argued Mwenesi who is among individuals that were appointed to the position of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS).
Emanuel Buchichi, Kakamega County ANC youth leader said “From the database of previous elections, Mudavadi performed dismally in his strongholds in Western in last elections. We lost many leaders including MPs Titus Khamala (Lurambi), Peter Nabulindo (Matungu), Tindi Mwale (Butere), Ayub Savula (Lugari), Oku Kaunya (Teso North) and Christopher Aseka (Khwisero) to ODM, however, we are determined to move on.”
He hinted at disquiet in Mudavadi's ANC party where ardent supporters claim to have been abandoned by the top leadership.