It’s time for Mudavadi to join Raila, and reclaim his Western crown – analyst

Friday, June 10th, 2022 01:30 | By
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi at a past Kenya Kwanza rally. PHOTO/File
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi at a past Kenya Kwanza rally. PHOTO/File

Musalia Mudavadi occupies the privileged position in Western Kenya previously held by giants like the late Michael Kijana Wamalwa, Masinde Murilo, Martin Shikuku and other leading lights of days gone by.

Wamalwa would lead the Western region in throwing their lot with the triumphant National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) that dislodged Kanu from power in 2002 with himself as Vice-President for President Mwai Kibaki.

It took more heavy lifting by Wamalwa and his compatriots in view of vicious countermoves by the ruling Kanu party machine, and the fact the region had persisted in opposition politics for more than a decade.

Wamalwa’s Ford-Kenya, Kibaki’s Democratic Party, Charity Ngilu’s National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK) and Raila Odinga’s Liberal Party of Kenya (LDP) were the main coalition partners in Narc among others.

Mudavadi and his Amani National Congress (ANC) are major political brands in Western Kenya and key players in the current transitional political positioning. 

If the region drifts into opposition benches, Mudavadi should brace himself to take a lot of flak.

By choosing to align himself with Deputy President William Ruto, Mudavadi is viewed by many to have made a strategic blunder in relation to his future political ambitions, and the position of the Western Region in the national political matrix.

At 61 years of age, Mudavadi jeopardised his future rising to power by joining Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Coalition.

This is because were Ruto to be elected President on August 9, he would be expected to seek re-election for a second term, and in the event he is re-elected in 2027, Mudavadi will be 71 years old in 2032 when Ruto’s second term comes to an end.

Ruto is 55 years old and has chosen Rigathi Gachagua, 57, as running mate. Going by past trends, in the event Kenya Kwanza was to be elected, it is unthinkable Rigathi would not be on the Ruto succession line-up, complicating matters for Mudavadi, considering new players are most likely to have emerged even in his Western Kenya home base.

In the event Ruto misses the mark on August 9, Mudavadi’s turn on the Presidential waiting list turns into a nightmare, dint of the fact that Western Kenya will be up for grabs in five years if Raila Odinga keeps his word to retire in 2027 after one term in office.

This is where Mudavadi and his advisors need to do serious thinking and review their long-term strategies to decide on which coalition to hitch the Western Kenya political wagons.

It is not too late for Mudavadi to do a prodigal tactical appraisal of his position.

It takes time and painstaking hard work to build a regional and national political brand of Mudavadi’s stature. But if not managed properly at critical turning points, it may not translate into higher political fortunes.

It is clear, that Mudavadi was bound to emerge as the undisputed heir of the Raila mantle in both Western Kenya and the Nyanza region, and the national heir apparent had he stuck with Raila Odinga instead of his UDA detour blunder. However, someone needs to counsel Mudavadi that there is still time to make a prodigal son strategic move and that the Western region would still be willing to welcome him back into the fold. But that time is now.

 In another few weeks’ time, however, no one will listen to him or notice even if he did. It will look more like a desperate bailing out of a sinking ship than a strategy.

The writer is a Political Scientist.

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