Why Mudavadi decided to team up with DP Ruto
Deputy President William Ruto left Amani National Congress chief Musalia Mudavadi’s office on Nairobi’s Riverside Drive at 4am Friday, January 14.
The two and close advisers had been holed up in the offices to hammer out a deal between their parties ANC (Mudavadi’s) and the United Democratic Alliance associated with Ruto.
The night-long talks, according to sources who requested anonymity, was one of the many secret meetings they had held to explore the possibility of working together.
Though details about the deal are yet to be made public, People Daily has learned that concerns that opposition chief Raila Odinga had deployed his pointmen, to undermine Mudavadi in his western Kenya backyard and a persuasion that the post of running mate was already locked for a Mt Kenya candidate in the Azimio power matrix, was among reasons that could have driven the ANC chief to team up with Ruto.
Last stroke “Mudavadi felt Raila was using some Luhya leaders to persistently undermine him,” said an MP from Kakamega County allied to ANC who asked not to be named so as to discuss the sensitive matter freely.
He added: “The leaders include Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli, governors from the Western region led by Kakamega’s Wycliffe Oparanya and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.”
The sources said the Azimio La Umoja meeting at Bukhungu Stadium on December 31 where Raila was endorsed for the Presidency was the last stroke that broke the camel’s back.
“Raila has been selling the narrative that he can win the Western vote without Mudavadi. So he (Mudavadi) felt that he was more valuable to Ruto who has been inviting him,” the MP said.
He indicated that Mudavadi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula were concerned that though President Uhuru Kenyatta was keen to persuade them to support Raila, he did not accord them the kind of respect given to the Orange leader.
Other sources indicated that some influential people around Mudavadi had also persuaded him to reach out to Ruto.
Those said to have played a key role, according to the sources, included Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, who acted as a bridge between the two owing to his relationship with the Deputy President while he was The National Alliance chairman.
Others were Nambale MP John Bunyasi, Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale.
In the deal, Mudavadi is said to have insisted that he would accept nothing less than a running-mate position but the Ruto camp put a strong case that they were likely to lose the Mt Kenya vote if the ANC chief was picked.
It is said that there was a strong push for Mudavadi to settle on the National Treasury docket with enhanced portfolio. Mudavadi is a former Finance minister under former President, the late Daniel arap Moi.
Yesterday, Ruto said they were working on a formula that would accommodate Mudavadi and his counterpart Wetang’ula while preserving his support in Mt Kenya.
The DP confirmed they were still firming up details of the partnership, promising to offer details later. Ruto said talks would revolve around the economy, democracy, and a better Kenya.
To jumpstart the partnership, Ruto said the three parties will be holding public rallies in parts of the country starting with Nakuru this week, followed by Kakamega and then Murang’a.
“We have decided to come together to stall the onslaught on divisive politics and sponsorship of political parties not meant for any other purpose but to divide people,” said the DP after chairing a UDA Parliamentary Group meeting at his Karen residence.
This came against the backdrop of reports that part of the deal was to have Mudavadi fully take charge of the coalition’s affairs in the Western region.
Sources further told People Daily that the two parties would open joint campaign offices in the region and across the county. Mudavadi’s party would exclusively field candidates in Kakamega and Vihiga counties, Ford-Kenya in parts of Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties while Busia will be the main battleground.
Following this, panic has hit the UDA leadership in Kakamega with aspirants reportedly demanding to know the finer details of the deal announced at the Bomas of Kenya on Sunday. Khalwale, a close Ruto ally who has been in the forefront pushing for an alliance bringing together the trio, yesterday said the two leaders did not enter into the pact “blindly” but as an outcome of lengthy deliberations.
He said he was not aware of anything personally offered to Mudavadi or Wetang’ula to support Ruto. “There was nothing personal to Mudavadi. That will be managed with time,” Khalwale said yesterday.
Dr Kaburu Kinoti, a political analyst and a data strategist, said Ruto gaining Mudavadi’s support did not solve the running mate headache facing him.
“Raila got more votes than Mudavadi in Western in 2013, so there is no guarantee Ruto will get them if Mudavadi is now supporting him,” Kinoti told People Daily.
He added the Hustler narrative may not hold much claiming voters still followed the direction given by their senior leaders.