Mudavadi is independent, principled and eschews herd mentality

Going against a deceitful grain in the political sphere is his hallmark as a leader

In Summary

• Mudavadi isn’t your local politician. He operates in the realm of leadership.

• In that realm, he often considers the wider common good, which then overshadows his immediate personal gratification.

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi.
MAN OF PRINCIPLE: ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi.
Image: FILE

I was astonished by the lack of ingenuity and circumventing of facts by your anonymous “Star Team” article headlined “Mudavadi’s career marked by flip-flops, reversals, about turns” published on Friday, January 24.

What promised to be an informed critique abruptly degenerated into cheap personalised character assassination. Lacking brevity of authoritative sources and avoiding known facts, the “authors” signed onto falsehoods perpetuated by detractors of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi. I’ll be surprised if this venomous concoction wasn’t brewed by a propagandist.

Let’s go on to the barrenness of the philosophical underpinnings of the article. True “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” best discounts the outlines in the article. I may add that only a fool doesn’t change his/her mind.

Mudavadi isn’t your local politician. He operates in the realm of leadership. In that realm, he often considers the wider common good, which then overshadows his immediate personal gratification. But the authors, instead of revelling in this shining asset, choose to bastardise caution. Caution is a leadership quality but the article celebrates the demagoguery that’s become the bane of Kenyan politicians.

Now on the dearth of authoritative attributive sources. Often, if you choose to counter-source, a commentary is as worthy as the supportive character sources and balance.

Weak sources damn the authenticity of the content. Falsification and mischief are the results. For what he is worth, Boni Khalwale cannot be a character witness for Mudavadi. Khalwale has always been miffed that Mudavadi doesn’t take him seriously, especially when he believes politics is about lying and stone-throwing. His is a history of hob-knobbing.

Khalwale has always sought to ingratiate himself as Mudavadi's lieutenant but has been rebuffed because of his divisive shenanigans. If the “Star Team” crosschecked about the aborted Mumias rally, they would’ve stumbled on the truth that Mudavadi wasn’t part of that Tangatanga meeting. Khalwale is merely bitter that he failed to trap Mudavadi and wrap him into a Ruto foil. So, both Khalwale and pseudo-analyst Dunstan Omari should keep their counsel.

Indeed, Musalia didn’t go to the Bukhungu meeting by accident or out of coercion. It was a considered decision after broad consultations. The journey to Kakamega began briskly after his concerns and reservations expressed publicly were addressed. It wasn’t a flip-flop because he hadn’t planned to be in Mumias; it was never a reversal because he hadn’t said he wouldn’t attend, and he didn’t make any about-turn because he stated loudly at the Bomas launch that he supports BBI. Only an out-of-touch with reality author would miss these facts and revert to ill-intentioned labels.

Mudavadi a coward? I’ve heard it so many times it is now a chorus on a broken record. It doesn’t matter what Omari, says. What the Kenyan political sphere hates is a leader of Mudavadi’s stature who is independent, principled and eschews the herd mentality. Going against a deceitful grain in the political sphere is Mudavadi’s hallmark as a leader and the act isn’t fearful and cowardly. It has always been considered.

In 2002, you needed to be brave to go against the Narc wave. Cowards hid in the herd but Mudavadi had the courage to stand with the underdog, Uhuru Kenyatta. He risked his political career while those trooping to Narc were scared stiff. Cowards don’t risk. What many didn’t know was that Mudavadi had the foresight to see the deceit in the Narc politics of convenience façade, which erupted hardly into a year of nuptials. The gene of the 2007-08 post-election violence had been implanted in the 2004 Narc implosion.


Nothing speaks of the principled and brave leader that Musalia is than three episodes in his political life. In 2002, after losing his Sabatia seat, Kanu nominated him to Parliament. Musalia declined. Reason? “I have great respect for the people of Sabatia who decided to give me a sabbatical. I am a democrat. I cannot go against their decision by sneaking into Parliament through the back door.”

How many 'brave' politicians of Khalwale’s or professionals of Omaris’s ilk would bulk at such a lucrative opportunity? Musalia stood for principle.

The second is the 2013 elections. In 2012, Musalia and Uhuru signed an MoU in which the latter would forgo his presidential ambitions in favour of the former. Weeks later, Uhuru reneged on the agreement. It would later be known that the reneging was a plot to demoralise Musalia into opting out of the presidential race. Stoically, Mudavadi strode up to the ballot unfazed. Another person would have crumpled. It is not a coward who marches into war and lives to fight another day.

In the third case, Musalia was surprisingly appointed the youngest Finance minister in Kenya’s history in 1993. At the time, the Goldenberg scam was an ongoing enterprise. Despite having not been part of it and bringing it to a halt, Musalia surrendered himself to the Justice Bosire Commission of Inquiry into the scandal in 2003. He was not in government but the Commission not only absolved but also heaped praise on him for stopping the brazen theft.

Lawyer Omari gets it wrong when he claims: “Remember Mudavadi has never been arrested or called to appear before the DCI. So, many times, he intends to take a stand, he cannot because there are skeletons that could be revived.” Contrast this with a telling regret at harassment and arrest in Chapter 26 of Musalia’s book “Soaring Above The Storms of Passion”:

“After the Bosire Commission had cleared me, a very strange thing happened. Bosire listed people who should be probed further. My name was not among them. Yet there seemed to have been some forces that wanted some specific individuals to be nailed. I found myself bundled into CID headquarters again, being asked the same questions that had been answered. I asked them why they should be asking me the same questions that I had been absolved of. The matter fell flat on their face and died there” (p.218).

Omari, is that a person who’s never been arrested before? Omari, where were you when Musalia and I plus other patriotic university students were arrested and detained following the coup attempt in 1982? Omari, the matter of Goldenberg died long ago. But it’s the most insolent like you who keep the narrative going.

Though late in blooming as a lawyer, Omari has sworn to live by the rule of law. He knows about his kin, Justice Bosire, who presided over the Goldenberg inquiry that absolved Musalia. Omari knows those found culpable in the Cemetery scam are cooling their bottoms in jail. Musalia was the whistleblower. Omari is deluded Musalia is guilty aforethought — a problem that most who join the academy as adults tend to face because they’re slow learners.

For the “Star Team”, I recommend you read Chapter 19 of his book. It narrates how Musalia fought for the economic survival of the country, and Chapter 25, too, on being haunted by Goldenberg investigations. Therein is an “inside view” of the man, nay, leader you don’t know.

Kabatesi is a long-time associate of Musalia Mudavadi