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Raila sidekicks should outgrow insolence, superstition and fireside prattle

Mudavadi is a very principled gentleman who believes in the will of the people in a free and democratic society.

In Summary

• Collins Ajuok struggles to posit that ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi should support Raila Odinga for yet another stab at the presidency in 2022 .

• This is so that Raila can back Mudavadi 10 years later. Ridiculous yes, but dangerous nonsense.

Nasa leaders, Musalia Mudavadi at the podium, address the press after a meeting in Athi River on March 12, 2018.
NASA: Nasa leaders, Musalia Mudavadi at the podium, address the press after a meeting in Athi River on March 12, 2018.
Image: FILE

Collins Ajuok’s article, 'Mudavadi's political magic lies at Raila's feet', was so juvenile in execution, pedestrian in approach and limping in fact and content.

Ajuok struggles to posit that ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi should support former Prime Minister Raila Odinga for yet another stab at the presidency in 2022 . This is so that Raila can back the former Vice President 10 years later. Ridiculous yes, but dangerous nonsense.

Ajuok commits numerous intellectual heresies — he tells lies. Let’s expose the lies and then deal with remnant empty chatter. One, he falsely claims that in 2004, Mudavadi declined an offer, courtesy of Raila, to vie inKisumu West constituency after the death of Joab Omino.

Claiming further that by vying for that seat the Luo were preparing Mudavadi as 'their' presidential candidate is stretching the readers’ assumed gullibility too far.

Fact is, like many trial balloons that seek to demean opponents, this is a typical Raila-corner made-up myth that never happened. They put up that rumour then. But Mudavadi was never offered anything, therefore, he didn’t decline what wasn’t on offer.

Perchance, the rumour was a poisoned chalice meant to politically bury Mudavadi,cut him down to size after earning respect as principled in declining a nomination by Kanu after the Sabatia seat loss in 2002.

Two, Ajuok's re-invention of history is harrowing. The 2007 ODM supposed nomination of Raila was a rigged coronation. The choice of Mudavadi as a running mate wasn’t magnanimity but a trick to appease angry delegates who were urging him not to accept sham results.

In any case, Mudavadi, despite massive rigging, had emerged second and Raila didn’t offer a favour. The mistake Mudavadi made was to accept the offer and then mount a scorched earth campaign to ingrain Raila in Western region.

Third, between Raila and Mudavadi, who fits the title of a 'political journeyman', jumping from this to that party or coalition, and as perennial presidential candidate? Who’s journeyed after every election since 1997 into the government he ran against?

Four, Ajouk’s penchant to fabricate is borne by the 'Ruto partnership' invention. It remains as 'alleged' by Ajuok and it’s nothing to go lyrical about given the unreliability of his assertions.

 

There is, therefore, little left to appreciate in the piece, save for the fact that he didn’t hide the identities of his pipers — the leadership of ODM. It’s very clear that he and his master don’t know yet the person and character of Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi.

Mudavadi's detractors ought to realise that he isn’t, can’t and shall never be his father, the late Moses Substone Budamba Mudavadi, whose achievements and heroism need no recap, 31 years since his demise.

Suffice it to say the Musalia Mudavadi who is seeking to be the President in 2022 doesn’t wish to imitate his father, who lived in a different political environment and dispensation. Mudavadi is a broom designed to sweep the dirt of today, not cuddle yesterday’s smears. It’s why Ajuok and his sponsors shouldn’t hide some home truths and realities about the former Deputy Prime Minister.

Mudavadi is a very principled gentleman who believes in the will of the people in a free and democratic society. That’s why he rejected a nomination by Kanu. He made it clear he respected the decision of Sabatia constituents to grant him a sabbatical.

It is in the same vein that as the running mate of Uhuru Kenyatta in 2002, he joined other Kanu leaders vanquished from power to concede defeat. This is a very rare trait not only in Kenya but also in Africa. The same principle applied when he disowned the 'rumour' of an invitation to run for the seat vacated by Omino.

Mudavadi has never displayed ambition for raw power and that’s why he wouldn’t crave a mere return to Parliament through any means. Being principled is the hallmark of a democratic and self-respecting leader. And for all Ajuok’s lamentations that Mudavadi has squandered Raila's sponsorship, sorry. Unlike others, Mudavadi will never trivialise the will of the people by seeking to sneak into the room of power through the back door.

An honest leader must always live by the very ideals they preach and not be itching, ready and willing to scramble for state largesse and crumbs whenever dangled. While others are dashing for attention, it’s that deeply ethical Mudavadi who has twice — after the 2013 and 2017 elections — turned down invitations by Uhuru to join his Cabinet.

In 2007 and 2017 elections, Mudavadi graciously, unconditionally backed Raila. But the ODM leader has never supported Mudavadi. Ajuok brought in age deferential. Well, Mudavadi is 59 years old and Raila is 76. The latter has unsuccessfully vied for the presidency four times and Mudavadi only once.

Fifteen million voters in 2022 will be under 35 years old. Who then should support the other? Were the Luo and the Luhya “natural political allies” and Raila noble, why withhold support for Mudavadi in 2022?

For the record, those of us who work around the ANC leader treat the former Prime Minister as a competitor. Ajuok’s assumed fake fraternal ethnic political affinity of the Luhya and the Luo notwithstanding, Mudavadi will face Raila at the polls when the latter tires from hiding his ntention.

So, it would serve Ajuok well to handle Mudavadi as a rival and stop begging him to join their camp. The fake superstitions of the Elijah Masinde Wanameme myth or not, Mudavadi can’t do the same thing, the same way, expecting different results with Raila.

Raila abandoned Nasa on March 9, 2018,or the 'Handshake' to join government and since then speaks from both sides of his mouth in very strong defence of Jubilee misdeeds. Mudavadi hasn’t.

The ANC leader remains in the opposition, refining the role not to mean animosity, confrontation, throwing tantrums and unleashing violence every time things don’t go one's way. Young and innocent people lost lives and property was destroyed through a previous abrasive approach. Mudavadi believes and invests in dialogue.

What the people in ODM know, but won’t own up to, is that Mudavadi is the solution to Kenya's ever-sagging economy. He bespeaks economy today as he did as Finance minister 23 years ago.

Courageous to a fault and at personal risk to himself, he broke down corruption cartels in the financial sector while establishing independent institutions such as the Kenya Revenue Authority, the autonomous Central Bank, Retirement Benefits Authority and removed foreign exchange controls.

This cut off political scavengers and looters who inhabited the Treasury. He brought Kenya back from the 10-year ignominy of a pariah state, into the community of nations.

It was he who first warned the Jubilee government against amassing current runaway public debt for grandiose projects and he continues to agitate against debt's symbiotic twin, corruption. Where are his alumni in NASA on this? Scrambling for the President’s ear to sell fitina while our country faces unprecedented challenges, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whoever takes over in 2022 will be inheriting trouble. He must be a focused leader with proven capability to heal our economy and turn it around for those going to bed hungry, unemployed, homeless unable to afford rent.

Kenyans will want a leader who is less about himself but lives the needs of ordinary citizens, knows how to revive the economy and create jobs, increase opportunities and has the guts to end corruption. Musalia Mudavadi is that leader.

But Ajuok wants us to debate an intellectually dishonest and superstitious past. Well, he’ll have his plate full: Team Mudavadi is 'formatting' the future, not mundane fake prophecies. Time for fireside prattle is long gone. And if Mudavadi means nothing,why not stop the nagging?

Face Mudavadi in 2022 on issues of substance, not insolence, blackmail, lamentation and mudslinging.

The author is a retired diplomat and professor of International Relations. The views expressed here are personal.