Dwindling fortunes hit ex-VP who is also former deputy PM
What began as a pure political fallout in opposition National Super Alliance in the aftermath of the repeat presidential election of 2017 and Nasa principal Raila Odinga’s controversial ‘swearing in’ seems to have metamorphosed into systematic desertion of Amani National Congress leader Musalia Musalia by friends who have worked with him in one way or the other.
The recent ‘defection’ of his deputy, former Agriculture minister Kipruto Kirwa to William Ruto’s faction of the Jubilee Party perhaps headlines Mudavadi’s increasing isolation even as he struggles to put on a brave face ahead of the 2022 transition elections.
Though he has not formally decamped to Jubilee, Kirwa has openly been hobnobbing with Ruto and his allies having held several meetings in Nairobi and the DP’s rural home in Sugoi, where the two are said to have agreed to work together.
In the runup to the 2017 general election, Mudavadi handpicked the former Cherangany MP, who fiercely campaigned against Jubilee in the 2013 and 2017 polls, to deputise him. Kirwa’s courtship with Ruto appears to be premised on the DP’s strategy to lock his Rift Valley backyard well ahead of 2022.
The two are said to have been engaging since the beginning of the year, with sources revealing Kirwa is set to cross over to the Ruto camp “any time from now,” something Kirwa, Mudavadi’s principal assistant, has since owned up to.
It suffices to say that Kirwa has lately been a constant feature at Ruto’s political events if not functions held by the DP’s Tanga Tanga allies in the Rift Valley. Equally worthy noting is that Kirwa is aiming to unseat the current Cherangany legislator, Joshua Kuttuny at Ruto’s behest.
Hitherto a staunch Ruto supporter, Kuttuny has turned out to be one of the DP’s fiercest critics. The MP is a central figure in the anti-Ruto’s Kieleweke outfit. Kirwa’s imminent exit has exposed a woeful Mudavadi’s ridiculous political credentials characterised by unmatched indecisiveness.
The Kirwa-Ruto affair is the latest of events that have seen Mudavadi’s friends and political allies desert him in their droves. Not so long ago, the failed deregistration of nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi from ANC occasioned a bitter fallout between Mudavadi and Central Organisation of Trade Union secretary general Francis Atwoli.
Atwoli is said to have been opposed to plans by Mudavadi and his kitchen cabinet in ANC to unseat the outspoken MP, who happens to be the party’s founding secretary general. In fact, Osotsi has claimed that he is the one who formed ANC and actually accommodated a party less Mudavadi to Amani.
Osotsi’s beef with his party leader can be traced to his perceived support for Raila Odinga’s party, ODM, both within and without parliament. This later saw him dethroned from the SG position, only for Mudavadi to replace him with Barack Muluka, a member of Mudavadi’s kitchen cabinet. Critics say Mudavadi needs vibrant foot soldiers in the likes of Osotsi and Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, both ANC lawmakers. During the flopped Kakamega rally, Malala relentlessly went around the county to mobilise area residents to attend the rally that had been designed to campaign against Ruto and his Tanga Tanga brigade in the Western region. Elected on the ANC platform, Malala is known to be an ardent supporter of the Raila.
Surprisingly, Mudavadi refused to attend on the understanding that Atwoli would be using the rally to force Mudavadi to reconcile with Osotsi. Not a bad idea anyway, was it? This partly led to the cancellation of the highly publicised event. Like Osotsi, Malala is in good books with the fiery Atwoli of the shenzi fame.
Incidentally, the embattled MP had withdrawn a court case challenging his removal as secretary general; a move that was interpreted as a good gesture in extending an olive branch to the ANC boss.
Mudavadi’s fallout with Atwoli easily overshadows the high profile January 1 2017 Bukhungu Stadium fete in Kakamega, where the influential trade unionist crowned the former deputy prime minister the Luhya spokesman.
Atwoli has moved on to become one of Mudavadi’s fiercest critics, chiding him at the slightest provocation both in private and public.
Exit Atwoli enter Raila, the preeminent chessmaster of Kenya’s politics. As if not to learn from the 2013 use-and-dump theatrics by Jubilee’s UhuRuto powerhouse before teaming up with Raila – again – alongside Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula ahead of the 2017 polls, Mudavadi failed to read the public mood and skipped Raila’s mock swearing in at Uhuru Park.
Like his co-principals, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula, Mudavadi missed the opportunity to curry favour with Raila, a would be political asset of monumental proportions.
Vihiga Senator George Khaniri, Matungu MP Justus Murunga, Titus Khamala of Lurambi, Butere’s Tindi Mwale add to the long list of those MPs who have deserted the ANC boss.
Those said to be close to him are Ernest Kivai and Alfred Agoi, both of who happen to be Maragolis. Playing it safe are MPs Edward Oku Kaunya of Teso North, Nambale’s John Sakwa Bunyasi and Omboko Milemba of Emuhaya. Lugari’s Ayub Savula is also supportive of Mudavadi