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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Mudavadi takes steps to consolidate Western block

Amani leader Musalia Mudavadi has embarked on consolidating the Luhya vote as he meets opinion leaders in his western stronghold in a charm offensive for his presidential bid in 2017. Consultations started over Easter holiday when Mudavadi met elders while his emissaries met Knut and Kuppet officials in Vihiga county and later MCAs in both Vihiga and Kakamega. It is confirmed that he will be getting all shades of opinion starting with elected leaders.
In what is billed strengthening his support base before a major announcement due later this year, Mudavadi met MCAs from the western region. Word has gone round that he is preparing ground for hosting the flag of newly registered Amani National Congress in 2017. ANC was registered a month ago and the ground is abuzz that this is the party that will bring all the Luhya community votes in one basket.
Mudavadi’s heightened activity in the region saw him attend the installation of Sheikh Abdalla Ateka as the national chairman of Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya in Kakamega before retreating to meet Amani MCAs from the region in an undisclosed location. His private secretary Kibisu Kabatesi confirmed the meetings but said they are not unusual.
“The former deputy prime minister is in constant touch with other leaders and this is no exception. This is a housekeeping matter. However, there are emerging issues that he sought opinion on from these leaders,” Kabatesi said alluding to the matter of ANC.
The charm offensive comes on the footsteps of major political orientation in the region. Last week, New Ford Kenya leader Eugene Wamalwa was tapped by Uhuru Kenyatta for CS Water and Irrigation. That act has elicited a lot of verbal exchanges in praise and against.
Wamalwa is an ally of Mudavadi and has commended the appointment and strongly rebuked Senator Boni Khalwale for “pettiness” in dismissing the appointment. The appointment is the highest level one for Mudavadi allies that began with four ambassadors, former speaker Kenneth Marende to chair Kenya Power and Gordon Kihalangwa as director of immigration before promotion to PS Interior.
Eyebrows are being raised as to whether Mudavadi is the non-resident adviser of Uhuru Kenyatta. Whenever he speaks, State House tends to act. On the second anniversary of Jubilee, Mudavadi wrote a piercing opinion in which he warned Jubilee over ethnic exclusion in its appointments. Barely had the ink dried on that opinion than Uhuru made a reshuffle that attempted to co-opt the face of Kenya. He wrote:
“Jubilee has scored poorly on nation integration and cohesion. The constitution recognises ethnic diversity and its nurturing as the roadmap to integration. It provides the mechanisms for ethnic and regional inclusiveness in governance. I will keep reminding the president that public appointments are a resource to be shared. I do this as a patriotic citizen and as is required of him in Article 130 that demands “the composition of the national executive shall reflect the regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya”. The national executive is not just the cabinet; it is all that system and structures called “public service”.
I keep saying despite the electoral outcomes, a winner-takes-it-all attitude is a luxury you cannot afford in the context of ethnic-laced politics in Kenya. However, the undoing has been when Jubilee chose the irredentist philosophy to rule rather than to govern. We are a nascent democracy. Even in old democracies, sectarian interests of the vanquished are determinants of an inclusive government. Therefore power-sharing agreements between parties in young nations like Kenya must be tempered with concern for national interest in integration.
To appear to reserve a certain cadre of government jobs for specific communities or regions is to stretch the concept of winner-must-have-their-way too far given raw ethnic sensitivities that stalk Kenya. A government cannot preserve its legitimacy for long if it is perceived to exclude on the basis of a national electoral mandate. Worse, the luxury will not be enjoyed for long when the mandate is razor thin and gained by numbers from a few regions. Jubilee fell into this self-inflicted trap that calls for a re-think on the negative public perception that Jubilee is exclusive.”
Meanwhile, political alignment in the region is bound to take complex routes as disgruntled members of Cord seek sanctuary in a home-grown party. Regional MCAs last week threatened to abandon ODM alleging mistreatment in “the party of Nyanza” likening the tribulations of Ababu Namwamba to earlier one Mudavadi faced when he sought to challenge Raila in 2012.
Against this background, the Supreme Court has ruled that Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula committed an election offence for which he should be punished by being barred from contesting future elections. Instructions have been issued to the DPP and   IEBC to take action in a scenario that is likely to bring Wetang’ula’s presidential ambitions to an abrupt halt.  
Related to this is the meeting of Western MPs in Busia where they launched a parliamentary caucus ostensibly to focus on the economy of the area. However, lurking underneath the caucus is political telltale signs that MPs want to rally behind one presidential candidate. This was obvious from the attendance of Ababu on the back of being vilified in ODM and sacked from the Pac.