Mudavadi: It will be hard to work with Raila, but don’t rule it out

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi says the mistrust between ODM leader Raila Odinga and his former National Super Alliance (NASA) allies is too wide and could be difficult to bridge.

While the ANC leader is not ruling out anything happening in politics, he has questioned the sincerity of the letter ODM wrote to its former NASA partners last week, promising  it would share out money  it received from the political parties fund. Mudavadi spoke a day after the ODM NEC met and mandated party leader Raila to engage his former partners individually and also after some members claimed that Mudavadi was the stumbling block against reviving the alliance.

“I do not know who Raila is going to approach individually as his party says, but there is major sigh of relief among us because it has opened the window for us to freely engage with other Kenyans,” said Mudavadi.

The NEC meeting that also authorised the exit of ODM from Nasa opened up the political space in the country, making it more complex as all parties now engage in a mad scramble for coalition arrangements before March next year.

Speaking about the ODM move, Mudavadi said it was a relief for them because the One Kenya Alliance(OKA) can now pursue its goals of forming new formations without hindrance from any quarters. But former some NASA chiefs including Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka have not ruled out working with Raila.

Big brother Raila

Kalonzo has asked Raila to join the OKA and be his running mate in the 2022 presidential poll. Speaking recently in Changamwe, Mombasa, Kalonzo argued he had supported the Raila for several years, and it was his time to reciprocate.

“I welcome my big brother Odinga who I have supported immensely in his political career for more than a decade. What I am saying is that there is no political debt, but I want him to use his wisdom and join me as my running mate and move this country forward,” Kalonzo said.

The Standard spoke to Mudavadi, hours after Raila led the ODM NEC in resolving to officially exit from the now moribund Nasa which he used to run for President in the 2017 elections. The ANC leader downplayed the dispute over the sharing of money given to ODM from the political party’s fund, arguing that the demise of Nasa was over the non fulfilment of principles and not just the dispute over sharing of the funds.

“The issue of the financial mischief is secondary, but you can also look at what happened last week, when they simply gave the media a tabulation of figures without asking parties to furnish them with bank details in that letter,” said Mudavadi.

According to the letter the opposition coalition partner parties will get Sh153 million of the Sh489 million disbursed to ODM. The sharing of the amount over three financial years was tabulated based on votes attributed to parliamentary seats by the five NASA  partners – ODM, Wiper, ANC, Ford Kenya and Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM).

Sharing the money

Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper will receive Sh70 million for 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/2020 while ANC will get Sh43.9m. Ford-Kenya will receive Sh36m while CCM of former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto will receive Sh3m. Musalia described the ODM letter as a source of more mistrust, adding that since 2017 money was being remitted, but there was no goodwill and intent to share those resources.

He also blamed ODM and its leadership for trashing what Nasa stood for, what they had set out to achieve and also denying ANC parliamentary leadership positions that they had agreed in the coalition document. Lugari MP Ayub Savula echoed those sentiments arguing that he was promised the position of Deputy Minority Leader in the Nasa coalition but the position later went to Suna East MP Junet Mohammed of ODM.

“The Nasa letter that shared out those positions is still with the Speaker. We as ANC decided not to engage them in arguments after they took both seats of Minority and Deputy Minority leaders and later took positions they had given to Ford Kenya,” says Savula.

Junet, however, says ANC did not deserve those seats because they only had seven seats in parliament but remained non committal over the alleged letter that was send to the National Assembly and Senate by the NASA principals. Mudavadi says ODM was not serious about sharing the money because of what he describes as the “the tongue in cheek mischief and blackmail” statements by its leaders demanding that it will not be released if former  partners are not of good behavior.

Junet who is the Minority leader appeared to justify Mudavadi’s fears when asked to comment on the issue: “The issue of money is still work in progress but let them slow down their provocative language” .

Savula argues that the letter was being used as bait for individual Nasa principals.

Anything is possible

But when asked about the possibility of working with Raila in future Mudavadi replied: “Anything is possible, but I wonder how the existing mistrust deficit that is just too wide will be bridged.”

The race is now on for all major political players to come up with new coalitions after the demise of NASA and the near collapse of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party that is struggling to re-engineer itself as it seeks new partnerships. Among the former NASA partners, Raila will use his fifth political party should he contest next year after unsuccessful attempts on the National Development Party (NDP) ticket in 1997 when he emerged third with just over 600,000 votes followed by closer losing margins in 2007 (ODM), 2013 (CORD Coalition) and 2017 (NASA).

Mudavadi will be making a second attempt after using the now almost moribund United Democratic Front (UDF) in 2013 that performed dismally despite being sponsored by some Central Kenya political forces while Kalonzo Musyoka vied on an ODM Kenya ticket in 2007.

Asked how the OKA will formalise its coalition agreement when Kanu, one of its affiliate parties is still in the Jubilee coalition, Mudavadi said they will be patient because all the four parties are currently involved in drawing the party structures.

He views the regions as a very important constituency that has the highest number of registered voters who over the years have overwhelmingly made a difference when a candidate from there was on the ballot.

“My economic agenda of uchumi bora pesa mufukoni (thriving economy with money in pockets) also resonates well with that region, where people are also largely entrepreneurs and value an environment of honesty and hard work to make ends meet,” he says.

Mudavadi also explained his economic agenda and why he dismissed Deputy President William Ruto’s bottom up economic model, whose explanation he struggles to understand.

Speaking at the ACK Emmanuel Riruta church in Kawangware yesterday Mudavadi challenged Ruto to offer practical solutions to the country’s economic crisis instead of engaging in theoretical proposals.

“Let us not confuse Kenyans by talking about economic models. What we need is to be practical about how to provide solutions to the problems. Is public debt an issue and how do we address it? Why are we talking about models instead of offering solutions?” posed Mudavadi.

“Are we facing corruption? The answer is yes. Is taxation becoming a problem? Yes, is it, people. It is a question of providing corrective policy measures. We need practical solutions,” he added.

He was accompanied by Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangúla, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa and Lugari lawmaker Ayub Savula.

Additional reporting by Moses Nyamori. [email protected]

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