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Monday, December 6, 2021

Why Mudavadi is on charm offensive to win over Mt Kenya voters

By Otieno Kwach

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The High Court ruling stopping the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 famously known as the BBI Bill seems to have thrown some presidential candidates to chart their own path with a new strategy.

Although leaders coalescing around the One Kenya Alliance (ONA) bringing together the quartet Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Gideon Moi (Kanu) and Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya), Mudavadi has been making forays in the Mount Kenya region alone.

In just a span of two weeks, Mudavadi has visited the region twice, with pundits seeing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s hand in the new strategy.

Stung by the High Court ruling, Mudavadi seems to be creating a niche’ for himself away from the rest of his colleagues under the One Kenya Alliance.

Last week, Mudavadi hosted Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru at his centre along Riverside drive where they discussed corrosive politics and the unity of the country.

“I was honoured to host Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru. Our discussion covered a wide range of issues of National importance ranging from economy, security, agriculture, health care, education and good governance,” said Mudavadi.

He went on: “In the meeting, we agreed that, as Kenyans, we need to move away from corrosive politics and focus on discussions that will help in cementing the unity of our country.”

Sources intimated to the Frontier Post that governor Waiguru is also seeking to up her stakes with like-minded political figure heads in a bid to be a possible candidate for the running mate position should the BBI flop.

Waiguru is facing stiff competition from Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and Interior PS Dr Karanja Kibicho who are said to have set their eyes on the Kirinyaga gubernatorial position in next year’s polls.

Yesterday Governor Waiguru made a courtesy call on Mudavadi in a move seen as raising the stakes ahead of the August 2022 general elections.

“Our nation will be built through consensus not divisions. It is always an honor to consult with other leaders. We deliberated on National Unity, the Economy, healthcare and women Inclusivity in national leadership,” said Waiguru.

Five days ago, Mudavadi met leaders from the Mt Kenya region as part of his continued effort to reach out to all people from the vote rich region.

 My meeting discussed many issues of national importance as we head to the year of elections.

“Inclusivity is vital in any progressive government determined to improve the economic fortunes of its people and this is the reason why I am reaching out to everyone from every region of our country,” said Mudavadi after the meeting.

During the meeting, Mudavadi met leaders who were close allies of retired President Mwai Kibaki who were appealing to his presidential candidacy back in 2013 when Kibaki was ending his second term.

“I can become the President of Kenya, post President Uhuru Kenyatta term and together, we fix our economy for prosperity. The region is an axis that cannot be ignored if one wants to lead this country, as much as other regions count. The economic stability of this country has strong roots in central region,” said Mudavadi.

ANC Deputy party leader Lugari MP Ayub Savula charged that the inroads Mudavadi is making in the Mount Kenya region is to loosen the grip Deputy President William Ruto has held in the region.

“We want to drive Ruto out of there. Mudavadi must strengthen himself so that he may have a higher bargaining power amongst his colleagues under the alliance,” said Savula.

Savula also told the Frontier Post that Mudavadi’s forays in Mount Kenya have the blessings of President Uhuru Kenyatta, but quipped that they are not looking for an endorsement from anybody.

“Uhuru is still the kingpin of Mount Kenyat region. He has given his blessings to Mudavadi to go out and sell his policies. We are not seeking his endorsement. Infact, we don’t want it. What we want is support. If Uhuru and Raila agrees to support us, so be it,” said Savula.

Mount Kenya region has approximately eight million registered voters going by the electoral agency register as at 2017 polls, numbers and the votes that one cannot ignore.

Ruto has made inroads and is considered a front runner. But now Mudavadi is charming his way into the hearts of voters in the region.

Political analyst Prof Amukowa Anangwe argued that Musalia is on a mission to gain support in order to broaden his power base beyond his backyard in Luhyaland just as other major presidential candidates are doing.

“There is so much goodwill for him in Mt. Kenya region and with more effort he could turn tables on Ruto in the region. This does not necessarily mean he is charting his own different path or lack of faith in One Kenya Alliance. In fact, it is an attempt to strengthen the effort by popularizing himself and his colleagues in the alliance should follow suit,” said Prof Anangwe.

Masinde Muliro University don Prof Egara Kabaji contends that many politicians have opted to cast their nets blindly hoping to catch some fish.

“MM is not left behind. He is aware of the fact that a sizable number of the Gikuyu suffer from Raila phobia. In the same breath, a good number of them believe that Ruto had a hand in the Post-Election violence in the Rift Valley in 2007 that led to displacement and death of many Kikuyu. So he hopes to present compromise candidature to the region,” said Kabaji.

He went on: “Mudavadi is a likable character who abhors useless controversy. He is one of the few politicians in Kenya who is not feared but loved and liked. Baring ethnic consideration that control most voters, he can comfortably be acceptable country wide even amongst the rich and powerful.

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