I’m not discussing a 2022 poll deal with Ruto, says Mudavadi
Mukalo Kwayera @kwayeram
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi yesterday denied claims of having talks with Deputy President William Ruto with a view of establishing a working relationship in the countdown to the 2022 election.
“This is a tired propaganda line; why can’t they try a new one? This is a claim that has been made by my rivals for the last two years.
Unfortunately they have succeeded in roping in sections of the media through well choreographed weekend campaign articles camouflaged as news analysis,” responded Mudavadi when reached by People Daily.
The former Vice-President said he was busy charting his political future as he prepares to run for the presidency in the next General Election and therefore he would not take advice from people he considers competitors in the same race.
“For all I know, Ruto and (former Prime Minister) Raila Odinga will be candidates in 2022. They are my competitors. We are not in the business of sideshows.
We leave that to our opponents. Who raises complaints when people meet Raila at his offices or elsewhere? Why does it become an issue when people come to meet me?
“A narrative is being created to frame the country into a Ruto or Raila contest and, therefore, one must choose either of them. I am not supporting Ruto or Raila. I am going to run against them,” he stated.
In a telephone conversation, Mudavadi wondered why he and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula, also the Bungoma senator, were suddenly targets of sustained attacks by a section of politicians.
He said it was puzzling that political parties that have not held elections for as long as they have existed “have the audacity to lecture us on democracy and holding of elections.”
“What is the interest in ANC and Ford Kenya leadership? Why do they want to destablise the two parties? We have been supporting some of our friends to vie for high office.
“We have, therefore, declared that we are not going to support another person this time round.
That is what is disturbing some people after they realised that we are not ready to back them again,” Mudavadi said.
He said he would this week be meeting delegations from different parts of the country and that he and Wetang’ula would continue to engage on matters of mutual interest, especially on the economy, and no one would dictate to them on how to go about it.
Last Friday, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula, together with legislators from their respective parties under the aegis of the Mulembe Nation Forum held a four-hour meeting at the former’s home after which they addressed the media on the economic state of the country and the Mulembe Nation.
In their statement, the leaders observed: “Uganda remains Kenya’s foremost business partner in our region – and indeed one of the foremost globally.
It is a matter of great irony that the communities living adjacent to the Kenya-Uganda border are among those who benefit least from the cross-border trade between the two countries.
This is true from the Nyanza Lake Basin region, all the way to the greater Mt Elgon region.”
“This anomaly is a factor of the underdeveloped economy in the Lake Basin, the North Rift and the Mt Elgon regions.
A deliberate blueprint to revamp the regional economy, all the way from the Central Rift Valley, the North and South Rift, the Lake Basin and Western Kenya, is of paramount urgency.
“In the coming days, we are going to push hard for this, both at the level of the national government and devolved government,” they added.
They raised concern on overcrowding of trucks at the Kenya-Uganda border, arguing that if the cause is fear of Covid-19 pandemic, the people who live adjacent to the border have reason to be afraid, with the possibility of a serious outbreak of the disease in Western Kenya.
“We call upon the government to move swiftly to decongest the affected border points. This must be a matter of priority. We will closely monitor the developments and will not hesitate to address them again, should the situation persist.
“We remain concerned that the rehabilitation of the metre gauge railway from Nairobi to the Uganda border has remained a singsong.
“If this railway were functional, it would ease some of the pressure on road transport of heavy goods. It would also decongest the roads and make them less accident-prone.
“We call for expedited action here. Indeed, the region must also benefit from the extended Standard Gauge Railway. National resources must serve the entire nation,” they said.
They took issue with the Budget read by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani last Thursday which they said marginalised Western Kenya and the entire Lake Basin region.
“We note with profound concern that the sugar industry, that has been the mainstay of our economy in Western Kenya, remains marginalised.
“Not a single word of hope has been given to the sugar farmer and to all those whose lives and livelihoods have been defined around the sugar industry – from Awendo to Nzoia and from Mumias to Ramisi.
“We are left wondering whether this is a factor of the State giving up on the industry, or is it erroneous human omission, or deliberate marginalisation? Whatever the case, this must be corrected immediately. We call upon Parliament to attend to this concern.”
They pointed out gaps in Yatani’s budget which they said gave a blind eye to the fishing sector and demanded to know what the blue economy should mean for the people of Western Kenya and the entire Lake Region, the decision to heap so much money at the Nairobi Metropolitan Services at the expense of the rest of the country and the plight of pastoralists.