Mudavadi on a mission to woo Mt Kenya, Maa
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has embarked on a mission to win the support of the Mount Kenya region and the Maa community.
Mudavadi, who has declared his interest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, is seen as the most formidable candidate under the One Kenya Alliance which brings together Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Gideon Moi of Kanu and Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya).
With his recent tours of Kilgoris in Narok County and Kieni in Nyeri, Mudavadi appears to have set the pace to become the One Kenya Alliance flag-bearer in next year’s election.
During the visits, Kilgoris and Kieni leaders challenged Mudavadi to front himself as the man to beat in the presidential race.
Mudavadi’s tours are partly meant to dispel the claim by his critics that he only enjoys the support of his Western Kenya backyard.
While in Kilgoris, leaders told Mudavadi that they were positioning themselves as the people who will have a serious influence in the 2022 election.
The Kilgoris meeting was held at the home of former Internal Security Minister Julius Sunkuli who served with Mudavadi in late President Daniel arap Moi’s Cabinet.
The Maa elders said Mudavadi was the best bet to be One Kenya Alliance’s presidential candidate.
“The Maasai people are trustworthy. They tell you what is in their hearts. If you listen to them keenly, they will appreciate it.
What they need is a leader who will address the challenges that they have. They have seen a leader in Musalia Mudavadi.
Don’t let them down,” said former NHIF Chief Executive Officer Simon ole Kirgotty.
Sunkuli said they were convinced Mudavadi was best placed to take care of the community’s interests.
“What we want is to be recognised and have a leader who will have the interests of the Maasai people at heart.
Musalia Mudavadi is such a leader and we welcome him to seek the support of the Maasai,” said Sunkuli.
In his address, Mudavadi invoked the name of the late Maasai kingpin William ole Ntimama.
“I have worked with the Maasai people for long. Mzee Ntimama was my mentor when I joined the Cabinet. I have come to seek your support with utmost humility,” said Mudavadi.
Mt Kenya agenda
In Kieni, Central Kenya leaders told Mudavadi to reach out to the region’s people, saying their substantial votes hold the key to who becomes the next president.
They asked him to work closely with Mt Kenya leaders in his quest for the top seat.
Mudavadi was among guests who attended a ceremony to celebrate area MP Kanini Kega’s son initiation into adulthood.
Leaders present included Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Cabinet Secretaries from the region Mutahi Kagwe (Health), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and Peter Munya (Agriculture).
Kagwe said Mudavadi had a good track record and should be given the opportunity to sell his policies and agenda for the region.
“Take this early opportunity and negotiate with us. We have a huge following and the votes.
We want structured negotiations. We want to tell you frankly that we are very open and you need to consider who you talk to on behalf of our people,” he said.
Kega described the former vice president as a gentleman.
“He found time to come to talk to us. We are looking forward to having such leaders,” said Kega.
Deputy President William Ruto has been making inroads in the vote-rich region after the 2017 General Election.
Mudavadi ran for president in 2013 election and finished a distant third after winner Uhuru Kenyatta and the then Prime Minister Raila Odinga at second.
Mudavadi sells himself not only as a trusted harmless leader but also as the solution to the country’s sagging economy including the ballooning public debt and high cost of living.
The former Deputy Prime Minister is credit for a turnaround of the economy in the early 1990s when he served as Finance minister at a time when the country was reeling from severe recession.
“His vast experience and expertise having served as the Minister for Finance and Local Government gives him an edge over his rivals,” said a source who sought anonymity.
It was not by accident that it was the economic pitch that Mudavadi used in his address in Nyeri.
“The economy of this country is ailing and I know that the people of Mt Kenya are feeling the pinch.
I need your support so that we work to get a solution for the woes of tea and coffee farmers and business people in this region,” Mudavadi said.