Uhuru not pushing me to back Raila, says Mudavadi
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has reiterated that his campaign for the presidency in next year’s election is unstoppable.
He dismissed media reports that he was being pressured by influential people in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government to drop his presidential bid in favour of ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Mudavadi termed the reports as propaganda, saying the two were worthy competitors who were working towards the same goal. “I am very focused on where I want to go.
I am focused on seeking the presidency. And if there is anything that will warrant a conversation, I will not shy away from telling Kenyans that I am in a conversation.
But I want to tell Kenyans that what many are dealing with now are mere rumours,” he said.
In an interview with People Daily, Mudavadi said the only conversation that he has been involved in is the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) talks. This, he said, was an ongoing process.
He said OKA had engaged a number of political parties with the intention of strengthening its bargaining power.
“In OKA we are reaching out to other political parties, and not too long-ago Kenyans saw us meet with the leadership of KADDU-ASILI and we have also reached out to (Narc Kenya leader) Martha Karua and had a conversation with her on what we see as the way forward.
She is consulting with her team then she can make up her mind if she wants to collaborate with OKA.
“ODM leader Raila Odinga has not been the subject of our OKA conversation. He is running his affairs in ODM and we are members of a different formation.
We have our individual parties. Our focus is to grow OKA in a particular way and at this point, we are not focusing on either Raila or Deputy President William Ruto. We are focusing on growing OKA.”
He insisted that he will not play second fiddle to anyone in next year’s presidential race.
“I am looking at nothing less than being on the ballot. That is my target. I am preparing fully for the presidential race.
Our infrastructure is in place and that is why you will see us moving from time to time.
I am holding out to the best of my ability and I believe I will offer myself to the Kenyan people.”
He dismissed claims that the President, who he said is his friend with whom they talk when the need arises, has a preferred presidential candidate.
“The President is a powerful person and he can have influence. That influence can be visible or invisible.
It does not necessarily mean that his word will be final but his influence can come in many different ways.
So, you cannot underrate a sitting President. But I think ultimately, it is Kenyans who will cast the vote,” said Mudavadi.
He, however, warned that the incumbent’s support can be a poisoned chalice, citing the 2002 election when the then outgoing President Daniel arap Moi’s support of Uhuru failed to deliver victory.
“Moi’s support for Uhuru did not translate to victory. In fact, Kibaki stormed in with a very huge majority. One has to be very careful.
The President is influential but the influence can have ramifications. You can be branded a project.
But do not underrate the influence of the President,” added Mudavadi, who was Moi’s vice president at the time.
The ANC leader said Kenyans need more choices and the voters should not be boxed into a corner in the name of a two-horse race.
Saying the ultimate decision will be made on the ballot, he called on leaders seeking elective positions to let the will of the people prevail in the August 2022 election.
“We still have several months ahead of us. Within those months, a lot of things will happen. I can take you back to Kenya’s political history.
The shape of Kenya’s politics normally takes its actual direction about four to five months before the voting day.
Narc was just a three month wave in 2002 and it swept the whole country,” the ANC leader said.
Mudavadi, who is expected to launch his presidential manifesto soon, said his style of politics was different from that of his competitors.
He said his party was working towards meeting all the electoral timelines set by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
“Those are the guidelines we are working towards meeting since they are stated under the law and they are the statutory ones,” he said.