By ALPHONCE SHIUNDU firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Sunday, April 22 2012 at 22:30
Posted Sunday, April 22 2012 at 22:30
- Quite apart from the dispute over nomination rules, Raila’s deputy now says references to him as a ‘political ghost’ and ‘adopted child’ left him feeling that he was not valued in the party
Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi says he quit Orange Democratic Movement because some party leaders did not respect him.
“I have been called an adopted son, and even a ghost resurrected from the political grave. Partners who respect your contributions and have goodwill do not use such insults to assure you of a level playing field,” Mr Mudavadi said on Sunday at his home in Sabatia.
“I have helped people in 2002 and 2007. This time round, it is their turn to give back that support,” he said a day after breaking ranks with his boss, Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Mr Mudavadi was Mr Uhuru Kenyatta’s running mate on the Kanu ticket in 2002. They lost to the National Rainbow Coalition.
On Sunday, there was some speculation that Mr Mudavadi registered a new party three weeks ago and would unveil it as his vehicle to State House.
This could explain why the Sabatia MP did not name his new political home on Saturday at the Kakamega rally where he abandoned ODM.
Mr Mudavadi has been pushing for the amendment of the ODM laws to allow for competitive primaries.
“Technically, a process has been manufactured to ensure a no-contest situation in the party. So what does this mean? The door is closed on me,” he said in Kakamega.
Since he declared interest in the party’s presidential ticket, Mr Mudavadi has been under pressure from Western Province leaders including councillors, clergy, businessmen and MPs, to go for the presidency.
In the last two weeks, Mr Mudavadi has been reaching out to politicians previously not associated with ODM, heightening speculation that he was on his way out of the Orange party.
His departure has thrown a cat among the pigeons in Kenyan politics. On the one had, it has created a window of opportunity for some of ODM stalwarts in Western to also grow and take senior positions in government.
For example, Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya is thought of as a candidate for Deputy Prime Minister while the ODM deputy chief whip, Mr Benjamin Washiali (Mumias), is being mentioned in connection with the Local Government Ministry.
Others who may have an eye on the plum portfolio include Mr Fred Gumo (Westlands) — who like Mr Oparanya, was in the group of MPs that piled pressure on Mr Mudavadi not to quit ODM.
“I will not hesitate to take over that job from (Mr) Mudavadi if the changes are made,” Mr Washiali said on Sunday.
However, he denied claims that MPs from the province were being courted with Cabinet positions to ditch Mr Mudavadi.
“It is not true, but if there is a reshuffle, I cannot turn down the appointment,” said Mr Washiali.
In political circles, Mr Ababu Namwamba (Budalang’i) is said to be in the waiting-list of Cabinet posts if Sports Minister Paul Otuoma does not “behave”.
Dr Otuoma (Funyula) and Mr David Were (Matungu) are some of those in ODM who were expected to join their ODM colleagues from Western Kenya in calling on Mr Mudavadi to stay in ODM, but they were “stuck in traffic” when the MPs issued their statement on Thursday.
Dr Otuoma’s stand on the matter is not known, while Mr Were is said to have cut links with Mr Odinga, after the PM reportedly recommended a Mr John Wesonga “Posho” to the people of Matungu.
On the flipside, Mr Mudavadi’s departure effectively dismantles the coalition which ODM took to the election in 2007 with provincial chieftains sitting in the Pentagon.
Mr Najib Balala of the Coast has not only gone his way but been sacked from the Cabinet, Eldoret North MP William Ruto of Rift Valley is also gone, the positions of Mrs Charity Ngilu and Mr Joe Nyaga, both of Eastern, are unclear.
The question now is whether Mr Mudavadi, having left the party, should lose his positions in the coalition government. Mr Mudavadi’s aides point out that while the Local Government post may be “available”, that of the Deputy Prime Minister was not.
They said the precedent set by Mr Mudavadi’s alternate, Mr Kenyatta, was enough to show that the DPM slot was not up for grabs.
When Mr Kenyatta resigned as Finance minister, he stuck with the DPM post, saying that only Parliament could get him off that slot.
If Mr Mudavadi uses that line, and ODM takes him on in the House, he’d have to seek the help of the G7 alliance, which has the numbers in the House, to keep his position. To get such help will require him to make some political deals. This is possibly why he did not name his destination.
In Nairobi, Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’ termed Mr Mudavadi’s quit threat as inconsequential.
“We in ODM are not worried by Mudavadi’s departure since his replacement would be found soon,” he said on Sunday. (READ:Anxiety as Mudavadi holds talks with leaders)
Additional reporting by John Shilitsa