Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi was forced yet again to distance his presidential bid from President Kibaki during a series of political rallies on Friday.
He dismissed as propaganda reports that his campaign had the blessings of State House and an alliance of leaders under the G7 Alliance.
“Why is Raila not a project of Njonjo and other politicians from central Kenya whom he has been talking to?” posed Mr Mudavadi, who is seeking the United Democratic Forum ticket.
While he has consistently insisted that he is his own man, fresh conspiracy theories continued to build on his ties to President Kibaki.
On Friday, ODM sensationally linked Mr Mudavadi’s campaign to the President’s son Jimmy Kibaki. Read (Mudavadi, Raila head to Ruto’s turf in vote hunt)
The Raila Odinga for President national director Barrack Muluka gave dates, venues and participants of meetings, which he claimed were used to prepare Mr Mudavadi’s exit from the party.
Mr Muluka alleged that meetings were held with Deputy Prime Miniser Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, and Jimmy Kibaki in Gigiri before the defection from the Orange party.
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto could not be reached for comment as text messages sent to them and their aides were not returned.
“On March 20, 2012, there was an anti-ODM meeting in Jimmy Kibaki’s office in Gigiri. In attendance were Mr Koech (representing Ruto), Jimmy, and a representative of Mr Mudavadi as well as Mr Kenyatta’s,” Mr Muluka claimed in a statement to Saturday Nation.
But the younger Kibaki dismissed the allegations, saying he has never been involved in matters of political parties.
“I have never been involved in political party affairs least of all ODM,” he said when contacted for comment.
He went on: “I am not a member of any political party in Kenya, not even PNU. I am a private citizen and not a politician and I wish to remain so.”
Mr Mudavadi’s spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi refused to comment on the latest allegations, saying he did not want “to lend credence to wild claims.”
Apart from the roots of the party, which have been traced to a senior official at State House, Mr Mudavadi’s security has recently been beefed up with at least four GSU officers assigned to him.
A civil servant at the Office of the President confirmed to Saturday Nation that there was a plan to send at least three additional Administration Police officers to Mr Mudavadi’s Mululu home in Vihiga.
The DPM’s twin rallies in Bungoma and Kakamega last weekend were also an elaborate display of state power with police officers lining the potholed Kisumu-Kakamega highway.
Police officers were stationed at intervals along the route with motorists being diverted off the road when his entourage neared trading centres.
Security was being commanded by Western police boss Benson Kibui while Kakamega OCPD, and not Vihiga OCPD, was in charge.
“This mobilisation is only done when the President is visiting a region,” said a senior police officer at the Western Provincial Headquarters.
The officer added: “The Prime Minister was here last week and not all of us were recalled from our other duties. This is quite unique, although as DPM he is entitled to police escort.”
His acquisition of a custom-built white Toyota Lexus is also seen in this light.
The vehicle is bullet proof and can navigate through very rough terrain because it has run-flat tyres.
While his tasking to invite President Kibaki during the Madaraka Day celebrations was occasioned by the absence of Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, the circumstances were all the same noteworthy.
“Mr Mudavadi was flown in a police chopper from Bungoma to undertake the assignment and left just after he had invited the President,” said a senior aide of the DPM.
And in an unprecedented bending of protocol, Mr Mudavadi was allowed to leave the podium while the President was addressing the nation.
Mr Mudavadi on Thursday again represented the President at a function at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, where he down played his role.
“It is quite normal for the President or the Prime Minister to assign the DPM or a minister a role when he is tied up with other commitments,” he said.
But even as he spoke, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, who is the President’s principal secretary, in another function within the KICC and that it would have been natural to choose him to represent the President, especially coming hot on the heels of Mr Mudavadi’s eyebrow-raising role on Madaraka Day less than a week earlier.
Political rivals have also marveled at his new-found financial muscle.
“I have worked with Mr Mudavadi for quite some time and we know his pockets are not really shallow,” said Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba. “But I can tell you the amount of money he (now) has access to is mind-boggling. We know of councillors who ask for as much as Sh50,000 to attend rallies.”
An official at Mr Mudavadi’s party who did not wish to be named claimed Prof Wanjohi met Mr Mudavadi at his home in Nairobi before making a trip the DPM’s Mululu home a few days before he ditched the ODM last month.
“We were told at the last minute that he will be joining us,” said the official. “We are interim officials and of course we get orders from certain people.”
But Industrialisation Assistant Minister Ndiritu Muriithi, who is President Kibaki’s nephew and a member of UDF played down the links.
“Of course every candidate would welcome support from important quarters like an outgoing president but ours is a party driven by ideas and convictions rather than convenience,” said Mr Muriithi.
Mr Kabatesi on the other hand said the claims were driven by jealousy.
“When Land Minister James Orengo and Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo recently begged Kibaki to endorse the PM, did they want him to become a project? Are they calling Mudavadi a project because he got what they wanted?” Mr Kabatesi asked and added the DPM had a right to make friends at any level.
Analysts see the International Criminal Court cases as likely factor in Mr Mudavadi’s new connections.
Although the ICC prosecutor says he has no evidence connecting Mr Kibaki to the violence, some of the President’s supporters have built the case that by the indictment of Mr Muthaura, one of his confidants, the principal State House tenant was the prosecutor’s main target.
“The person they want is (President) Kibaki that is why they have touched on our four brothers. We must pray to God that their appeals go through at ICC so that the President can enjoy his retirement peacefully,” Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka was quoted as saying in a February 1, 2012 “prayer” meeting in Meru.
President Kibaki and Mr Mudavadi’s relationship goes far back in time to when the latter was chairing the House Business Committee while the former was Leader of Opposition in Parliament.