Will State House links boost or hurt Mudavadi’s candidature?
Posted Saturday, June 9 2012 at 21:35
Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has left analysts guessing his political future after his former party ODM sensationally tagged him a State House “project”.
Opinion is still divided on the issue, with some warning that the State House link may undermine his presidential campaign while others say it is a smear campaign by his political adversaries in the ODM party, which he recently left for the United Democratic Forum (UDF).
Mr Herbert Kerre, a lecturer at Kabianga University, said given that politics is about perceptions Mr Mudavadi’s decision to accept an invitation by President Kibaki to address the nation during the Madaraka Day celebrations and to represent the Head of State at a function at the KICC last Thursday reinforces the thinking that he has the backing of the President.
“These developments do not augur well for his [saleability] as they show that he is not his own man,” Mr Kerre said. But Prof Macharia Munene says he believes Mr Mudavadi is not anybody’s “project”.
“I think since he decamped from ODM he has evolved into a popular politician and these claims that he is a project are not going to stick,” said the USIU history professor.
But Mr Mudavadi has denied any State House links, dismissing such claims as propaganda. “Why is Raila not a project of Njonjo and other politicians from central Kenya whom he has been talking to?” he asked on Friday after ODM linked his campaign to the President’s son Jimmy Kibaki.
Mr Barrack Muluka, the communications director at the Raila Odinga campaign secretariat, alleged the DPM had met with his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, and Jimmy Kibaki in Gigiri before he left the Orange party.
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto could not be reached for comment but the younger Kibaki dismissed the allegations, saying he has never been involved in political parties’ matters.
Last Thursday, Mr Mudavadi said: “There are people claiming that I am President Kibaki’s project. I am not. I have told them to stop speculating.” He said those behind the allegations were worried about his rising popularity.
Apart from the roots of the UDF 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.
The DPM’s twin rallies in Bungoma and Kakamega last weekend were also an elaborate display of State power with police officers lining the Kisumu-Kakamega highway.
The DPM’s recent political “fortunes” have divided opinion among observers. Another USIU professor Dick Kikaya says there is no concrete evidence that Mr Mudavadi is a political “project”.
“The mere fact that he was given a chance to address the public during Madaraka Day and to represent President Kibaki at a function at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi is not evidence to show that Mr Mudavadi is the President’s preferred presidential candidate,” he said.
Last Thursday, Mr Mudavadi said former President Daniel arap Moi had also been named as one of his backers. Mr Mudavadi’s decision to quit ODM and join the State House race, ruffled feathers in the party, with some claiming he was being driven by external forces.
This was reinforced by an emerging alliance between him and Mr Kenyatta of The National Alliance and Mr Ruto of United Republican Party. The three have held meetings to work out an anti-Odinga alliance in the lead up to the elections.
Now Mr Mudavadi is a urging the public not to read politics in his seeming closeness to the President.