The defection of former Amani National Congress secretary-general Barrack Muluka to William Ruto’s camp has dealt Musalia Mudavadi another major political blow throwing the party into shambles.
Muluka is said to have defected with hundreds of ANC party officials and strategists to Ruto’s camp throwing ANC election plans and programmes into disarray. Muluka’s abrupt resignation from ANC and his subsequent replacement by the ANC aspirant for Kibra by-election parliamentary seat, Eliud Owalo, who later resigned and has also joined DP Ruto’s camp set off speculations that the ANC leader could be planning to work with the deputy president ahead of 2022 general election. Those who said to have moved with Muluka from ANC to Ruto’s camp include Mudavadi’s core strategy team and grassroots mobilizers who have dealt his presidential ambitions a deadly political blow.
“Musalia Mudavadi Centre and the ANC secretariats are now empty shells as the core personnel there have been raided by the Ruto camp,” one ANC insider said. Mudavadi’s confidants said they had suspected that Muluka and Owalo were on DP Ruto’s payroll and they were behind their boss’ indecisiveness on whether to work with Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. They are suspected to have been underwritten by Ruto to ensure that Mudavadi did not join the Uhuru-Raila formation through false promises of Ruto pulling out from the 2022 presidential race in support of the ANC leader. While speaking about his move to Ruto’s camp during an interview with Citizen TV’s Jeff Koinange last Wednesday, Muluka said the offer to work with the DP was irresistible.
“When the person who occupies the second-highest office in the land considers that I’m meritorious of working with him and for him, it would be an exercise in self-delusion to say that I will not work for the person,” he said. In August, Muluka resigned as the secretary-general of ANC. In a letter addressed to Mudavadi, Muluka said ANC needed a fresh start ahead of the 2022 polls. On his quitting ANC, Muluka said he had fulfilled all the assignments handed to him by the party during his appointment. He added that his exit will now allow ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi to give the party a new lease of life. He also added that he had also written to the Registrar of Political Parties to strike out his name as the secretary-general as well as a member of ANC.
Muluka has previously worked with Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila before joining ANC. Muluka and Owalo have joined a growing list of seasoned politicians and political strategists DP is recruiting ahead of the 2022 campaigns. Muluka quit ANC at a time the party had initiated changes aimed at making the party have a national outlook. Mudavadi’s critics have been saying that he leads a tribal party because of the composition of ANC officials who include him as party leader (Luhya), Muluka secretary-general (Luhya), Kelvin Lunani national chairman (Luhya), Lugari MP Ayub Savula deputy party leader (Luhya), Beatrice Adagala national women league leader (Luhya). The party leader has been under pressure from a section of members to restructure the party and make it have a national outlook and the exit of Muluka is said to have hastened the start of that process.
ANC insiders say Mudavadi has no option but to completely overhaul the party and its management structure by bringing on board new individuals to lend it a national appeal. One such planned move is that of ordering all Luhya ANC national officials to relinquish their positions to be taken over by members from other regions. Reforms in the party are led by two public policy experts Godfrey Kanoti and Eric Wafukho who are heading a new national executive council that was created by the party’s new constitution. The NEC is going to roll out far-reaching changes on the party’s leadership structure and constitution architecture to give it a national outlook and reposition itself as the party of choice ahead of the 2022 general election. Some of the changes include delineating the administrative functions from political ones which now fall under the newly created body: The Amani Council.
The Amani Council is composed of among others, 47 ANC branch chairpersons of the 47 counties. All future secretaries-general are expected to be vetted by this body to ensure that they serve the party’s interests. Muluka had a protracted tenure since taking over from nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi as the party’s secretary-general. Immediately after he took over, Osotsi took him to court challenging his appointment as ANC’s secretary-general. The case is still ongoing. Recently, Osotsi said that all the current ANC party officials’ term in office, including Mudavadi’s, had lapsed. He said the party’s constitution indicated that term of office for all our party officials is five years and this came to an end on June 15 2015 when the party was registered.
Muluka was officially appointed as the ANC secretary-general in November 2017 after a gazette notice dated October 30 said that he took over from Osotsi who was nominated to the national assembly. While welcoming him to the party when he joined, Mudavadi expressed optimism that Muluka would bring more value to the team. Prior to his appointment, the then Registrar of Political Parties, Lucy Ndung’u declined his nomination saying that she had received a complaint from a member of the party. The complainant, Evans Nyaribo, claimed that due process was not followed in Muluka’s appointment. However, the national executive committee and the parliamentary group agreed that Muluka would serve until further notice.
The new constitution adopted by the ANC in August is suspected to be among the chief reasons for the departure of Muluka from the party. The renowned political analyst had been under pressure for months after a section of ANC members claimed his term in office expired earlier this year. Muluka paid a crucial role in the writing of Mudavadi’s biography “Soaring Above the Storms of Passion” which was published and launched last year that antagonized relations between the ANC and ODM leaders. In the new ANC constitution, all branch chairmen will have to be voted in from all constituencies and must command the widest popularity within the counties. The party’s administrative functions have also now been placed in the hands of a new body, the national executive board.
This body shall be chaired by the party chairman and shall supervise the secretary-general who now moves to serve as the chief executive officer of the party secretariat. Party leader shall present two names of candidates to the Amani Council out of whom the council shall elect one to be appointed as secretary-general. Other changes with far-reaching consequences have transferred power to grassroots structures to ensure the alignment with its new constitution ahead of the 2022 general elections. The changes come in the backdrop of an intensive outreach programme to strengthen branches through a special task force set up by the national executive council and under the leadership of Kanoti and Wafukho. The team is expected to complete its work by April next year and help position the ANC for forthcoming elections with strong structures and strong candidates for all seats across the country.