The Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi’s bargaining power into a possible coalition ahead of 2022 elections is increasingly thinning with his troops taking sides in the national political landscape and rapidly forming into a two horse race.
Political analysts have projected a fierce presidential duel pitting William Ruto and whoever would be fronted by team Kieleweke which boasts of political heavyweights in the country led by Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.
Mudavadi is highly likely to be caught off guard at the eleventh hour with a devastating impact in terms of numbers as many politicians both elected and non-elected are already out to identify themselves with either Tanga Tanga team or Kieleweke squad.
When Uhuru tasked Nasa leaders with the popularisation of the Huduma Namba registration, observers noted that it was a classic show of sending an olive branch to top opposition leaders but in consideration of his 2022 political interest.
Whereas Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka quickly read the mood of the head of state that came with the gesture that has tellingly redefined his style of operation, Mudavadi has not shown any notable spark of playing by the president’s side ahead of 2022 elections.
During the launch of Huduma Namba that even exposed further the strain delicate fabric holding together Uhuru and Ruto, Raila was dispatched to Mombasa, Mudavadi pitched tent in Kajiado while Kalonzo was in Murang’a to amplify how important the exercise was nationally.
Ruto was to take the drive to Kakamega but instead he embarked on a tactical defiance against his boss in a move that activated a mildly tensed political moment as a section of his supporters remained skeptical over the exercise.
Kalonzo seized the moment to rejuvenate politically and in a bid to be of more appeal to the president has gone a notch higher to back Uhuru against the purported war on graft.
His current political moves depict him as a supporter of Uhuru in supposed
war against corruption which is also expected to form the main pillar of 2022 campaigns perceived as a duel between outfits presented as dynasty family and hustlers.
Kalonzo has demanded stern action against powerful individuals in the country named in corruption cases that have robbed the country billions of shillings.
Kalonzo himself has however been named in graft for grabbing NYS land in Yatta where he has a farm and a home and so is seen as hypocritical just like everyone now in the forefront of criticising corruption. It is even said that the reason Kalonzo started supporting Uhuru is because Uhuru threatened to have the fake Yatta title deed reviewed.
Kalonzo true to type warned that Kenya might be forced to go the Sudan way failure by the government to deal with the corrupt individuals appropriately.
This is a sure proof that Kalonzo has booked himself an early ticket at the Kieleweke wing while his co-Nasa principal has opted to remain at the delicate political middle ground.
Flamboyant businessman and politician Don Bosco Gichana told Mudavadi that political daggers have been drawn on national politics and the longer it takes him to make up his mind, the more he is forgotten politically.
“It seems on one side of the battle, Francis Atwoli has comfortably taken his position and Mudavadi as the de facto face of Luhya politics should choose on which side to take very fast and place himself at the center stage for relevancy,” noted Gichana.
He challenged Mudavadi to abandon playing the opposition role since it did not matter at the moment, adding that the present case was like a grand coalition government where both sides check each other.
The defiant leaders apparently impatient with their party boss reluctance to identify with any of the two established political camps acted on their own despite warnings of disciplinary actions.
Among those who have rebelled against the party rules and regulations include Lurambi MP Titus Khamala, Justus Murungu, Matungu, Godfrey Osotsi, nominated, Kakamega senator Cleopas Malala and his Vihiga counterpart George Khaniri.
Whereas Khamala and Murunga are leading the group supporting Ruto, Ayub Savula, Osotsi, Malala and Khaniri are in support of the handshake and have declared that they will champion the Big Four Agenda.
Observers are scratching their heads to figure out why Mudavadi has remained reluctant of pushing his way into a formidable political coalition despite the devastating mass shifting of alliance by his party members to team tangatanga and Kieleweke.
Other analysts have however pointed out that the 2013 betrayal where Uhuru and Ruto put the ANC leader on two weeks believe that he was to be the Jubilee presidential flagbearer could be a sufficient reason to avoid the duo like a plague.
The betrayal came as a double tragedy to Mudavadi and his entire family as it coincided with a shocking news of his wife being diagnosed with breast cancer, which luckily enough was arrested at its early stage.
The fact that Mudavadi is losing grip of Luhya bloc at an alarming frequency has led to a series of tension packed ANC meetings at his Kakamega backyard and in Nairobi with his allies resorting to threats against those leading splinter groups.
During one of the meetings, a top official issued ultimatum to nine MCAs from Kakamega and Vihiga counties to show course why they should not be expelled from the party for attending a meeting with leaders from a competing political party.
Plans by Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya to make a stab at the presidency pose a series political dilemma for Mudavadi as more leaders from his home turf, including fire spitting Bonnie Khalwale, endorse Ruto for the country’s top seat in the 2022 elections.
If the trend continues, Oparanya is bound to be the man to watch as far as coalition politics is concerned.
An opinion poll commissioned by Atwoli in 2016 placed Oparanya as the second-most popular Luhya leader after
Since that time, a number of events have happened in favour of Oparanya including his election as the council of governors chairman.
Insiders say the fact that Oparanya’s popularity is threatening to eclipse that of Mudavadi coupled with his willingness to support Ruto has left the ANC leader rattled.
Weekly Citizen has established it is a beehive of activity at the Kakamega governor’s newly created presidential secretariat in Nairobi. However, word has it that the secretariat in funded by Ruto strategists who want to use Oparanya to checkmate Mudavadi and ODM leader Raila Odinga influence in Luhya politics.
In fact, Ruto was instrumental in the election of Oparanya as chairman of the governors’ council. The DP prevailed upon his governors including Bomet’s Loise Laboso to vote for Oparanya.
The full-fledged office located in upmarket Kilimani Estate is jammed with a team of high-powered researchers and political advisers brooding on his campaign machine ahead of the 2022 elections.
Sources close to his team said the former minister and second-term governor has also acquired a chopper, joining the privileged sky team club.
The size of his financial war chest is not publicly known, but an MP from the county said the reclusive governor has suddenly become “philanthropic”.
There have been talks that the Ruto is courting Oparanya as a potential running mate and that explains the governor’s current flashy political activities even though Oparanya has refuted any links with the DP.
Critics have dismissed Oparanya branding his influence in the region as still struggling below Mudavadi’s authority. They say Mudavadi has carved a niche for himself regionally, nationally and internationally.
However, what remains clear is the fact that Oparanya’s obvious casualties of his political moves, if it comes to prevail, are Mudavadi and Raila.
Ruto defiantly banks on Oparanya as a Mudavadi alternative to deliver on his side a handsome portion of followers from the region’s vote rich basket which Nasa leader successfully controlled in the past three consecutive elections.
Staring at a devastating political blow Mudavadi who is vouching for the elusive Luhya unity apparently for a stronger bargain has noted that politicians angry for easy money are the trouble makers wrecking his attempts.
“The hustler mentality in our politics is defined by handouts being dangled under guise of securing development,” he noted in an obvious reference to those joining Ruto’s camp.
Mudavadi has been packaging himself as the embodiment of the opposition after the now famous handshake between Uhuru and Raila that altered the political equation in the country.
Analysts have pointed it out that Mudavadi’s failure to swiftly identify his coalition partners as early as now is bound to create him more political troubles.
He has repeatedly poured cold water on Ruto’s presidential ambitions while at the same time he has remained a critic of the government as opposed to his Nasa leader who turned into a top government mouthpiece immediately after the handshake deal.
At the heart of the anti-Ruto alliance is the referendum push which the opposition chiefs hope to use as a clarion and a rallying point for their unity.
Uhuru has openly supported the referendum and change of the constitution aimed at expanding the executive power while Ruto on the other hand, has been skeptical of the idea.
Observers say Mudavadi must retreat to a drawing board and take full control of his house to have a meaningful political position as the race for 2022 gears up.
For now, Ruto team has released Khalwale as one of their political attack dogs in Luhya politics to play dirt politics together with political broker Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa.