The much-talked-about political alliance between William Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi has aborted, we can authoritatively report.
Touted as the gamechanger that would have given Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga a run for their money in 2022 presidential elections, the alliance collapsed after ANC leaders accused the pro-Ruto MPs from Luhyaland of trying to hang on the coattails of Mudavadi to ensure they recapture their parliamentary seats in 2022 elections after their man, Ruto, lost favour with the president.
The ANC brigade led by Lugari MP Ayub Savula has also been pouring cold water on the union, stating that Mudavadi would not be a running mate to any presidential candidate and would go all the way to the ballot box. The ANC brigade, sources added, caused the alliance to collapse after they accused pro-Ruto MPs from Western of joining them after they were dewhipped from their parliamentary seats. Others say that Cotu boss Francis Atwoli’s secret hand in the failed political abortion could be seen. Atwoli is said to have been in talks with MPs allied to Mudavadi cautioning them to tread carefully with Ruto power strategy. To Atwoli, according to sources, Ruto is an over-ambitious politician who, knowing what the presidency entails, will not forgo it for Mudavadi for himself to benefit. According to sources, during Kibaki succession, Uhuru had agreed to step down for Mudavadi but it is the same Ruto who opposed and forced Uhuru to retreat back to the race.
He ended up winning and succeeding Mwai Kibaki, forming the government with Ruto as Mudavadi UDF party he ran on for the presidency was snatched from him, forcing the former vice president to find homage in ANC party, a brainchild of nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi. Uhuru wanted Mudavadi in his first cabinet but Ruto was against the move, according to our impeccable sources. Ruto’s fear was that with Mudavadi in the cabinet, he was to overshadow him in Uhuru succession 2022. Analysts say that Ruto, Mudavadi power struggle started during their days in ODM when then ODM leader and Raila pushed for Mudavadi to be deputy prime in the power-sharing deal with Kibaki in the government of national unity. Ruto having delivered many votes from Rift Valley Kalenjin land expected to be named deputy PM but instead, he was named Agriculture minister, and then moved to Education ministry before Raila sacked him. With such a historical background and the fact that the current constitution does not allow Ruto to be deputy president after serving two terms, it is impossible for him to back Mudavadi’s presidential bid.
Instead, they argue that Mudavadi should be Ruto running mate. Another theory has it that Mudavadi power deal with Ruto was bound to complicate events in the DP camp as his followers are out to gain plum political offices and to them, Mudavadi is an outsider. Reports of the Ruto-Mudavadi alliance started emerging after the ANC leader made political moves where he incessantly attacked Raila triggering speculation he was plotting to team up with the deputy president. The reports were given credence after one of Ruto’s vocal supporters, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, stated that most leaders in Western region allied to the DP had no problem accommodating Mudavadi. But the mooted alliance came to the public limelight when Ruto secretly met MPs allied to Mudavadi and Wetang’ula at his Karen residence before he proceeded to State House to attend Madaraka Day celebrations. Ruto’s meeting came four days after Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali had hosted 32 MCAs drawn from four counties in Western Kenya where he told them to be friends with Mudavadi because he was in talks with the DP for a possible pact ahead of the 2022 elections.
The MCAs were drawn from Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia counties. One of the MCAs was quoted saying Washiali told them to remain as Ruto’s foot soldiers and to go out of their way to accommodate Mudavadi. At Karen residence, before Ruto left for State House, he reportedly ordered his Jubilee troops to join the ANC and Ford Kenya leaders for a press conference at Wetang’ula’s home. The MPs who attended the meeting included Wamalwa, Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza) and Catherine Wambiliangah (Bungoma) from Ford Kenya. From ANC there was Tindi Mwale (Butere), Omurunga Makokha (Matungu), Shadrack Aseka (Khwisero) and Beatrice Adagala (Vihiga). The others were Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Malulu Injendi (Malava) and John Waluke (Sirisia) from Jubilee. The talk of the Ruto-Mudavadi alliance was to again feature when the duo hosted at least 25 MPs from Western region who included Ruto’s allies – Barasa, Wanyama, Waluke (Sirisia) and Wambilianga – who had attended the meeting hosted by the DP at his Karen residence.
During the June 12 meeting, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula tore into Uhuru’s government, accusing it of deliberately attempting to marginalize Western Kenya farmers as reflected in the 2020/2021 budget presented by Treasury cabinet secretary Ukur Yatani, which was a pointer they were readying to team up with Ruto. The possibility of the political union was to take shape days later after the announcement of the creation of a technical team to spearhead it. The committee formed had MPs Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale), Alfred Agoi (Sabatia) for ANC, Janet Nangabo (Trans Nzoia) and Washiali for Jubilee and Wamalwa and Wanyonyi from Ford Kenya. Ruto was then said to have embarked on courting Western after realizing the marriage between Rift Valley and Mount Kenya in 2013 that was to propel him to the presidency had collapsed as it was built on quicksand. And though Mudavadi issued a statement after the meeting saying it had nothing to do with politics but about economic empowerment of the region, it was not lost to observers that days earlier he had met Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandogo, a key ally of the deputy president, for talks on 2022 polls.
The ANC leader had then mostly scores of Ruto’s allies sparking speculation that a political deal between the two leaders was in the offing. At the time, there were reports Ruto and Wetang’ula were working together in Bungoma county under a programme called Maendeleo Mashinani Initiative aimed at creating the DP’s grassroots networks in the county. But the programme was put to a halt after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project coordinator was former volleyball star and Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama. Insiders add that the final nail in the Ruto-Mudavadi alliance was last week’s statement by Savula asserting that ANC held a parliamentary group meeting and resolved to fully support Uhuru in and outside parliament. The Lugari MP was quoted saying that ANC had agreed to halt attacks against Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Atwoli and Devolution Cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa, the trio who are marketing the handshake in the populous region.
Atwoli for long was against Ruto, Mudavadi power deal. The only voice dissent was ANC secretary-general Barrack Muluka who stated he was not aware of the meeting. Insiders say the pro-Ruto MPs in Western have now stopped accompanying their ANC counterparts in forays in Western region. Sources say Mudavadi handlers are divided with those in Muluka, Agoi, and Kibisu Kabatesi camp pushing for a power deal with Ruto. However, the emergence of the Atwoli factor and his deep pockets is said to be giving them sleepless nights. Talk is rife within Mudavadi handlers that Oparanya and Wamalwa cannot operate without Atwoli funding. Atwoli happens to be a life member of Kanu and recently Gideon Moi the party leader visited him at his Kajiado residence with a lorry full of goats. Atwoli is said to be pushing former minister Cyrus Jirongo to rejoin Kanu and be the deputy leader. To show all is not well between Ruto and Mudavadi camps, in the past, Washiali and Barasa used to join Mudavadi and Wetang’ula’s teams for rallies in western Kenya, some of which were disrupted by police.
But of late it is no more. During a recent meeting at Hamisi MP Charles Gemose’s home, only those allied to Ruto camp led by former senator Bonny Khalwale were present. According to sources, State House operatives also approached Mudavadi and cautioned him against working with Ruto, telling him that he should chart an independent path that might see the president back him for the top seat in 2022 should the head of state reconsider his backing for Raila. Mudavadi together with Atwoli are all late president Daniel Arap Moi orphans but Mudavadi’s big weakness being that he cannot chart his political future falling prey to political gluttons that mislead him. Uhuru is said to have a soft spot for Mudavadi, and when Atwoli was pushing Mudavadi and Wetang’ula to back BBI, he was fully aware of behind scenes in Uhuru succession game plan. Mudavadi, insiders added, was also finding himself in unfamiliar grounds of seeing his rallies disrupted by the police. In fact, ANC MPs aligned to Mudavadi were also removed from plum parliamentary seats in Uhuru’s purge.
Since making his political debut after his father’s death, Mudavadi has always been on the side of the system and hence he was sailing in unfamiliar grounds by opposing the state. The last time Mudavadi and Wetang’ula made an about-turn was during the second Building Bridges Initiative rally at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega when they made a surprise appearance. The two had earlier been expected to attend a parallel rally in Mumias which was organized by politicians allied to Ruto but attended the Bukhungu one after the president called them. Atwoli camp had successfully mobilized for the Bukhungu rally forcing Mudavadi to eat a humble pie and attend. As they attended the BBI rally, their counterparts in Mumias who had planned to hold a parallel meeting at Nabongo Grounds were only allowed to address a press conference at Harambee Market, about 13 kilometres from the venue of their intended meeting, before they left for their homes after a contingent of police officers arrived ready to disperse them.