BY: RASHID WANJALA
There is nothing as bad in politics as having your life dependent on spoon feeding by others. African gender etiquette dictates that real men ought to be self sufficient and reliant without being baby sat by anyone. That a real man will fight his own battles, rather than be a hand-held device.
One politician in Kenya has dedicated his political life to being baby fed. His name is Musalia Mudavadi (henceforth MM). Despite having a political resume that spans more than 2 decades in Kenyaâ€™s politics, he has never developed the confidence to be a man on his own.
Itâ€™s never about what or who MM will become, but whose MM he will become. His first Godfather when he joined politics in 1989 was H.E. D.T. Arap Moi, who literally plucked him out of salaried job, then rammed him down the throats of Sabatians, and subsequently made him Minister for Supplies and Marketing in the reshuffle that ensued following his election.
We all know what befell him (losing his entire political empire including his Sabatia seat) when he failed to read the ground mood correctly, he blindly ignored the popular Raila led rebellion featuring big political names then like Kalonzo Musyoka, George Saitoti, Moody Awori and the entire defunct NDP leadership who stormed out of the Kanu behemoth in protest over the then President D.T. Arap Moiâ€™s choice of UK as his preferred successor. KANU was left a shell as months before the Raila rebellion other prominent KANU like Simon Nyachae and Kipkalia Kones had joined opposition ranks.
MM already had started being ambivalent, blowing hot and cold, prompting the indefatigable Fred Gumo to make the â€œkaa ngumu callâ€.
MM, being a spoilt Kanu stalwart used to receiving positions on a silver platter, could not envisage a life away from his â€œpolitical King makerâ€, and would soon fall for the bait of a VP and eventually settle for the running mate slot which was dangled to him by the then KANU operatives then.
Reliable sources revealed later that the plan then was to have him be a running mate to deliver the Luhya vote, a swing vote at the time. After the elections, the sources reveal, he was to be shoved aside, and in his place Gideon Moi or William Samoe Ruto (henceforth WSR) was to be named Vice President. That was the card hidden underneath the table.
Actually, the sources revealed that Moses Akarangaâ€™s candidature was heavily financed by the Kanu wheeler dealers, to undermine MMâ€™s chances of setting foot in the 2003 parliament that could have made it easy to have the younger Moi (Gideon) as VP without causing big fuss.
Kibaki, then the Narc candidate had the eloquent Michael Wamalwa Kijana (May his soul rest eternal peace) as his running mate. With the Enigmatic RAO, then Professional Assistant minister Moody Awori, and Fred Gumo aggressively campaigning for Narc in Western Province, NARC easily swept the Western vote clean, with MM being taught a lesson that seemingly he never learnt!
The ground shifted to a different direction and MM lacking foresight, was blinded by the trappings of power brought forth by the VP bait that had been dangled unto him by then Kenyaâ€™s most celebrated professor of politics. Thatâ€™s how he set a record as the shortest serving VP in History of our republic.
Even my grandmother told me there was no way Uhuru Kenyatta could beat the NARC wave. Children in lower primary school thought the same, opinion polls vindicated that but the strange or unusual thing is that MM despite his college education and a decade in politics- for poor judgment and lack of foresight- didnâ€™t see that. Or so he had been wired to believe that Moi could still pull a surprise at the last minute.
In 2003, MM, then a dejected and defeated Moi orphan, was nominated by Kanu to parliament, an offer that he rejected. Reality was now dawning on him that maize had been sprinkled on the ground to trick him towards the slaughter man in a hut.
Coming back to parliament a nominated man, the game plan devised against him had played out according to the script.
MM- in the cold and with all the trappings of power gone- requested through emissaries to join the Raila led LDP, and Raila being a forgiving man, offered to rehabilitate him.
Raila, and his LDP team explained to the Western voters that even though he had tripped, the son of Mudamba deserved a second chance from the children of Mulembe.
That young people make mistakes. And poor judgments are a part of the learning experience. A credible, trustworthy man was pleading his case and the jury of Luhyia professionals and villagers believed Raila.
Fast forward to 2005, and MM had now morphed into a reliable Raila pointman towards the delivery of the NO vote in Western Province was a vote of confidence in his new found political ground.
Raila had explained, and the people had overwhelmingly listened. Mudavadi â€˜s credibility had been restored, having joined the peopleâ€™s cause!
Orange represented- and it still does- the aspirations of Kenyans, a rejection of dictatorship, a vindication of freedom, liberty, and a pursuit of development for all Kenyans.
Riding on the Orange wave driven by Railaâ€™s charismatic and colorful leadership not to mention his unmatched international fundraising networks, MM was back into the political limelight. He had been rehabilitated into the mainstream of Kenyaâ€™s political high-table.
By 2007, Raila had built MM to a point where he could now vie for presidency. MM could seek the ODM presidential nomination but got defeated at the nomination stage, he ended up as a distant second. Raila, in a show of renewed faith in MM nominated him as the ODM running mate.
After the bungled election, Ruto who delivered more votes for ODM than any other Pentagon member was bypassed and MM- out of moral considerations to be explained herein under- on a silver platter was given the DPM position, undeservedly.
Raila in my opinion felt that MM, as the one he had picked as running mate, he would have sent the wrong message- that he can appoint him running mate then dump him after getting his objectives met.
Raila, by sticking with MM as DPM, demonstrated that he is a man whose word you can count on. That once he makes a promise, he keeps it. He would never betray you or go back on commitments that he makes to a comrade.
However, it could also be that Raila has the ability to read body language and psycho- analyze people. He could tell that MM, if denied positions of power, could have been baited by the wielders of power.
MM didnâ€™t believe in the Orange cause, Raila could probably tell, but MM viewed a dalliance with ODM as a means to an end- as keys that could open the doors into the corridors of power- because he knows in his heart of hearts- that the majorities are with the orange cause.
And so like a materialistic lover, only interested in the money of whoever is dating, MM had to be showered with positions in order to stay. Thatâ€™s probably one of the reasons MM was appointed, bypassing a more deserving WSR.
Raila could have done without MM, he needed WSR more, but MM being a thankless man still had the audacity to ditch a comrade who had his back, and had without conditions, embraced him when he looked politically irredeemable.
Truth be told, the only reason it was hard to accommodate WSR in ODM is that MM blackmailed and even played fears of the ambitious WSR on Raila, at every turn- that Â he could lay conditions â€œif you give WSR this I will leave youâ€. Even after being made DPM he still wanted more. He could force his way into being made a joint Deputy Party Leader.
Common sense demanded that if MM was Deputy PM, he should have ceded ground for WSR to become Deputy Party Leader. That was his call not Railaâ€™s call. Thatâ€™s what power-sharing is all about. You cede ground in the best interest of the party, caring that we all â€“the party members, stand to lose if a key ally leaves the party.
You help the party by realizing that Annan gave us this half loaf to share equitably rather than fight over.
It is apparent that WSR did not want to leave ODM; MM like a selfish sibling frustrated him into ditching the party, by constantly nagging and blackmailing Raila to give him even what belonged to WSR.
MM was not the type to give up selfish interest for the sake of the party. Anytime WSR forwarded names for appointment to Raila, MM nagged Raila with Luyha names for the same positions.
As a leader caught in the middle and one who is not a tribalist- and I can feel his dilemma, Raila ended up forwarding names of neutral persons, given by neither MM nor WSR.
MM wanted the whole ODM loaf for himself. He didnâ€™t want to share. As a man who loathes competition, reliable sources reveal that MM really celebrated when WSR name featured in the Ocampo Six and subsequent decamping to UDM- he threw bashes.
To MM, what mattered was not whether ODM stayed a united political party, but like a jealous sibling, how much he would deny Ruto from getting.
In 2012, vintage MM is once again sticking his head out. By quitting on the same party that risked losing a considerable constituency like Rift Valley to assuage his insatiable and materialistic desires of access to the corridors of power, MM has once again showed that he is a spoilt child who never learns.
These are interesting times to be Kenyan as Whitney Houston and Deborah Coxâ€™s duet of â€œsame script different castâ€ is being played out right before our very own eyes.
Folks, Kernels of corn have been laid out in a wavy line that leads up into a hut, not a state House. I see a hut, with a ruthless man standing with a sharp knife, and on his left side is hot water boiling in a sufuriaâ€“ guys am salivating, Ingokho is being served for dinner- am telling you.
Unsuspecting, the hen is pecking on the kernels, and itâ€™s obvious, that itâ€™s now so close to the hut. The chicken slaughter man canâ€™t go wrong on this one. Itâ€™s as good as cooked! The bird will go into the hut, the door will be shut behind it, and it will be caught and slaughtered- then- what is it they do next-feathered, cut into pieces, then fried, and feasted on.
It almost happened in 2002, but this time itâ€™s an affait accompli. The recent Bukura ward is a testament to the fact that MMâ€™s fortunes are headed South, at a time when ODMâ€™s are meteorically rising.
Psychologists when psychoanalyzing always ask about coping mechanism. For example, MM would be asked how he coped with fear of losing trappings of power in 2002. Then he would say- I swallowed Moiâ€™s bait.
Any well trained psychologist would predict that given a similar circumstance- fear of losing trappings of power- MM would react in an exact manner- betray his convictions (if he has any) for the sake of short lived access to the corridors of power. Â Like in 2002, he is now swallowing another octogenarianâ€™s bait.
Like in 2002 and 2007, this man has been recruited into a project- he has a history of losing direction anytime thereâ€™s transition from one administration to the next. His main scheme now is to ensure that he is on the side that has the greatest chances of seizing or maintaining power.
Unfortunately, he does that subjectively, like a hyena blinded by greed from the trappings of power. He takes his decisions based on here and now (no foresight at all). Like in 2002, and now in 2012, he will be confused again in 2017 or 2022- I can predict with accuracy.
But as he wanders in this miasma of confusion other Luhya leaders like Paul Otuoma, Ababu Namwamba, Alfred Khangati , Rashid Mohamed are emerging. And Kenya will move forward- MMâ€™s confusion notwithstanding. By the time he regains traction, the little Kingdom that Nabongo Mumiaâ€™s kinsman (Raila) helped him regain would all be gone, because going by the Bukura ward by-election results, ODM has taken back its Kingdom.
The second part of this article continues next weekend.Â It will focus on why State House power brokers are rooting for MM and why he fits into their scheme for perpetuating their hold onto power >> The mis-learning of Musalia Mudavadi, Part II
RASHID WANJALA is a Kenyan -Canadian studying to be a Barrister in Canada.