Amani Coalition leader Musalia Mudavadi could be headed back to government as the Jubilee Alliance intensifies a campaign to broaden its support base to regions that did not vote for it in the last General Election.
Jubilee leaders are said to have identified Eastern, Coast and Western regions as areas that need particular attention as it consolidates its power.
Mr Mudavadi, a deputy prime minister in the Grand Coalition Government, parted ways with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto after a short-lived power deal ahead of the March 4 election whose failure was attributed to unidentified “dark forces”.
However, Mr Mudavadi led his party to sign a post-election co-operation agreement with the Jubilee government, which saw its members appointed to key parliamentary committees.
One of the United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders, Mumias MP Ben Washiali, is the Majority Deputy Chief Whip.
The UDF leader played host to President Kenyatta during his tour of Mumias last weekend, where Luhya politicians asked the Head of State to share “the cow he had slaughtered with his brother (Musalia).”The former deputy premier also expressed his willingness to work with the Jubilee leadership.
“Politics is over. People must work and develop. We can’t achieve any meaningful development if we cannot unite and work together,” he said.
Mr Washiali yesterday said he was aware of efforts to accommodate Mr Mudavadi in government, adding that his appointment will help appease the Luhya community, which strongly feels that the Jubilee leadership had given it a raw deal in public appointments.
“A Mudavadi appointment will help Uhuru to balance the allocation of seats across the country especially in western, which got only one Cabinet post,” he said.
Though President Kenyatta appointed Bungoma-born Judy Wakhungu as Environment Cabinet Secretary, she is yet to be embraced in the region where she is seen as politically detached.
A political adviser to Mr Mudavadi who requested anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on the matter told the Sunday Nation that they were expecting the announcement “any time”.
Yet another source suggested that some political quarters were uncomfortable with the impending move. Majority Leader Aden Duale said the Jubilee government had launched a programme to unite the country by reaching out to the three regions which voted for Cord in the March polls.
“Mr Mudavadi is a key leader and his appointment will help bring Western Province on board,” he said.Mr Duale indicated that the Jubilee-UDF co-operation had worked well in Parliament and there was a desire to extend it to the Executive.
According to the Majority Leader, Mr Mudavadi’s appointment will inject experience into the Uhuru Cabinet.
“He is a seasoned public servant who has served as vice-president, deputy prime minister and headed the ministries of Local Government and Finance, among others. Whatever ministry he will be given he will perform due to his vast experience,” he said in an interview with the Sunday Nation.
However, he warned that the appointment would come with conditions. The former deputy PM would have to quit politics because the Constitution demands that Cabinet Secretaries should not engage in political activities, including the leadership of parties.
“It will end his political career and have implications on his 2017 presidential ambitions,” said Mr Duale.
Mr Mudavadi is yet to declare his position on the matter and efforts to contact him yesterday did not succeed.Before the March polls, Mr Mudavadi accused Mr Kenyatta of reneging on a deal to support him for the presidency.
Responding to calls by Western leaders for him to share goodies with UDF leaders since it was a partner in the Jubilee government, President Kenyatta said the “cow” belongs to all Kenyans.
“There is something mheshimiwa (Mumias West MP Johnson Naika) said and I want to correct him. He said I have slaughtered a cow and I should ensure I have shared a piece with my brother. I wish to correct him by saying there is no Uhuru’s cow. The cow is for all Kenyans, 40 million of us. There is no cow for an individual.
“We need to ensure that the government provides services to all Kenyans irrespective of race, religion, tribe or gender,” he said.
Former Vice-President Moody Awori and New Ford Kenya leader Eugene Wamalwa attended the church meeting. During the last polls, Mr Mudavadi did not command full support of his western Kenya backyard with a majority of residents voting for Cord leader Raila Odinga.
Moreover, he has struggled to address divisions in his party arising from the forthcoming by-elections in Bungoma and Lamu in which his party is expected to play a significant role.
The Jubilee coalition is rallying forces behind former Cabinet minister Musikari Kombo to grab the Bungoma senate seat from Cord principal Moses Wetang’ula, who has been the Senate Minority Leader.Victory for Mr Kombo would be a major victory for the Jubilee coalition.
Mr Duale hinted that the Mudavadi appointment could help Jubilee in the by-elections, especially in Bungoma.
Mr Mudavadi yesterday spent the day campaigning for Mr Kombo in Bungoma where he reacted angrily to a declaration by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale that the party had reached a deal to back Mr Wetang’ula.
The UDF is also fighting to retain its governor’s seat in Lamu that was lost through an election petition.
Significantly, President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto enjoy a long political relationship with Mr Mudavadi dating to their days in Kanu.It can be remembered that Mr Mudavadi was Uhuru’s running mate in the 2002 elections which saw him lose his Sabatia parliamentary seat. Mr Ruto was their chief campaigner.
Mr Mudavadi and Mr Ruto would later regroup in the Orange Democratic Movement where they were both deputy party leaders before taking different routes for the March election.-nation