Mudavadi: I am ready to team up with Raila Odinga for 2017 race

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Raila-MudavadiKAKAMEGA: United Democratic Forum (UDF) leader Musalia Mudavadi has given the strongest hint of teaming up with former ally-turned political foe, Raila Odinga, ahead of the 2017 General Election.

 

Speaking during the burial of Raila’s eldest son, Fidel, Mudavadi explained that he had worked “very closely” with Raila before and that nothing could stop them from teaming up again.

 

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And in an interview with The Standard on Sunday, Mudavadi said the only issue at hand was whether there was a reasonable proposal of partnership that could be discussed openly and honestly.

 

“It must also be based on the principles of fairness and democracy that can create lasting partnerships. What I cannot go for is alliances of deception.”

 

Mudavadi served as Deputy Prime Minister in the Tenth Parliament as well as Raila’s deputy leader of the Orange Democratic Movement .

 

ODM MPs have welcomed Mudavadi’s gesture. Suba MP John Mbadi, who is also the ODM chairman, lauded the remarks as timely and welcome.

 

“I appreciate Mudavadi’s comments and we take it positively. He understands the party ideals and principles and he has his own unique way of working with our party boss Raila Odinga,’’ he said.

 

He appealed to UDF MPs in Parliament to start working with CORD MPs when they resume sessions next month. Funyula MP Paul Otuoma echoed Mbadi’s comments.

 

“It is something we have been silently contemplating as a party. We welcome him back,” he said. Otuoma urged other leaders who ditched ODM to “return home” to counter Jubilee plans to rule up to 2033.

Mudavadi has been under pressure from a section of leaders to severe links with the Jubilee coalition.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula, for instance, wants him to withdraw from his party’s post-election pact with Jubilee since he was never consulted when the decision to merge TNA and URP parties to form the Jubilee Alliance Party was arrived at

“We ask Mudavadi to come back home and seek guidance from the people since Jubilee has closed the door on him,” said Savula.

 

BALLOT BOX

 

However, Mudavadi said his name will be on the ballot box in 2017. He garnered slightly over 500,000 votes in the last General Election, finishing third behind Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila.

But Mudavadi said those urging him to go back to ODM miss the point. “They fail to acknowledge that I lead UDF party and Amani Coalition. In any case, the internal conditions that made me leave have not changed. If anything, they have gotten worse.”

 

Mudavadi explained that his party had never been an affiliate of Jubilee. “We participate in parliamentary affairs under Jubilee Coalition. That does not make UDF legally a member of the Jubilee Coalition or an affiliate party. We don’t share in the money from the political parties’ fund that goes to TNA or URP. Unlike in CORD, we have not been offered any share of that money. We therefore remain independent to pursue our politics on our own.” He said.

However, he said that dissolution of Jubilee Coalition will affect parties in post-election agreements.

 

“Should Jubilee Coalition continue to legally exist, the agreements remain valid. But should the Coalition dissolve the agreements automatically and by default die, that is the legal reality. One expects by the time of legal dissolution, discussions will have been held to address the agreements,” he said.

 

UDF Secretary General and former Shinyalu legislator Justus Kizito said plans to rebrand the party were in top gear. “Our focus is to build a strong Amani National Congress (ANC) Movement that will be a force to reckon with in 2017,” claimed Kizito. Mudavadi, said the idea of re-branding Amani Coalition is popular with the party ranks. “ Amani is the voice of the willing and a counter-force to politics of ethnic division and exclusion,’’ he said.

 

Political analyst Martin Oloo said Mudavadi’s critics should not to write him off politically just yet. “His was a first stab at the presidency as compared to most of his competitors including Raila Odinga who has been trying to capture the top seat three times.”

 

He said Mudavadi’s hand in Jubilee has been seen in the appointment of high commissioners among other officers in government, including the elevation of UDF’s Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali as the Deputy Chief Whip in the National Assembly.

 

Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe said the party must be restructured before are reaching out to other coalitions.”Leadership cannot come from a single block, we must put our house in order then reach out to other parties that have our interests at heart,” he added.

-The Standard

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