By Jerry Okungu
April 24, 2012
You cannot lose an election as a Vice President of the Republic of Kenya, lose your constituency seat in the process, five years later jump on some political party bandwagon, get a direct nomination five years later and expect to become the president of the republic five years down the line. It just doesn’t make sense.
Let me state very clearly that I have nothing personal against Musalia Mudavadi. In fact I like him very much as a person and at times I have imagined that we are very good friends. What I’m going to say in this column this week is some kind of truth that the Musalia needs to know. And it can only come from someone like me because I’m his friend.
I watched Musalia Mudavadi’s speech when he addressed Luhya elders and professionals last weekend. I thought he was brilliant. For the first time, the DPM spoke from his heart. Observers could see that here was a wounded warrior pouring his heart out. The speech was very presidential I must admit.
As Musalia spoke; he indeed carried the crowd with him. I could see faces of some of his ardent supporters holding their breath that at last their man had what it takes to be president. After narrating his ordeals at the ODM Orange House, one expected to hear him end his speech with following words: “for these reasons, I, Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi, do announce my resignation from ODM. Consequently, I hereby tender my resignation as the Deputy Leader of ODM party, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Local Government and Member of Parliament. I will seek reelection to Parliament under a party of my choice and contest the presidential race under that party”.
These are the brave decisions Jaramogi took in 1966, Joseph Murumbi took in 1966, Achieng’ Oneko took in 1966, Kenneth Matiba took in 1988, Mwai Kibaki took in 1991, Raila Odinga took in 1995 and Martha Karua took in 2009.
However, for Musalia, he chose to go on consulting widely! That is not how politicians break away from their parties. When you rebel, you pick your belongings and storm out with a bang! It has to be impactful and devastating.
We have had precedents that were neat and respectable.
Soon after the Limuru Conference of 1966, Jaramogi resigned from KANU and formed KPU. He did not consult widely and loudly through the press. He never gave his enemies in KANU time to regroup.
In 1988, Kenneth Matiba stormed out of KANU after the mlolongo fiasco. He never consulted anybody. He only consulted his conscience. Three years later, Mwai Kibaki resigned from KANU to form DP. Consultations were confined to his most trusted friends who never let his intentions known. He did it dramatically on the New Year eve of 1991. Moi was as shocked as everybody else.
Another dramatic party resignation was in December 1995 following the fallout in Ford- Kenya after Jaramogi died. Attempts to reconcile warring parties at Thika in late 1995 ended in disarray. As a consequence, Raila Odinga consulted his conscience and resigned from Ford Kenya and Parliamentary seat to seek reelection under NDP. He never consulted widely.
When in late 2002 the NDP-KANU merger was falling apart, there was only one major consultation at Norfolk Hotel involving JJ Kamotho, George Saitoti, Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, William Ole Ntimama, Moody Awori and Fred Gumo. Soon after, there was no need to consult widely. Siasa ya KANU had gone wrong. The professor of politics had differed with his lifetime supporters. They walked out for better or worse.
As late as 2009, Martha Karua had seen comrades she had defended with her own blood drifting away and undermining her. She no longer shared the same values with them in the cabinet and in PNU. She walked away from both.
The examples I have cited show clearly that if a politician is guided by conscience, integrity and principles that he can go to great lengths to sacrifice everything and take some of the greatest risks the faint hearted would dare not.
Like I have said before, I have always had great respect for Musalia Mudavadi. It is the reason when he started campaigning for the ODM ticket; I was one of the first few to urge him to exercise his democratic right to contest. I even advised Raila on these pages that the ODM primaries must be free and fair and that if he intends to fight it out with KKK, G7, G47 and all the other Gs under the sun, he must go all out to win a decisive victory against Musalia.
At that time we believed Musalia and Raila when they promised that they would remain in ODM and that whoever lost in a fair and free contest would support the winner. We did not expect the protagonists to begin campaigning to change rules; the rules they in 2008 during the last NDC gathering.
Having regarded Musalia as a man of integrity, why suddenly do we have a Mudavadi who wants to behave like other ODM renegades who have lost self-respect and integrity? Why copy those who are so scared of abandoning the ODM even as they have formed their own parties? Isn’t it strange that over the weekend, William Ruto was happy to announce that he was still in ODM just like Gumo simply because for a change, Gumo supported Wamalwa’s presidency?
Like Ruto and company, what Musalia dreads most is the fear of losing all the positions he enjoys in ODM together with his parliamentary seat. He cannot fathom going for the presidency a naked emperor. It is the reason he must continue consulting widely even as time is running out.