Eric Wainaina and Anthony Mwangi
Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi has cautioned political opponents against writing him off in the 2022 presidential contest simply because he is not as noisy and flamboyant as his competitors.
The former Deputy Prime Minister, who has fashioned himself as the Opposition leader after ODM party leader Raila Odinga “joined” government following the Handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta in March last year, cautioned the electorate that flamboyant politicians “were the worst leaders”.
Mudavadi, who has over the years been trying to fight off the tag of a boring and colourless politician, warned his critics — especially backers of Raila and Deputy President William Ruto — against dismissing ing his candidature at their own peril.
In justifying his label as “the gentleman of Kenyan politics,” Mudavadi said even retired presidents Daniel arap Moi and his successor Mwai Kibaki rose to become the country’s chief executive officers despite their dull and colourless mien.
“Moi was not flashy (and) people used to refer to him as a passing cloud but he was there (in power) for 24 years. We know they (the people) called him (Kibaki) ‘General Kiguoya’ (coward) but he stretched on for long to leave a very excellent legacy,” said Mudavadi on Sunday on K24’s PunchLine show.
The 2013 presidential candidate and founder of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) claimed that most flashy politicians turned out to be incompetent: “Do you want (to vote in) someone who is seen to excite? Look at some decisions that have been made in the constituencies and even in the counties where people rushed to vote in leaders based on their excitement and are right now regretting.”
All that glitters not gold
His critics, said Mudavadi, can call him whatever they like but “I will never run or shy away from telling the ordinary voter that all that glitters is not gold”.
Although he now considers himself “the official Opposition leader”, there has been little political activity and public protests targeted at the Jubilee administration over alleged misrule, high taxation rates and corruption among other ills.
In fact, since Raila opted to work with the President, the embers in the Opposition died down and there has been no single or major political rally spearheaded by the former Vice President in Nairobi.
However, an adamant Mudavadi maintains this is his style of doing things.
“Let the electorate move away from the belief that Opposition must always be violent. Some actions are dangerous and can scare away investors just like corruption,” he said, adding that he was unhappy by the way fellow Nasa leaders expressed their grievances over the elections, leading to loss of lives and destruction of property in major cities.
Mudavadi, a land economist, has been criticising the Jubilee administration on issues relating to the management of the economy, in particular, the increased borrowing, warning that high public debt leads to higher taxation.
On the current purge on investors evading paying tax, he said there is substantive political goodwill but warned the institutions against unprofessional handling of tax matters to avoid crippling institutions and scaring away investors.