Mudavadi is Not the Saint He Pupports to Be
When Musalia Mudavadi began his campaign for internal democracy in Orange Democratic Party (ODM) I knew that something was wrong. I recalled how Mudavadi, together with Wycliffe Oparanya and Yusuf Chanzu joined ODM activists in Emuhaya had campaigned for the current MP Wilbur Ottichillo after Kenneth Marende ascended to the position of Speaker of the National Assembly. So his war of attrition against his own party, reminded me of two historical events. One during Kanu era and the other, during the era of the Mugwumps in American history in 1884.
During the Kanu era, those of us who did not like Kanu, had to fight Kanu within Kanu. Those who left after the advent of multiparty lost their jobs, while those who remained faithful to the party got cushy jobs in public service. The second historical event was the era in American history when Republicans chose to support Groves Cleveland — a Democratic candidate — during the presidential election of 1884. These Democrats switched parties because the Republican candidate, James Blaine, had been tainted by financial corruption of that time, all the while employing that the “sanctimonious or had a holier-than-thou” attitude.
Was it a farce?
It is my contention that after five years in the cold following the 2002 elections, Mudavadi held a grudge against ODM. So he joined ODM in 2007 — not because he loved the party or its ideology — but so as to destroy the party from within. After all, this is a lesson from Raila when he joined Kanu and worked closely with Moi, endorsing Kanu’s theory of ruling Kenya for a hundred years. This then explains Mudavadi’s paradox of freedom and internal democracy. According to Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, those who want to abuse freedom most have used this strategy.
No president has attached his name more completely to promotion of democracy than George W Bush. Yet it was Bush who attacked Iraq and escalated the war on Afghanistan under the pretext of 9/11. This reality has forced many Luhya to question where Mudavadi can be an advocate and guardian of democracy, yet he was the same one who rebuked the Luhya elders (Burundi Nabwera, Ambassador Justus Mudavadi — his uncle and Mr Wangamati) who made efforts to mitigate against the unbroken string of negative war of attrition between the Deputy Prime Minister and Raila Odinga.
Most have also forgotten the deliberate and vindictive attempt by the Deputy Prime Minister to weaken ODM in Emuhaya. For a long time, Members of Parliament from the Itamis or Emuhaya had to get permission from the late Hon Substone Mudavadi — sometimes referred to as the “King of the Mululu” — before seeking any office. And just last month, an ODM branch chief in Emuhaya “was ousted for backing Raila”. If followers of the DPM believe in democracy, why would they kick a person out of office because he expressed a political standpoint that is different?
And now that he has abandoned ODM, Mudavadi is leaving a people who looked up to him for guidance and leadership integrity. It could be that Mudavadi has been called upon by ‘Raila hate groups’ who feel that the status quo will not be maintained if Raila comes to power. These could be the landed aristocracy afraid of historical injustices in the land sector, or the monied aristocracy who fear that Raila will bring out the scandals of the past.
When economists talk about moral hazards, they mean a situation where there is tendency for one to take undue risks because the costs are not borne by the party taking the risk. A person with insurance against his house or business, for example, may be less cautious because the negative consequences of the fire are now the responsibility of the insurance company. Is Mudavadi looking for a safe haven? According to the DPM, it took him five years to realise how poor and limited ODM really is. This is plausible. But it bears remembering that all the major scandals from Ken-Ren, Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing to Grand Regency are in the hands of the ruling class.
Class of allegiance
If ODM takes power, chances are that all the historical injustices about land and scandals are likely to be exposed. It also bears remembering that the Goldenberg scandal took place the DPM was the Minister for Finance. Musalia is a child and heir apparent of status quo. He is a Western Province replica of many such symbols of ethnicity.
Mudavadi has turned out to be a force of divisive politics. No name represents the splendor and catastrophe of political division so completely and conspicuously as that of Mudavadi. He has proved to Kenyans that allegiance to class and status quo must always take precedence over allegiance to nation, as was evidenced in the push to save the Ocampo Four.
The writer is a lecturer of management and economics at USIU.