AMANI National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi has strongly argued his case for the NASA presidential ticket.
Mudavadi faces a tough battle in the NASA presidential race against ODM’s Raila Odinga, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula.
In an exclusive interview with the Star yesterday, Mudavadi said, “The point is being missed: The issue is not who is best or most popular to be the flagbearer of the National Super Alliance, but who is better placed to lead the team to defeat Jubilee. I’m the best to lead that team,”
NASA Founder Mudavadi, whose classic mild-mannered response suggests a deeply reflective strategic mind.
Mudavadi spoke a day after the release of the Infotrak survey indicating that ODM leader Raila Odinga was the best bet to defeat President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The polls showed that Raila enjoyed a 68.3 per cent rating to emerge as the most preferred NASA flagbearer for the August 8 polls.
Musyoka came second at 13.1 per cent while Mudavadi got a 12.3 per cent rating.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula garnered 2.2 per cent support in the survey released on Saturday.
According to the poll, 27.3 per cent of Jubilee supporters said Mudavadi stood the best chance of defeating President Kenyatta, while 26.5 per cent said Raila would clinch victory if he ran for President.
Kalonzo had a 24.6 per cent rating against President Kenyatta while Wetang’ula got 3.9 per cent.
“See, an opinion poll is just that – an opinion. Depends on who paid and the purpose. This one is intended to create suspicions and splits in NASA,” Mudavadi comments calmly on the Infotrak poll, adding, “I am the real deal for thrashing Jubilee. Despite its obvious nuisance value, Infotrak accidentally reports even Jubilee supporters will vote for me as a NASA candidate. That means I will fill the NASA basket with extra votes outside our current support bases”.
The poll has also been rejected by Kalonzo and Wetang’ula.
Yesterday, Mudavadi, the soft-spoken former rugby player, said he was in the running for President because be believed he could restore trust among Kenyans.
“Jubilee has perpetuated mistrust. I offer trust and inclusivity in a Kenya where every Kenyan feels they matter. Kenyans must begin trusting their government and each other again.
“I aspire to make politics decent. We must erase the creeping belief that you must lie to get anything and that politics is about lying and stealing.
“Decent politics means the integrity of leaders. Mine is a covenant with Kenyans to defeat corruption.”
Mudavadi then spoke passionately about the difference between populism and leadership, the economy and unemployment.
He said what needs to be done after many years managing some of the toughest assignments as a Cabinet minister, especially when he was the Finance minister in the 1990s, was very clear.
His tenure at the Finance ministry was tainted by the Goldenberg scandal, which had begun during the time of his predecessor George Saitoti, now deceased.
However, Mudavadi was condemned for approving further payments to the architect of the multibi-billion-shilling scam, which remains the largest economic fraud in Kenya’s history.
Millions of dollars were pilfered from the Treasury to offer compensation to a scheme where individuals were paid for exporting gold, even though Kenya has no commercial gold deposits.
“What people don’t read in my CV is what I managed to achieve. Cowards don’t make the hard decisions I had to in the Finance docket surrounded as I was by a very hostile political party elite steeped in corruption,” he said, referring to when he was made Finance minister, only months after Goldenberg had been executed
“Imagine closing a bank of a high ranking party official! But I was able to get Kenya out of the international pariah status in the early 1990s, helped the country out of the Golderberg trauma, cleaned the money markets, and stabilised the shilling and restored fiscal responsibility. The Kenya Revenue Authority is my innovation that stopped cartels from bleeding the public coffers,” said Mudavadi, speaking at his Riverside home.
Mudavadi is the ultimate insider, and has a Kenyan political pedigree.
He is the son of a once-powerful politician, the late Moses Budamba Mudavadi, who served as a minister under President Daniel arap Moi.
Mudavadi Senior worked his way up through the ranks of the civil service during the colonial era, starting his career as a teacher and ending up in charge of Education in Western Kenya.
He was largely seen as responsible for delivering his Luhya community’s support to the Moi regime and he married one of the President’s relatives; hence the close ties between the Moi and Mudavadi families.
Mudavadi entered politics in 1989, aged 29.
“At 56 this September, I can revive this economy, create employment for the thousands of the jobless youths, reduce the tax burden and make the cost of living affordable. I know what to do at the top. I’m a doer, not a talker,” he stated.
He said NASA, which he founded, was a product of wide consultations and hard work and it was important that the Alliance gets a chance to implement its plan by winning the election.
“NASA didn’t happen as an accidental whim. I took time to think it through. The marketing bit was a lot of teamwork. Down-up was the strategy. By the time I asked for NASA’s Kiswahili equivalent in a remote village of Kilifi county, ‘Muungano Maalum’ was a fait accompli among ordinary Kenyans”, he said offering his hand for a bye-bye greeting to this writer.