For the past one month, I have tried to figure out what the noise in the ODM has been about. I have listened to Raila Odinga on the issue, compared it with what Mudavadi has all along been saying and came to the conclusion that the problem is not with the two men.
The confusion has been intentionally engineered by cheer leaders in the ODM fraternity and made worse by non ODM members in Western Province who would like to treat Mudavadi as a bull fighter to be pushed into the arena.
Raila Odinga has repeatedly stated that there is no rift between him and Mudavadi, that theirs is a healthy competition between two members of the same family. Mudavadi in a TV interview reiterated that he is in the ODM to stay whether he wins or loses. Why do we want to think for him, imagine for him and decide for him his future in politics and in ODM for that matter?
Many have been quick to brand Mudavadi a stooge and a conduit of the G7. This line of thinking is very common in any election season in Kenya. We always brand our competitors enemies from within working for other forces outside our political orbit. When Mudavadi joined Raila Odinga in 2004 long before ODM was still a movement, that choice was personal. He could have either remained in KANU or joined Ford Kenya which was the preferred party in Western Province.
When the ODM was formed in 2007, he chose to remain with Raila Odinga even as Uhuru Kenyatta decamped to President Kibaki's camp and Kalonzo Musyoka ran way with the ODM-K. He never followed Uhuru Kenyatta or Kalonzo Musyoka even though they had for decades been buddies in KANU under Daniel arap Moi.
Like William Ruto, Joe Nyagah, Henry Kosgey, Sally Kosgey and Dalmas Otieno, these were the former KANU stalwarts that made the deliberate choice to remain in ODM. Nobody forced them to be there.
The presidential ambitions of Mudavadi and Ruto are not new. They both vied for the ODM nomination alongside Joe Nyagah, Najib Balala and Raila Odinga in 2007. The ODM constitution stipulated that the National Delegates Conference would finally pick the ODM torch bearer after months of grueling campaigns by each candidate all over the country. Back then, there was no talk of spoiling for which candidate or which candidate was being sponsored by outside forces.
When the D- Day came at Kasarani Complex, Raila Odinga topped the list, followed by Mudavadi, Ruto in third position and Joe Nyagah coming fourth with Najib Balala coming last even though a few hours earlier, he had bowed out of the race in favour of Raila Odinga.
The voting results at Kasarani were very telling. Raila Odinga took the majority of the votes in all the eight provinces. Musalia Mudavadi defeated William Ruto in Rift Valley while the rest of the candidates never won a single province despite the fact that Balala came from Coast and Joe Nyagah from Eastern Province.
It is Mudavadi's constitutional right to vigorously campaign for the ODM nomination. It is up to Raila to up his game and repeat his 2007 performance. Let ODM show Kenya and the world that it is truly the most democratic party and the party to beat. It cannot afford to behave like PNU, PNU Alliance, G7, KANU or Wiper that are bent on consensus to get their flag bearer. The new constitution compels us to break away from the mediocre politics of the KANU era and allow democracy to flourish. We cannot do this by causing fear and despondency within our ethnic communities on a mere party nomination.
If Raila cannot beat Mudavadi at the county level or at the National Delegates conference then surely he is not fit to run for president and beat his grouping of opponents. Remember it is the fear of Raila's political clout that is grouping together the PNU Alliance, G7 or whatever other name you may want to call them.
The fact remains that on their own, Ruto, Uhuru, Kalonzo and Eugene Wamalwa with his New Ford Kenya, cannot be a fair contestant against Raila . It is the reason they must come together to see if they beat.
Therefore if the G7 can play the ethnic card and polarize the Luos against the Luhyas and other communities, all the better for them. If Mudavadi dumps ODM today in favour of the PNU Alliance, there will be celebrations all over the place and that is why the spin doctors are doing everything they can to plant the seed of doubt and distrust in Musalia's head.
Those desperately begging Musalia to be his own man and face Raila should realise that he has been his own man since 2002 when he broke ranks with KANU rebels and remained in KANU as Uhuru's running mate. He has been his own man since 2007 when he challenged Raila Odinga for nomination alongside other ODM presidential hopefuls. Musalia may be many things to many people but he is certainly nobody's prize bull fighter. He knows how to pick his opponents and fights them his way.