The Star (Nairobi)

7 May 2012

Kenya: Mudavadi, Raila War Escalates

THE war of words between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi escalated sharply yesterday. Raila's side called Musalia a spoilt child used to freebies and the DPM's side responded by accusing the PM of acts of terror against his political opponents.

Last Saturday there was an ugly fracas at the burial of Mzee Jason Muhoro, the father of Nairobi mayor George Aladwa, where an ODM supporter grabbed the microphone from MP Bonny Khalwale who was threatening to bring a motion to remove Raila from Parliament.

On Sunday Musalia claimed Raila ferried four buses of youths from Nairobi to Sabatia to show that he had support in the area and disrupt his campaigns. The Prime Minister's spokesman said Raila travelling to the funeral in a five person helicopter and had not brought any goons with him.

"Mr. Mudavadi is the face of everything that could go wrong with the economic, legal and political life of any country. It can only be expected, therefore, that his "campaign agenda" will be to pour insults on the PM. Beyond that he has nothing to offer the Kenyan electorate," Raila's statement signed by his campaign secretariat spokesman Barrack Muluka said yesterday.

Detailing Musalia's political history, Raila accused the DPM of being a freeloader. "As a young man, barely out of adolescence, he was in 1989 plucked from oblivion to inherit the then Vihiga Parliamentary seat from his late father. This was done in a most undemocratic manner,"said Raila. It termed Musalia's 1989 election a "fiction" and proceeded to claim that the Sabatia MP was rigged back to Parliament both in 1992 and 1997.

According to Raila's secretariat, Musalia lost in 2002 when "he faced the true test of democracy" and has since lived in pathological fear of democratic processes.

Through his private secretary Kibisu Kabatesi, Musalia retorted that Raila has been shaken by his exit. "They are using Mudavadi to seek media attention but we are not ready to offer them that solace. Their vulgarity speaks volumes about the "character" of their candidate," Kabatesi said.

He insisted that Raila's team imported goons to Sabatia to disrupt the proceedings. "You can read animism here; serious evil visited onto a very peaceful and religious community. Never has this community ever witnessed such wickedness against their value system of honoring the dead." "Why one should invite gangs of misfits dressed in party colours to a funeral is now beyond speculation," said Kabatesi.

Conversely the Raila secretariat accused Musalia of being an opportunist who wants to cash in on the misfortunes of rival presidential aspirants Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto. They are facing charges of crimes against humanity at the ICC which may prevent them from standing.

"It is not lost upon us that Mr. Mudavadi threw a party for his cronies at his Nairobi residence to celebrate the indictment of Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Ruto. Used, as he is, to easy options, he has been openly talking of himself as "the right option, when Uhuru and Ruto go to the ICC." This is a curious way to advance a political career," Raila's statement claimed.

The Raila secretariat said the claims that the PM organised Saturday's violence in Sabatia were calculated at driving a tribal wedge between Luhyas and Luos. It instead blamed Musalia for the violence instead saying he ordered it by SMS from the nearby Mbale township.

The secretariat put Musalia's team on notice that that it will release a detailed documented account of his past and called him the confluence of Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg scams. Musalia however said he would not be cowed by threats.

"Musalia Mudavadi is not afraid of his past. Every act he has performed is public knowledge and no intimidation about nefarious revelations will cower him. If these threats did not keep him in ODM, they will not stop him winning the elections," Kabatesi said. He said Raila should not be allowed to imprison Kenyans in fear. He said Raila of the past is not the same as today. Musalia's team threatened to retaliate over corruption saying "We have snippets of it in the Maize, Kazi kwa Vijana, NSSF and NHIF scams."

Yesterday, three MPs allied to Raila asked Musalia to explain his role in the Goldenberg and cemetery scams. Ababu Namwamba, Pollyns Ochieng' and John Mbadi said Musalia might not meet the constitutional threshold of chapter six on leadership

Billions of shillings were lost in the Goldenberg scam in the 1990s through the subsidy of non-existent gold exports. Musalia became Finance minister as teh scam was winding down and The Goldenberg inquiry headed by Justice Bosire cleared Mudavadi.

In 2010 Nairobi City Council paid Sh283 million for land worth Sh30 million. The then Nairobi mayor Geoffrey Majiwa was forced to resign. Musalia was the Local Government minister but was not linked to the purchase.

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