Kenya: Mukhisa Kituyi Says He Is His Own Man in Quest for Presidency

Presidential hopeful Dr Mukhisa Kituyi has dismissed claims that he is crafting an alliance with ODM leader Raila Odinga that will culminate in his support for him, even as he ruled out a possible working relationship with Deputy President William Ruto.

Dr Kituyi said that although he has been meeting with the ODM leader, their talks revolved around how to make Kenya better and transition from ethnic-centred to issue-based politics.

He said he and Mr Odinga have not discussed supporting each other as the country heads to the 2022 General Election, adding that he is focussed on his own presidential quest.

"I have not come to any moment that I consider that I want to support Raila. I'm building a momentum for the Kituyi candidature," he said during an interview on KTN News on Wednesday.

"I have not, at any of the meetings I have had with him (Raila), promised that I'm going to support him for President. I am running for President and looking for persons of shared direction to see how to unlock our steps."

In February and again in May this year, Dr Kituyi met with the former premier amid speculations of a possible alliance, something that he has now dismissed.

Second Liberation

The two played a role in the so-called Second Liberation, fighting President Daniel arap Moi's one-party state, and in the reinvention of opposition politics in the 1990s.

The ODM boss recently skipped the National Prayer Breakfast at Parliament to meet with Dr Kituyi, a move that set tongues wagging.

"I have to enter conversation with as many people as possible who have a potential to look at how can we contribute to mainstreaming policy as the main driver of Kenyan politics. Raila in the past was an important player in that line. I have asked him his views about this. Secondly, Raila and I have been friends for many years, more than 30 years of it," he explained.

Dr Kituyi was a Trade and Industry minister in the Mwai Kibaki government between 2002 and 2007, when the country recorded impressive growth. He is also a former United Nations Conference on Trade and Development secretary-general.

He said he had done exceptional work in various positions he had held and will bring that experience to revive the economy, which has been hard hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The three-term former MP, who served between 1992 and 2007, when he lost his seat to Dr Eseli Simiyu, said he is banking on his wide international experience to improve Kenya's economy.

He said he had the best policies on economic recovery, and challenged his competitors to counter his proposals.

Besides his international experience and his achievements in Mr Kibaki's first term, he is positioning himself as the face of civilised politics, saying that he does not need an endorsement from anyone.

"I want to be president for what I stand for and not someone urging me... . The President of Kenya is not urging me to vie come 2022," he said, rubbishing claims that he is someone else's project in the 2022 State House race.

On whether he is looking forward to working with Dr Ruto, Dr Kituyi said the two stand for totally different political ideologies and hence a political relationship between them is not possible.

"I have listened to what Ruto stands for, he is a strong campaigner, he is a very, very political animal, but there are some things questionable about the level of wealth he has put together," he explained.

"There are a number of things which differentiate my political ideas, the way Kenya should go from where he thinks Kenya should go."

With western Kenya leaders Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress and his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang'ula working hard to ensure that the unity of the region does not disintegrated, Dr Kituyi said that such formations do not make one a presidential candidate.

Frustrated with always playing second fiddle, leaders from western Kenya have been mulling ways of securing a seat at the high table ahead of the 2022 polls.

Already, the Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang'ula have hit the ground with the sole message centered on the elusive Luhya unity.

Dr Kituyi fired a warning shot at the duo for considering his presidential quest inconsequential, arguing that they will be in for a rude shock as the August 2022 polls draw closer.

"There is no ethnic entitlement to power... . Any person who is not a champion of ethnic promises but has structural ties with the rest of the country, (should) be given a chance. After a while it becomes imminently clear who is gaining gravity in a region," he said.

He added: "I have never seen anything called Kikuyu unity, there are around three persons from Umkambani who have/may declare interest in presidency. I have not heard of Kamba unity, (and) therefore, a few leaders from a region coming together does not make one a presidential candidate."

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