A fierce battle is brewing in the Kenya Kwanza coalition over the running mate position, with supporters of Deputy President William Ruto and Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi clashing.
Speaking at a rally on Saturday, March 12, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala argued that Mudavadi, a former Vice President, should be appointed because he is the most qualified member of the coalition.
This comes amid reports that leaders from the Mt Kenya region are putting pressure on UDA leadership to give the seat to one of their own, specifically Mathira Member of Parliament Rigathi Gachagua.
“This time, we are demanding that this be a coalition of parties, not a coalition of regions.” People can’t agree that because they’re from the mountain, they should be vice president instead of us.
This time around, we are giving a demand that this is a coalition of parties, this is not a coalition of regions. People cannot agree that since they come from the mountain, they should be deputy president and not us.
“As a party, we believe that if the UDA wins the presidency, the ANC should take over as DP,” said the Kakamega Senator.
To break the deadlock, Malala proposed that the two candidates, Mudavadi and Gachagua, face a panel and be interviewed to determine the best candidate.
“Revival of the economy is on our agenda.” We have seen that Ruto has had an interview at Kenya Kwanza.
“We want Musalia Mudavadi to be interviewed when they choose the DP of Kenya Kwanza.” Rigathi Gachagua should also be interviewed before deciding who is suitable,” Malala added.
In an interview with Nation, Gachagua, however, does not appear to have made up his mind about the running mate position, which remains a source of contention in the Ruto-led alliance.
The outspoken lawmaker and career civil servant explained that he is not actively pursuing the position, but he would not mind filling it if there was a high demand from the public.
“You can’t stop people from wishing you the best. That is perfectly natural, and I have no objections. People can pray for me and send their best wishes. If I get it, that’s great. If not, that’s fine as well.
“I have no fixed opinion except that we must form the next government, and I must be a part of it in whatever capacity,” he stated.
Gachagua went on to say that the coalition was more concerned with developing a viable economic plan than with securing political seats.
“However, I have no reservations about any particular position.” We are not looking for a job. We first want an economic plan to get our people out of the economic mess that the government has created in Mt Kenya, despite the fact that we are in government,” he added.
Gachagua previously implied that UDA had already decided on Mt Kenya as the running mate and that Mudavadi and his team should disregard it. As the clock approaches August 9, Ruto must strike a delicate balance between forming a formidable force and avoiding potential fallout.