By Francis Ngige and James Munyeki
Even as uncertainty grows over Uhuru Kenyatta’s chances of securing the presidency should there be a run-off in the General Election, Musalia Mudavadi has cast himself as the best option for Central Kenya.
At the start of his whirlwind three-day tour of the region on Thursday, the Sabatia MP reminded the people of central Kenya that Uhuru was former President Moi’s choice to take over State House.
The development came after it emerged that Uhuru, whom opinion polls have consistently painted as the strongest challenger to Prime Minister Raila Odinga, is unlikely to be available for the possible run-off vote against his bitter rival and Langata MP.
The Standard reported on Thursday that Uhuru is likely to be in The Hague to attend his trial for crimes against humanity on the day a possible second round of voting in the presidential election takes place in April.
This puts pressure on Uhuru to win the State House race in the first round; something most analysts have said is mathematically impossible.
Mudavadi has been asking Kenyans during his whistle-stop campaigns around the country to make their votes count in the first round, and avoid a presidential run-off, and he repeated the same on Thursday.
Mudavadi lost his Sabatia seat in the 2002 General Election and only returned to Parliament in 2007 on an Orange Democratic Party (ODM) ticket. He also had the shortest stint in Kenya’s history as Vice-President, having held the position for just two months under Moi.
Echoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s call in 2002 for Kenyans to endorse Kibaki to take over from former President Moi, Mudavadi asked Uhuru and the people of Central to declare him “Tosha!”
The DPM dangled the image of him and Uhuru creating a formidable political force to counter Raila and ODM, and said he is reaching out to his colleague Uhuru, and the people of central Kenya to “return the favour” he did to Uhuru in 2002.
Posed Mudavadi: “I made history for being the shortest-serving Vice-President when I served for only two months. I did that while supporting my friend Uhuru, who is your son. Will I be in order if I ask you kurudisha mkono? (Return the favour)?”
Also targeted in the envisaged coalition are “like-minded” leaders, who will ensure they get victory in the first round.