In Why Raila Cannot Drop Mudavadi As VP Running Mate, I laid out reasons why I believe Raila cannot drop Mudavadi or conditions under which he could to be it a politically viable option.
In a comment to this [Standard] story in the comment section, I said, “Raila will make a fetal mistake which will ensure nothing but defeat at the polls, if he drops Mudavadi as his running mate. Those urging him to do just that are either non-supporters who would love nothing but such an outcome, or supporters who are either disingenuous or are shortchanged in their understanding Kenya politics. Fortunately, Raila understands all of this given what we know about him and therefore my expectation is, Raila will not drop Mudavadi as his running mate.”
I say this because this is an issue I have been looking into for some time and shared my analysis of it in my blog, My Take on Prof. Makau Mutua’s Suggestion Raila Should Replace Mudavadi As His Running Mate in which I disagreed with the good professor and instead concluded for the reasons I provided therein that Raila should not drop Mudavadi and these are in a nutshell:
First, and almost without saying, Raila cannot drop Mudavadi as his running mate against the latter’s will for doing so, as I have noted above, will create fatalistic obstacles and traps for Raila which he may not successfully maneuver around to reach victory.
Second, even though it’s conceivable that Mudavadi may, in fact, be persuaded to step aside and be replaced by someone else, and willingly albeit reluctantly do so, everything I am looking at suggests doing so would not bring with an advantage for Raila and ODM significantly enough to warrant the risk of doing so in lieu of keeping Mudavadi as VP.
I noted in my analysis that, even though regional balancing is important as Makau correctly points out and we all pretty much agree, I disagree that “Kenya isn’t “mature enough” to accept a President and Deputy President from the same region,” as Makau argues.
Quite the contrary, I believe we have matured sufficiently enough to embrace tectonic transformational changes, including how we vote notwithstanding the relative youthfulness of our new found democracy.
Indeed, as I further noted, the new constitution provides ample foundation to bring about these changes as shall be witnessed by election of our first president with true nationwide support and backing come next year.
“And therein lies the open secret to Raila’s key to resolving the VP slot dilemma: the constitution.”
I then went on to analyze and have provided my rationale for this conclusion in that blog.
Third, it is far much easier for Raila to convince more voters from East and Central to vote for him in sufficient numbers to overcome any loses elsewhere than Raila convincing voters in Western province why he has dropped Mudavadi, regardless of the perfectly reasonable reasons behind such a move and regardless of Mudavadi’s own blessing for the move.
Fourth, the only way in my view substituting Mudavadi could pay dividends, is if the substitution is for a woman, to provide gender balance.
Gender balance, however, presents a series of its own concerns and considerations which on balance, in my view, there are more pitfalls there than those Raila has to face in tackling regional balance.
In an article appearing on the Daily Nation, Daily Nation Online, Mudavadi’s handlers had a story written in which they say Mudavadi is poised to seriously challenge Raila for party nomination as presidential candidate.
I disagree with such move for several reasons and before I even address those reasons, let me be clear and will elaborate more in this context that a party that does not hold open and transparent elections in the nomination of its candidates is prone to fail only because how a party conducts its affairs, is a reflection of how it will once in power.
Having said that, let me hasten to add that when it comes to picking the presidential contender for any party, that spot should and must be automatically taken by the party’s current Party Leader, except where the position is vacant.
Ditto for the position of presidential running mate, which should go unchallenged to the Deputy Party Leader with the second most votes cast for party positions in the latest party elections.
This is important for two reasons:
First, it ensures party unity and loyalty, which are two inseparable characteristics of a successful party.
Second, this is the practice in most successful democracies, including here in the US where the party leader is never challenged and the last time it happened, it was back in the 80s when Ted Kennedy tried to replace then poorly performing President Jimmy Carter but as expected, he did not succeed.
To do permit a challenge would be akin to Vice President Joe Biden suddenly challenging Obama for the Democratic Party nomination for 2012, which would be laughed right out of his head.
Third, this will remain to be the case, even when the Party Leader vies and loses because, when you stop to think about it, the idea is not the individual running but a messenger for the party.
The only exception to this, would be when the incumbent Party Leader performs so poorly, be that as just Party Leader or as president, is corrupt or is otherwise damaged goods as a leading presidential contender such that allowing him to head the ticket would doom the party in the view of the party’s majority, in which case a serious challenge for the nomination can and should be mounted but then only if there is a better candidate who can erase the fatalistic problems.
Going by this analysis, I don’t see why Mudavadi should seek to challenge Raila for nomination as flag bearer of ODM.
Raila is for all practical purposes the incumbent president, having been so elected but not sworn but was instead sworn and has been effectively serving as Prime Minister.
Other than his opponents who have been conniving to stop him from being reelected simply because they want to be elected instead, Raila has no baggage that could be even remotely argued to prevent him from mounting an effective and successful campaign.
All polls conducted thus far show him as the man to beat for the next general elections and these can only get better in time as the campaigns get underway.
Mudavadi, on the other hand, has been on Raila’s side and effectively carried out his duties not just as Deputy Party Leader but also as Deputy Prime Minister.
There is no question he in his own right qualifies to run for president but that’s not the issue.
The issue is, is there any reason he should replace Raila as ODM flag-bearer in seeking the presidency and he and/or his handlers seem to suggest so in the article cited above but anyone looking at this objectively would have to conclude those reasons are either too peripheral or simply not strong enough to make any compelling case that Mudavadi is or can be the better candidate.
One of the reasons they give is that Mudavadi is the candidate who will ensure a straight win in the first round in the presidential election, thus avoiding the necessity of a run-off.
According to the story, the “strategy is based on reports that presidential aspirants identified with the G7 Alliance of Kalonzo Musyoka, Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, George Saitoti and Eugene Wamalwa are all likely to run for the presidency in order to lock the PM out of their political strongholds thereby denying him the requisite 50 per cent plus one majority and 25 per cent vote in 24 counties.”
This is a clever reasoning given only because it’s designed to confuse and convince the unwary.
Although Raila has been getting ready to vie for the presidency notwithstanding the happenings at ICC, only his distractors and scheming partisans have been focused on the ICC as key to Raila’s path to State House.
The truth is, in the new Kenya, we must have presidential candidates who must not only appeal to Kenyans widely, but one who must make the compelling case and successfully so that we must leave tribalism behind with the old constitution and move with the letter and spirit of the new constitution, which is high on integrity and sees no tribalism.
Raila is such a candidate and even though given political egos someone at the party believes they can make this case better than Raila, the reality is and quite objectively so, Raila is far more better positioned than the rest, including Mudavadi himself and this is also true when compared viz the overall presidential field and thus the reason he should be nominated without challenge.
Again, objectively looking at this, ODM should mount a campaign led by Mudavadi himself to inform voters that by him not challenging Raila does not mean he is a wimp or Raila’s lapdog as some uncouth characters are quietly passing rumors and innuendos basically intended to tick off Mudavadi so he can jump ship and declare war against Raila, a very ill-advised move, if he were to oblige them but Mudavadi is a seasoned and intelligent politician who should know better than follow such ill-advise.
There is only one president who serves at a time, everyone must wait their turn no matter how long that takes.
The most important consideration every party member should look at and agree on is first, what does the party stand for and second, who is best qualified to lead the party in implementing those ideals.
Once that decision is made and the person to lead is selected, then out of loyalty, consistency, unity and continuation, it should be full throttle from everyone in the party until their leader is sworn into office as president.
That’s what ODM should do and if it does, all shall be fine in the end.
Otherwise, let those in disagreement speak now or never and if that means leaving the party, it’s better now than later if they have to be left with any credibility.
Such honesty and transparency is what is needed in all parties, rather than the scheming and conniving we are all too accustomed to at the expense of true democracy.