NAIROBI, Kenya, May 2 – Musalia Mudavadi has quit the Local Government Ministry and his position as deputy leader of the Orange Democratic Movement, as he hopped onto the United Democratic Forum (UDF) in readiness to contest the presidency.
He however announced that he would remain as a Deputy Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Sabatia constituency.
He said that he chose UDF as it shares his aspirations and those of Kenyans.
“I, Musalia Mudavadi wish to announce that I will be offering myself as a candidate for the office of President of the Republic of Kenya on the ticket of The United Democratic Forum Party at the next elections,” he said amid cheers from supporters.
“Even as I applied myself to the challenges of making a new home, I have deeply reflected on the positions I hold in the party and in government on behalf of Kenyans. I have resolved to resign as the ODM Deputy Party Leader and as the Minister for Local Government,” he added.
He said he had decided to quit ODM following his belief that the party was becoming undemocratic. He insisted that he read a systematic plot by the party not to amend the constitution after the legal committee failed to meet and deliberate on the amendments and the fact that the party wanted to tie amendments to the Political Parties Act.
“I have said and repeat that internal democracy in political parties is as important as the practice of democratic governance is in government. You know what to expect of your government if your party of choice is ready and willing to practice internal democracy,” he said.
He insisted that he left ODM because he did not want to be time barred to compete within the party or leave the party outside of the timelines provided for in the Elections Act.
An ODM National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting before Easter settled on amending Article 6 and providing for nominations at the county level. The legal committee was instructed to burn the midnight oil over Easter and provide the amendments before the party filed for compliance with the Registrar of Political Parties.
“The legal committee never met and on the Tuesday after Easter, the secretariat presented the old constitution for full registration…it is at this point that it became apparent that there was a systematic plot; not to amend the constitution and tie the process under Section 20 of the Political Parties Act,” said Mudavadi at a breakfast meeting before his launch.
Section 20 of the Political Parties Act provides that a party intending to amend its constitution: “Shall notify the registrar of its intention and the registrar shall, within fourteen days after the receipt of the notification, cause a notice of the intended change or alteration to be published in the gazette.”
Further, the party giving notification is expected to publish such notification in at least two daily newspapers having nationwide circulation.
Upon the expiry of 30 days from the date of publication of the notice the political party may, after taking into account any representations received from the public under subsection effect the change or alteration in accordance with its constitution and rules.
It is these stringent requirements that got Mudavadi thinking of a move out as well as the possibility of a court injunction that could prevent the party from amending its constitution which guaranteed the party leader Raila Odinga the automatic nomination for the presidency.
Mudavadi said: “In this game of politics you do not start taking chances; goodwill is important but intrigue can also have its way.”
He says that his new party will strive to address issues affecting the local Kenyan in the education sector, job creation and the building of an accountable and transparent governance structure.
“We will not be in the business of appropriating for ourselves the Constitution. UDF is committed to implementing the spirit and letter of the Constitution as desired and mandated by Kenyans. We stand for accountable and transparent systems and institutions in Kenya,” he reiterated indicating that he will hold his first rally in Nakuru over the weekend.
Mudavadi was accompanied to the function by his wife Tessie, UDF allied MPs Abdikadir Mohamed, George Nyamweya, Katoo ole Metito, Jeremiah Kioni as well as lawmakers Najib Balala, George Khaniri, Yusuf Chanzu and Justus Kizito.
Cabinet Minister Soita Shitanda who is the New Ford Kenya Party leader as well as his party colleague Boni Khalwale were also present.
Others leaders in attendance were Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat, former minister Mukhisa Kituyi and former Vihiga MP Andrew Ligale.