, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 4 – The Amani National Congress (ANC) has ruled out the possibility of joining the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) or the proposed Jubilee Party.
ANC Secretary-General Godfrey Osotsi declared that the party had decided to rally support for Musalia Mudavadi’s presidential bid because he offers a third alternative based on the country’s interests.
“ANC is independent; we are pursuing our own course for 2015, which is neither Jubilee nor CORD, because we are an alternative leadership. This country is yearning for an alternative leadership away from the two coalitions which have been part of the challenges this country has been facing,” he told a news conference held at the party headquarters.
He dismissed claims by CORD leaders that Mudavadi was working with Jubilee leaders to divide votes in Western Kenya as a tired propaganda ploy.
“I am not in any way affected by the things that they (CORD and Jubilee) are saying. They appear to be perturbed by how fast ANC is gaining popularity not just in Western but in all parts of the country I have visited. They are panicking,” he said
The opposition sees Mudavadi as out to divide the electorate in the vote-rich former Western Province.
In a statement, ODM Political Affairs Secretary Opiyo Wandayi claimed that Mudavadi is working with the Jubilee administration to ensure that the region, which offered Odinga strong support in 2013, does not vote as a block but remains divided.
ANC National Vice-Chairman Abdi Yare also said the party was not amused by the recent moves by Jubilee Coalition leaders to bring on board some MPs and former lawmakers on the United Democratic Forum (UDF).
“Western Kenya is the bedrock of the ANC, it is therefore an irrelevant and uncouth way of doing business, when a section of Jubilee go round calling for the remnants of UDF, (which is in the process of winding up) and they start casting aspersions that ANC is affiliated to so and so or is almost working with so and so,” Yare said.
“It’s normal when the threat is imminent you will find all sorts of allegations. We want to tell them relax and watch this space.”
Deputy President William Ruto has been touring the region many times in the recent past in a bid to woo the leaders and electorate to the Jubilee Party wing ahead of 2017.
Ruto in December hosted a section of western Kenya leaders at his Sigoi home and managed to convince a number including UDF Party Whip Benjamin Washiali and New Ford Kenya leader and Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka to join the newly formed Jubilee Party.
“Mudavadi does not play politics of the stomach, Mudavadi is with the people. If those people who defected want to play politics of the stomach they are free to do so. They should know that the people are watching,” he stated.
Osotsi told reporters that Mudavadi wants to popularise the Amani National Congress (ANC) as the vehicle to unite all Luhyas ahead of the 2017 General Election.
“We want CORD and Jubilee to know that our Party Leader is going to camp in Western for the two weeks in a bid to consolidate his support in the region,” he said.
Mudavadi quit as the Party Leader of the United Democratic Forum (UDF) party in June last year following internal wrangles with its secretary general who objected the planned renaming of the party.
The former Deputy Prime Minister was third in the 2013 presidential election in which Uhuru Kenyatta won, followed by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who later contested the results at the Supreme Court which ruled in favour of Kenyatta.
Former Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende and Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli had been requested to spearhead the ‘Luhya Nation’ Initiative aimed at bringing together all western Kenya political leaders with an aim of fronting a united formidable candidate.