, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has robustly denied that he is working for ‘outside forces’ in his bid to be elected the Orange Democratic Movement’s presidential flag bearer.
Addressing over 250 ODM delegates at Sai Rock Beach Hotel in Mombasa, Mudavadi said he was determined in his quest and dismissed those claiming he was a ploy as “daydreamers.”
He assured that he had hit the ground running in search of votes for the forthcoming ODM presidential party nominations, where he will square it out with the party leader Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
“I am not serving interests of anyone; I will be facing Raila Odinga in the ODM’s presidential nominations,” Mudavadi said later at a press conference.
The deputy premier said ODM was a democratic party where all were welcomed to vie for any seat and denied he was being used by outside forces to challenge Odinga and divide the party.
He said he was ready to face Odinga in the party’s nominations and battle it out with other presidential candidates in the general election.
Mudavadi has been on a countrywide tour seeking to popularise himself ahead of the party nominations.
The ODM deputy leader has differed with his party boss over the mode of picking the party’s presidential flag bearer opting for election by delegates at county levels while those backing Odinga are in support of a National Delegates Congress.
On Sunday, Odinga who spoke to ODM delegates from Kajiado and Narok in Ongata Rongai said that ODM was aware of attempts from external forces to use the battle at the primaries to break up the party.
He however stated that ODM was open to a competitive process that will leave the party united.
Apart from his party deputy, Odinga faces a tough battle for Kenya’s top position from other contenders including Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, former Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto among others.
As he lobbied for grassroots support on Sunday, Mudavadi assured Lamu County residents that the government would put in place mechanisms to address the emotive land issues in the county.
The DPM said the land problems facing the people of Lamu were unique and needed special attention from the government.
“I will take up the issues and plead with my colleagues to give Lamu County special attention,” he said adding that he had already advised that Lamu people be consulted about the benefits accruing from construction of the multi billion shillings port project as key stakeholders.
“Lamu people have a higher stake in this project and it is only fair that they know what is in it for them especially since the land belongs to them,” he added.
County leaders pleaded that land ownership issues be addressed first before the project kicks off as many have remained squatters since independence. Some of the area residents and local activists have moved to court over the Lamu port project.
The DPM said the three Bills touching on the establishment of a land commission, registration of land and ownership of community land should address the issues around the warped tenure system at the Coast.
The Sabatia MP was accompanied by MPs George Khaniri (Hamisi), Justus Kizito (Shinyalu), chairman of Lamu County Council, Abdul Kassim, ODM Emuhaya sub branch chairman, Khalid Njiraini and ODM’s women representative from Taveta County, Fridah Mwadime.