Mudavadi Privately Meets Kikwete

Written By Michael Maunda on Saturday, June 23, 2012 | 2:05 AM

DEPUTY Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi privately met Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete on Monday as part of his strategy to widen his regional network and explain himself to regional leaders. 

Mudavadi, accompanied by his wife Tessy, flew out in the morning and met Kikwete at State House, Dar es Salaam, in the afternoon for a four hour meeting before flying back to Nairobi. "Kikwete is an old friend. If you can recall when he was Tanzania's Finance minister, I also held the same position here and we used to interact frequently at IMF, World Bank and EAC forums. 

We established that friendship then," said Mudavadi. "I was just calling on someone I have known for long but also remember that Tanzania is a key player in the EAC and the region," he said.
When asked if he was seeking the support of Kikwete for his presidential bid in 2013, Mudavadi responded, "That will be presumptuous."The DPM and Sabatia MP is scheduled to meet other regional leaders. He has reportedly secured an appointment with Rwanda President Paul Kagame within the next two weeks."I will interact with all regional heads of state just to get their feelings and views on matters affecting the region and especially EAC," he added.

In April, Mudavadi flew out quietly to Kampala where he met Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni.The five-hour meeting at State House Kampala, centered on regional issues and succession politics in Kenya. "I would like to hear what our neighbors expect of Kenya and what my candidature means so that when I win the presidency then they will be guaranteed that I will be a team player,” said Mudavadi.

In an interview with the Star yesterday, Mudavadi again denied that he was a project of President Mwai Kibaki and State House. "This is one question I find ridiculous," he said. He confirmed meeting Kibaki shortly before he defected from ODM to UDF party in April which he said was matter of courtesy. "I have a right to meet the president. I met him to notify him of my intention to resign as Local Government minister. I didn't want him to learn from the media and as you know my appointment letter as minister was signed by him."

Mudavadi denied that he had been wooed by Kibaki's private secretary Prof. Nick Wanjohi to defect from ODM and had met Wanjohi in his Sabatia home. "I have also done a background search and I can assure you that the records at the Registrar of Political Parties does not indicate that Prof. Wanjohi is one of the registered officials of UDF," he said.

He also denied being supported by G7 allied leaders DPM Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto. He said he had not held any private meetings with Uhuru as alleged by the media. "Uhuru and Ruto are my competitors who have their own preferred parties," he said. "However should I be given a chance to lead this country, I cannot be a sectarian president. There is nothing wrong with me holding talks with Ruto, Uhuru, Raila Kalonzo, or Martha Karua since my politics will not be that of polarization but of including everyone," he said.

Mudavadi said that his campaign will be based on the three key pillars of the economy, security and devolution. He said he would be a game changer who would introduce dignity to Kenyan politics. "Kenyans can no longer be hoodwinked. I am also offering an opportunity to talk candidly about these issues without exaggeration and propaganda," he said.

He defended his decision to quit ODM and announce his candidacy with UDF. "The misconception that the seat (presidency) is a preserve of some few people should end. We all are Kenyans who are entitled by the Constitution to contest for any post," he said. Mudavadi said the UDF outfit was becoming increasingly popular.