- The book also details the intrigues in the defining moments of the 2007, 2013 and 2017 elections and the heady days leading up to Mr Odinga’s controversial swearing-in on January 30, 2018 and after.
- But beyond the political machinations, the book is also a spirited defence of Mr Mudavadi’s role in the Goldenberg export compensation scheme, the largest heist in Kenya’s history.
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has, for the first time, revealed the reasons behind his return to a sinking Kanu ship, just a few days after he had jumped off it ahead of the 2002 General Election.
The former vice-president also revisits former President Daniel Moi’s chaotic handover to Mwai Kibaki, giving a glimpse into the thinking and actions of the members of the inner sanctum of power during the tumultuous time that ushered in Kenya’s second liberation.
In the just-published autobiography, Soaring Above the Storms of Passion, Mr Mudavadi writes that even though he knew that the winds of change would sweep Kanu out of power, he supported Uhuru Kenyatta, Moi’s choice for successor, because of family pressure. He also writes of threats and intimidation, even though he is shy on the details.
“A cocktail of factors led to this fax paus on my part: from historical ties to Mzee Moi, through family pressures and assorted threats, intimidation and even persuasion,” Mr Mudavadi says.
The book also opens the lid on the much-vaunted ties between Mr Moi and Mr Mudavadi’s father, Moses Budamba, an educationist and later a minister in Moi’s government.
“The ultimate driver for my retreat was the family ties and the traditional amity between my late father and President Moi.”
Referring to the 2002 election as one that “looked lost from the very outset”, Mr Mudavadi talks of the second President as a father-like figure, one he had to support at his hour of need.
He talks of mistakes and sacrifices that gave him the dubious distinction of serving the shortest stint as vice-president in Kenya’s history. His appointment as VP on November 4, 2002, he says, was too little too late to change the tide even in his Western Kenya backyard, but he had no choice but to accept the appointment of “what was left of this government” and to “enjoy the stolen moment”.
Mr Mudavadi traces his father’s friendship with President Moi to pre-independence days in Kabarnet where the former was an inspector of schools while the latter was a teacher. These roles of boss and subordinate would soon change forever, but their fates were for a long time to remain intertwined.
“The Moi family lived a doorstep from the Mudavadi family. While the two families belonged to an emerging African elite class, life was tough for both, even more for the Moi family, according to my mother,” Mr Mudavadi writes.
“My mother would later recall how the Moi family strove to eke out a living just like any other family. (Moi) would hew firewood for his wife, go to the stores for food and do ordinary things that all responsible men did for their families. Nobody knew at this time that the man hewing firewood for his family had a great appointment with destiny.”
The book, authored with his long-time ally and Africa National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Barrack Muluka, details how Mudavadi Senior paved the way for Mr Moi’s entry into politics, and later smoothened his ascendancy. Mudavadi writes of how, despite the nudge by the colonial government to have him stand to represent the North Rift in the Legco, Mudavadi Senior turned down the offer and suggested that an indigenous member of the North Rift tribes runs.
Through this and accidents of history, Moi was to get the seat – and thus started his long political career – after the candidates for the position that included Justus Ole Tipis and John ole Tameno failed to turn up because of the transport challenges of the time.
“Not long afterwards, my father tipped Moi that Mzee Kenyatta would soon be released from Kapenguria where he had been jailed and later detained. He advised him to visit Kenyatta in prison and try to make friendship with him.”
Mudavadi suggests this advice was instrumental in getting Moi into Kenyatta’s good books.
It is these historical ties and Moi’s role in getting him into politics and appointing him to critical Cabinet positions, including that of Finance and Transport, at a very young age, that Mudavadi recalled as he decided to support Uhuru Kenyatta. This decision cost him the Sabatia Constituency seat, and tanked his chequered political career.
He then turned down a nominated MP post, arguing that it would be a mockery of the electorate to bring him back through the parliamentary back-door after Sabatia voters had rejected him.
He writes of how “it was agreed that in the face of the Narc euphoria, Moi should go alone to the handover parade, accompanied only by his security detail”.