- The book details the intrigues in the heady days leading up to Mr Odinga’s controversial swearing-in on January 30, 2018.
The former vice-president writes of a heated meeting in Athi River a day after the ‘Handshake’ during which other Nasa principals took Mr Odinga to task over the secrecy around the development.
ODM leader Raila Odinga agreed to work with President Uhuru Kenyatta under the famous March 9 ‘handshake’ as a result of pressure from Western nations and financial woes, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has said.
Mr Mudavadi claims in a new book that Mr Odinga had been banned from visiting many countries, including a key Western nation, and was particularly worried about what the US’s next course of action would be.
Mr Mudavadi, who was Mr Odinga’s chief campaigner in the 2017 election, claims the pact was shrouded in secrecy and that days before it, he and the other Nasa principals – Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula – had met the ODM leader, who did not drop any hint about the negotiations with President Kenyatta.
It was in the meeting, however, that he spoke of the pressure from the foreign nations.
“Raila also mentioned to us at this meeting that he had received letters of cancellation of his visas by various foreign missions in Kenya. He showed us a copy of one such letter he had received from a leading western mission,” Mr Mudavadi writes in the autobiography, Soaring Above the Storms of Passion.
The book, authored with his long-time ally and ANC Secretary-General Barrack Muluka, and published by The Mudavadi Memorial Foundation Trust Fund in association with Midas Touch Media Limited, also details the intrigues in the heady days leading up to Mr Odinga’s controversial swearing-in on January 30, 2018.
On the visa blockades, Mr Mudavadi writes that Mr Odinga asked him to cross-check with other missions whether they were aware of this development and what their countries’ governments were thinking. “I cross-checked with Ambassador (Robert) Godec, who affirmed that he was aware of the developments …”
The former vice-president also writes of a heated meeting in Athi River a day after the ‘Handshake’ during which other Nasa principals took Mr Odinga to task over the secrecy around the development.
“In this conversation, we also learnt that the visa embargo seemed to have covered many other people,” Mr Mudavadi writes in the memoirs that delve into every epoch in his political career spanning 30 years.
Mr Mudavadi also details the financial woes Mr Odinga’s party was in, suggesting this might have been another reason for the latter’s abandonment of his hardline opposition cause.
The ANC leader also suggests that the numerous litigations against a number of Nasa supporters and “other allied pressures” – which he doesn’t name – might have been too much for Mr Odinga.
“We learnt that the financial capacity to handle these cases was not there. Basically the situation was becoming unbearable,” Mr Mudavadi writes.
He says he was on his way to Mombasa when Vihiga Senator George Khaniri called him frantically, alerting him about the ‘Handshake’ on the steps of Harambee House, the President’s office.
“A flurry of other phone calls flowed in. Kalonzo called me to ask if I was aware of what was going on. I told him I was unaware.”
He says pressure mounted on him from a wide range of callers, who wanted to know what was going on, “bearing in mind that I had been the chief campaigner.”
“They wanted to know whether we were now going into a coalition government with Jubilee.”
Mr Mudavadi says the swearing-in went against what the rest of the principals believed in and was also in defiance of the caution by world and regional leaders, advice that was given in telephone conversations and in meetings.
“The first one was Raila’s office at Capitol Hill, where we met with foreign diplomats accredited to Kenya, religious leaders and leaders from the business community. They pleaded with us not to carry on with the swearing-in plans,” Mudavadi writes.
He says the second meeting was held at the American Ambassador’s residence. “Also present at this meeting was the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Donald Yamamoto. There was also Howard from the Security Adviser’s Desk in the White House and Ambassador Robert Godec.”