Amani National Coalition (ANC) Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi has penned a memoir that has unraveled the tense moments that characterized the 2017 post-election mess as the NASA coalition sought to challenge the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Mudavadi’s memoir, Soaring Above the Storms of Passion, paints Odinga as a man under pressure who was willing to play tricks on both friend and foe to overcome the difficult situation before him.
Some of Mudavadi’s claims have also corroborated what had already been written by exiled Kenyan activist Miguna Miguna who was part of Odinga’s team in the aftermath of August General Election.
For instance, Mudavadi writes of the plan to have a parallel swearing in ceremony for Odinga.
The plan received a lot of opposition from the international community and the ANC Party Leader says one Western country went as far as to cancel Odinga’s visa and that of many of his allies.
Mudavadi was in the team of those who believed the Opposition chief should not have been sworn in but Odinga was also under a lot of pressure from the swearing in diehards who included Miguna Miguna, James Orengo, Jimmy Wanjigi, Raila Junior, among others.
As the pressure mounted, Mudavadi, in consultation with Raila and the technical team decided to announce the postponement of the swearing in ceremony that had been expected to take place on December 12th 2018.
Just before Mudavadi could make the announcement during a press conference at Okoa Kenya office, Raila became untraceable.
Unknown to Mudavadi, the Opposition chief was holed up in Jimmy Wanjigi’s house in Muthaiga where the Okoa Kenya TV had planned to film a swearing in ceremony which would then be distributed on the internet.
The team in Wanjigi’s house did not know that Raila had already directed the swearing in ceremony to be postponed, and kept asking Mudavadi why he was taking too long to make the announcement.
“I learnt from people present that Raila seemed to have been very shocked to watch us on TV calling off the swearing in. He is reported to have said, “Oh they are calling it off?”At this point the swearing in at Muthaiga was called off. Before we left for the Okoa Kenya offices, he had called me to ask why we were taking long to make the announcement,” Mudavadi writes in his new book.
The former Vice President’s version of events matches Miguna’s narration of the incident at Wanjigi’s house where he had been called to swear in Raila.
Here is how Miguna narrated the event:
[At about 3 p.m., the vehicle pulled outside Wanjigi’s Muthaiga mansion. Wanjigi welcomed us to one of his lounges where we watched soccer, ate lunch and reminisced. After about fifteen minutes, Winnie arrived. She did not look happy. I soon realized that we were supposed to swear Raila in at Wanjigi’s house that afternoon.
I asked for a printer and managed to print both the oath and speech. I had carried my commission stamp in my computer bag. We were all dressed in suits, as Muthama had asked us to do earlier. Although Wanjigi was not in a suit, I considered it a non-issue because we were in his home and he could change into one easily within minutes.
Raila, Jr. and his NASA TV crew had arrived earlier and set up their equipment in a separate wing of Wanjigi’s palatial home. At 3:30 p.m., Raila walked in, dressed in jeans, a casual shirt and sports jacket. He was on the phone.
We kept quiet and waited for him to finish. Thereafter, we greeted each other, he served himself food from the buffet, poured himself a cup of tea and started eating as he watched soccer. The Arsenal Football Club (Arsenal) was on TV. We all knew that when the Arsenal team was playing, Raila could not focus or hold any reasonable discussion outside cheering or criticizing the players. So, we waited for the game to end before engaging in any serious discussions.
When the Arsenal team finished playing, Orengo briefed Raila on the draft speech and oath. I handed Raila copies of both, which he glanced over quickly and made one minor correction, still distracted. I noticed that he did not actually read the speech up to the end. He placed a call and left the room, still speaking on his mobile phone.
It was now getting late and dark. Muthama, Orengo and I looked worried. Wanjigi was relaxed. Winnie was anxious. She could hardly sit still. But Raila seemed to be having a long discussion on the phone. After ten minutes of suspense, Orengo and Muthama left the room and walked on the grass towards the stone fence. Raila was standing about fifty metres away from them. Wanjigi, Winnie and I kept vigil inside the room.
“I don’t think he wants to be sworn in today,” Winnie said.
“Look at the way he is dressed,” she added.
After about ten minutes, Raila returned to the room where we were, with Muthama and Orengo following behind.
“Mudavadi and Weta are insisting that we postpone… They are going to address the media at Okoa Kenya just now,” Raila said, sounding as if that decision was made without his knowledge or approval.
As soon as he said that, Muthama passed me his mobile phone.
“Breaking news! Raila’s swearing in on December 12 has been postponed,” I read from the Nation mobile news alert. We looked at each other — Orengo, Jimmy and me. We were thunderstruck.
Muthama tried to support the postponement, but Wanjigi and I did not let him get far. Orengo was blowing hot and cold. Winnie said nothing in front of Raila.
Wanjigi was livid, or so I believed. He reminded Raila of the expectations of millions of his supporters.
Then Mudavadi, Wetang’ula and Makueni Governor, Kivutha Kibwana came on TV.
Mudavadi was reading a statement. We watched and listened: “Following extensive internal consultations and engagements with a wide range of national and international interlocutors, the Nasa leadership wishes to advise the Nasa fraternity and the general public that the swearing in of the Right Honourable Raila Amolo Odinga and His Excellency Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as President and Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya and the People’s Assembly. Scheduled for Tuesday, December 12, have been postponed to a later date,” he said.
“So, how could Kivutha have known about the press conference and travelled all the way from Makueni if this was not planned? Why was I woken up at 7:30 a.m. and asked to spend hours preparing these,” I said placing the speech and oath on the table.
Raila was seated to my immediate left. Orengo was to my immediate right. “Why come all the way here if you knew that you would not go through with it?” I asked Raila. I was livid.
Raila tried to give us excuses, claiming that Mudavadi, Wetang’ula and Kivutha acted alone; that they only informed him minutes before they had addressed the media.]