How Moi's Surprise Car Launched Mudavadi's Political Career

  • ANC Party leader Musalia Mudavadi with his car at his Nairobi residence
    ANC Party leader Musalia Mudavadi with his car at his Nairobi residence
    File
  • When ANC leader Wycliffe Musalia’s father Moses Mudavadi died in 1989, he was sceptical about joining the political scene. 

    He documented his journey to becoming one of the most popular politicians in his memoirs, Soaring Above The Storms Of Passion. 

    It wasn't until he was called to State House by then-President Daniel Moi who assured him of his support. 

    The late former President Daniel Moi with former Vice President Musalia Mudavadi
    The late former President Daniel Moi with former Vice President Musalia Mudavadi
    File

    “I got into politics with significant support and encouragement from President Moi, as well as from a number of my father’s other friends and associates. It would be insincere to suggest that without this encouragement I would have gone into politics at this time,” he acknowledged.

    Mudavadi was doubtful that he would get Moi’s support and at the same time, he hadn’t developed a passion for politics.

    “I had got used to looking at politics as my father’s province. It never occurred to me that I should someday become the focal point in competitive electoral politics,” he stated. 

    The party grassroots became emboldened in their endorsement of his candidature. Party headquarters picked up the vibes. People close to the Head of State also began echoing the same sentiments. 

    He would then be called to State House,  through his sister, “ I was required to be in Nairobi within twenty-four hours. The message came through my sister, Serah, who telephoned to say that someone called Tony Mzee, an employee of CMC and a close friend to the late Fred Waiganjo, who was then the Provincial Commissioner for Nairobi, had called her to say that the President wanted to have a chat with me.”

    The young Mudavadi did not have proper means to get to Nairobi. He drove his Datsun vehicle to Kisumu, where he met a close friend of his father’s, C.S. Hayer. 

    He told him about the impending mission to Nairobi and that he had no vehicle to do the kind of movement that was expected. Hayer instantly called a cousin and instructed him to drive Mudavadi to Nairobi overnight. 

    On getting to the PC’s office, he was driven to State House where he met President Moi. On the way, Mudavadi was nervous since he had never had a session with the head of state. 

    “We met President after a few moments of waiting. He was genial and avuncular. He spoke with serene aplomb. He told me about his relationship with my late father and how they had worked very well together. It was like a father-to-son conversation, even as he clearly guarded what he said. 

    “He told me that he had the impression that I was the right person for Sabatia. He had also made enquiries and he firmly believed that the time was ripe for me to go into political leadership. He was basically saying that he would lend me his support. He advised that I should go back home and begin talking to the elders more robustly, and with focus and purpose,” the Western kingpin recalled.

    After more discussions, he was allowed to leave. Moi chatted with PC Waiganjo for a few moments, as Mudavadi waited in the anteroom. 

    When Waiganjo came out, they drove to CMC. Arrangements had been made for Mudavadi to secure a vehicle, a Peugeot 504 KZS 841, which would remain his personal car.

    “It was the first solid indication that the President wanted to support me for the Sabatia Seat. There were other forms of support throughout the campaign,” he wrote. 

    ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi during a past interview
    ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi during a past interview