A fierce battle is brewing in the Kenya Kwanza coalition over the running mate position with Deputy President William Ruto's supporters and those of Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi locking horns.
Speaking in a rally on Saturday, March 12, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala argued that the position should be given to Mudavadi, a former Vice President, whom the lawmaker holds that is the most qualified in the coalition.
This comes amid reports that leaders from the Mt Kenya region are mounting pressure on UDA leadership demanding that the seat should be given to one of their own, more so Mathira Member of Parliament Rigathi Gachagua.
"This time around, we are giving a demand that this is a coalition of parties, this is not a coalition of regions. People cannot agree that since they come from the mountain, they should be deputy president and not us.ANC Leader Musalia Mudavadi addresses a rally in Kirinyaga on January 29, 2021ANC Party
"We as a party say that when UDA takes Presidency, then ANC should take the DP slot," stated the Kakamega Senator.
To solve the impasse, Malala suggested that the two contenders, Mudavadi and Gachagua, should face a panel and be interviewed to determine the most suitable candidate.
"Our agenda is economic revival. We have seen Ruto has undergone an interview at Kenya Kwanza.
"We want that when they select the DP of Kenya Kwanza, we should put Musalia Mudavadi to undergo an interview. Rigathi Gachagua should also undergo an interview then determine who is suitable," Malala added.
In an interview with Nation, however, Gachagua does not seem to have made up his mind regarding the running mate slot, which remains a bone of contention in the Ruto-led alliance.
The vocal lawmaker and a career civil servant explained that he is not actively pursuing it although he would not mind occupying the position majorly due to demand from the public.
"You cannot stop people from wishing you well. That is natural and I have no problem. People can pray for me and wish me well. If I get it, well and good. If not, equally, well and good.
"I have no fixed mind except for the fact that we must form the next government and I must be part of it in whatever capacity," he stated.
Gachagua further explained that the coalition was interested in a working economic plan first instead of jostling for political seats.
"But with regard to any particular position, I have no hang-ups. We are not interested in positions. We first want an economic plan to lift our people out of the economic mess that the government has brought to Mt Kenya, despite our being in government," he added.
Gachagua has previously insinuated that UDA had already settled on Mt Kenya taking the running mate slot and that Mudavadi and his team should forget about it. As the clock ticks towards August 9, Ruto it's a delicate balance for DP Ruto who seeks to form a formidable force and avert possible fallout.Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala during the burial service of former Mount Elgon MP John Serut on Saturday, March 5, 2022.Courtesy
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