In a field of eight candidates, and with the two frontrunners — Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga — currently in a dead heat by most objective measures in the race to become Kenya’s fourth post-independence president, it seems more unlikely than ever that a candidate will win the 50%-plus majority necessary to win the presidency outright on March 4.
That means that the man likely to place third in Monday’s presidential election, Musalia Mudavadi (pictured above), could well emerge as the kingmaker in a runoff.
Mudavadi, though he’s only making his first run for president, is certainly no stranger to the elite of Kenyan politics, and he is one of the half-dozen or so top politicians that have emerged following the quarter-center rule of former president Daniel arap Moi. Mudavadi has allied in the past with both Kenyatta and Odinga, however, which makes it unclear who he would back in the event of a runoff. Furthermore, his ethnic group (Luhya), a Bantu group that comprises around 14% of Kenya’s population, mostly concentrated in Western Province north of Lake Victoria in Kenya’s southwest, is somewhat of a ‘swing’ group as well.
Mudavadi served as finance minister in the mid-1990s under arap Moi and as Kenya’s vice president for less than two months in the final days of the arap Moi administration, and his father, Moses Mudavadi, was until his death in 1989 a key minister in the arap Moi administration. He has arap Moi’s support in the 2013 presidential election, and he is sometimes viewed pejoratively as arap Moi’s ‘project’ — in other words, a bit of a dupe that arap Moi is using to regain power behind the scenes. Continue reading Mudavadi likely to become kingmaker in Kenya presidential runoff