Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua is preparing to launch his presidential campaign and start countrywide tours to popularise his bid.
Dr Mutua, who is serving his second and final term as governor, says he’ll also unveil his agenda for Kenya, making use of a strategy that will rely heavily on online mobilisation.
“We’re finalising setting up the national campaign secretariat and will officially launch the presidential campaign in about three months” Governor Mutua said in an interview with the Nation.
The governor, who will be 50 years old in 2022, believes his age will endear him to young voters while his development track record in Machakos speaks for itself.
His bid, which he says will be modelled on US presidential campaigns, will start with a massive online member recruitment drive for his Maendeleo Chap Chap party.
He will do this alongside physical engagement with voters through the opening of party offices in all the 47 counties.
“My candidacy will have a bigger presence in the digital space so that I can connect with millions of Kenyan youths who form more than 70 per cent of the population and whose challenges I’ll seek to address as president,” he said.
Governor Mutua promised to offer Kenyans an alternative voice on who is best-placed to address the country’s social and economic problems.
“We’ll soon change the political narrative and challenge those who hit the campaign trail earlier with robust ideas for Kenya,” he said.
Deputy President William Ruto, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi are among those who have declared that they will be in the race to take over from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Dr Mutua said most candidates have nothing new to offer the people because they have held senior government positions for many years and have achieved the best they could.
Kenya needs a younger and more energetic leader like himself whose development track record is clear, he said.
“I am reaching out to every leader across the country to bolster my candidacy and I am ready for the task. One thing is clear so far – we cannot afford, as a country, to have an old politician succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta,” he said.
“Kenya needs a younger president with fresh energy and new insights on who can take the country to the next level, put sound policies in place to create an economic boom and create well-paying jobs for unemployed youths.”
Dr Mutua, whose party has cooperated with President Kenyatta’s Jubilee administration since 2013, said he has been consulting political, business and church leaders from various regions ahead of the launch of his campaign.
Recently, he and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi met and discussed matters including the Building Bridges Initiative, the proposed referendum to change the constitution and 2022 succession politics.
“Maendeleo Chap Chap has always supported the handshake of President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga from the word go. We see the bigger picture, which is political stability, a prerequisite for economic growth, wealth and jobs creation,” he said.
He added: “We agreed that the winner-takes-all electoral system is responsible for many problems in our country so it must be changed.”
Governor Mutua said he is encouraged by feedback from young people across the country and that his presidential bid is unstoppable.
Last year, Mr Odinga reached out to Dr Mutua to rally the Kamba community residing in Kibra constituency to vote for ODM candidate Bernard Imran Okoth who won the MP by-election.
The move rattled Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper party and reignited his and the governor’s battle for the control of Ukambani politics.
Dr Mutua’s involvement in Kibra campaigns happened a few weeks after his party defeated Wiper’s candidate in the hotly contested Mutonguni Ward by-election in Mr Musyoka’s home county of Kitui.
According to political scientist Charles Nzioka, his cooperation with President Kenyatta and national leaders such as Mr Odinga and Mr Moi is an acknowledgement of his growing stature in national politics.
Prof Nzioka, who teaches sociology at the University of Nairobi, says Governor Mutua has emerged as a dependable leader and that in view of disagreements in the opposition’s National Super Alliance (Nasa), his new-found ties put Mr Musyoka in an awkward position.