Uhuru or Raila, is the Question
All indications are that a majority of Kenyan voters will be choosing between The National Alliance (TNA) Uhuru Kenyatta and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Raila Amolo Odinga. All the other candidates combined stand no chance of getting anything above 20 per cent of votes cast. The six candidates will however, rob the two top contenders the opportunity of clinching the presidency in the first round.
Uhuru and Raila therefore, have an uphill task for either to get 50 plus 1 of the votes cast combined with 25 of the 47 counties countrywide. Kikuyu chauvinists have been fronting the tyranny of numbers as Uhuru’s assured ticket to State House. Their argument is plausible, much to the chagrin of Raila, should most voters in Central Kenya and their United Republican Party (URP) William Ruto-led supporters in the Rift Valley vote for Uhuru.
Only a determined pro-Uhuru voter turn out in central Kenya and the Rift Valley, backed by peripheral counties, can drive him to State House on Monday. That will mean for Uhuru to get such support many voters in central Kenya would have to deny both Karua and Kenneth presidential votes. That is very unlikely in the politically divided Mt Kenya region although Uhuru thinks he will enjoy the Tyranny of Numbers.
Raila on his part has been clamouring for round one victory but he floundered during the voter registration exercise by failing to push his supporting communities to register in big numbers. As much as he tries to denounce the “Tyranny of Numbers” espoused by the Jubilee team, the reality is that if the Gikuyu, Embu and Meru (Gema) and the Kelenjin voters devoted their support to Uhuru, he would romp home high and dry.
Central Kenya and the Rift Valley have a combined majority of votes and Counties to propel Uhuru to State House in the first round. But the reality on the ground is that their votes and Counties will be shared between numerous candidates and parties in both areas. In central Kenya Uhuru has the Narc-Kenya’s Martha Karua and the Kenya National Congress (KNC), Peter Kenneth votes threat to contend with. The two will hive off a considerable chunk of votes that could deliver Uhuru to State House.
In Embu and Meru there is a shift from TNA to Kiraitu Murungi-led Alliance Party of Kenya (APK also known as Mbus) and most TNA candidates will be minced meat in the hands of APK. Kiraitu formed the Mbus in the expectation that Uhuru would be driver but the Kiambu politician refused to be led by the inferior Meru. Instead he bought the National Alliance Party from fellow Kiambu politician Nginyo Kariuki for Ksh 500 million and transformed it into TNA.
In the sprawling voter-rich Rift Valley, Uhuru faces an equal force of vote hunters led by Raila’s ODM and the resurrected former ruling party Kenya African National Union (Kanu) fuelled by billionaires Daniel arap Moi and his son Gideon. Kanu is in alliance with the United Democratic Forum (UDF) party fronting Musalia Mudavadi as their presidential candidate. Moi has personally sworn to teach Ruto a lesson he shall never forget and by implication occasion premeditated vote loss to Uhuru.
Kanu insiders claim they have dug deep into presumed Ruto tough with the possibility of denying him political tentacles even in his Eldoret North base. Some say Ruto could be lucky to muster 20 per cent vote support for Uhuru in the Rift Valley. Uhuru and Ruto co-accused in The Hague-based International Criminal Court Joshua arap Sang has also thrown a spanner in the works by endorsing Raila with claims that if the two loved Kenya they would have faced the trial first.
Sang’s latest position won him a visit by Raila himself as a show of unity against Ruto with whom the ODM leader violently shook hands before a crowd of thousands at Uhuru Park last Sunday proclaiming they had forgiven each other. Knowing the fuel that drives Kenyan politics Sang must have filled his tank by the time Raila left his house.
Sang poured scorn on the Jubilee coalition saying Uhuru and Ruto cannot bring peace between the Kalenjin and the Kikuyu as they are preaching. He said only a non-Kikuyu and non-Kalenjin could bring lasting peace among the two communities.
The statements by the ICC accused are strongly held by many Kalenjin politicians who hold the view that Ruto and Uhuru are in the State House race to hush up the ICC trial and its harsh political and economic consequences.Many actually consider Ruto as a traitor who joined Uhuru to save their skins over the ICC and not peace between their two communities.
Uhuru and Ruto on their part are overjoyed by the postponement of their ICC trial until some date in August leaving their minds free to fight for the run off, which seems inevitable. In fact Uhuru thinks his case may be eventually be dismissed but says nothing about his deputy president prospect of spending 30 long years in The Hague jail.
Uhuru may also face fresh charges on interfering with witnesses following disclosure that one witness (4) was compromised with cash bribes. There have been persistent reports of determined efforts to bribe witnesses, intimidate their families and in some cases kill them to eliminate evidence against the accused.
The Hague aside, the reality of losing the presidential race will begin to unfold on Tuesday March 5th, when the polling results unveil the inability of both Raila and Uhuru to muster 50 plus one vote majority. The results of almost a tie short of a majority lead will spell doom to the Uhuru-Ruto duo.
Sang in his recorded statement alludes that Uhuru will not honour the 50-50 Jubilee power-sharing agreement between TNA and URP. He points out that President Mwai Kibaki, and by implication a fellow Kikuyu, failed to honour memorandum of agreements (MoUs) with Raila in 2003 and 2007. The presidential run off will surely reveal to Uhuru the consequences of breaking promises.
In the event of a run off, Uhuru will be sukuma wiki for Raila’s ugali and will lose the presidential race worse like he did in 2002 when he was a Moi project. Uhuru’s loss will be as a direct loss of support by the UDF leader Mudavadi, who will be most likely number three in the race. Mudavadi will find it extremely difficult to support Uhuru after humiliating him and breaking the presidential flag bearer pact last December.
As much as Mudavadi may not be in full control of the Baluhya voters, he will find it easier to market Raila alongside his tribesman Wetangula who is already in Raila team. Mudavadi may also be having his eyes on the presidential race in 2017 when Kenyans are likely to be fed up with Raila’s dictatorial tendencies while water melon Kalonzo Musyoka would not dare challenge his boss.
Uhuru is also unlikely to get Martha Karua’s support and little, if any, from Kenneth within central Kenya. Without any of the central Kenya presidential losers on his side during the run off campaign, Uhuru can kiss bye bye to his late father’s post-independence residence. To a large extent, Uhuru will be forced to sleep on the bed of arrogance he has so patiently been making during the campaigns since he launched TNA.
Raila on his part will have an easy job of literally replaying the 41 against 1 evil campaign he conducted in 2007. He should have no difficulty in bundling together anti-Kikuyu presidency campaign with many Kenyan communities whose leaders think that the Kikuyu and Kalenjin have had their turn. In fact he will most likely be using the immediate election results to argue that Uhuru had drawn his support mainly from Kikuyu voters and not across the Kenyan communities.
It is in pursuit of such calamitous designs that leaflets warning people referred to a Madoadoa (spots), reminiscent of the anti-Kikuyu campaign in the Rift Valley in 2007, are being warned to return to their original homes. Already non-Kalenjins are leaving Ruto’s Uasin Gishu County for fear of a repeat of 2007 violence.
The prospect of a full blown violence is however said to be unlikely given the security preparedness and peace pledges by the presidential candidates. ODM electoral disparaging and inflammatory propaganda has also been tamed.
The pledge by the presidential candidates is a big victory for Kenya as a Nation that may enjoy a break from the 5-year electoral cycle since 1992. A biggest loser in the peace exercise is Raila – the only person who delights in violence for his political gains. Kenyans should guard against any attempts to be driven down the mass action bloody avenue should Raila lose in the first round, which he will.
However, Kenyans must brace themselves against another bruising presidential campaign after March 4 election in which neither Uhuru nor Raila is likely to muster 50+1 in the first round. Both are likely to almost a tie around vote 46-45 percentage.
Kenyan voters will have to solely choose among the lesser evil of a man running away from international justice or one whose political career is closely intertwined with bloody and lethal national violence. A hard choice indeed!