The forthcoming general elections have been tipped to be the most competitive ever. The electorate is much more informed thus forcing aspirants to conduct issue based campaigns. The same electorate is looking at quality of leadership more than ever before. It is also apparent the electorate has had enough of the status quo and the country is headed to a revolutionary electoral process that will change the political landscape forever. In March this year, Chris posted an article on this forum titled Why We Are Headed for A Kikuyus Versus The Rest Political Contest. Observers believe that this year’s elections will be a fiercely fought encounter for the same reasons Chris predicted in March.
With only a few weeks to the D-Day, the picture is much clearer that in was back in March. Camps have already emerged and presidential nominations have all but been completed. The current regime has had to fight allegations of tribalism and nepotism since the referendum defeat. Not even the third and fourth force of Kalonzo or Muiru will make much difference. It seems most Kenyans have already decided who they will vote for and it just a matter of time before the current regime is replaced.
True, Kibaki holds an incumbency head-start and a three million strong GEMA votes even before the elections have started. But will that be sufficient to deliver the presidency back to Kibaki? Remember the voter roll stands at over 14 million and research indicates the voter turnout is expected to be more than 70%. Have all the voters been convinced that the Kibaki Tena ideology of kazii iendelee portends better life for them? Why should the present regime suddenly start creating districts, establishing universities and issuing all sorts of goodies to groups it had previously ignored? Arrogance that is exhibited by cabinet ministers has only helped to polarize the country further. Although PNU was meant to unite the so called Government of National Unity, it is not having an easy time doing so if the joint nomination circus is anything to go by.
It is also now an open secret that all senior non-GEMA supporters of President Kibaki’s re-election have their positions as MPs under severe threat in their own local 'strongholds'. A quick review shows that:
Raphael Tuju will never see the inside of the national assembly again as an elected MP. Not only has he publicly insulted the Luo people who form the bulk of his constituents, but he has also insinuated some of their leaders – without leaving a doubt as to whom he is referring to - to be corrupt. Nobody knows what happened to his PPP that was launched at the cost of several lives lost in Kisumu a few years ago.
Musikari Kombo not only managed to split the one-time official opposition party FORD-K with his ill advised policies, he is fighting a serious ODM wave in Webuye especially after the ODM leaders visited the Dini Ya Msambua shrine to re-enforce Elijah Masinde’s prophecy that the Luhya’s would attain the leadership of this country ‘through the lake’. Alfred Sambu is tipped as the next Webuye MP on ODM ticket. Three of Kombo’s former confidants (Shitanda, Kituyi and Khwalale) have defected from FORD-K to form new FORD-K and they have not been sacked by Kibaki. Infact FORD K has suffered defections of more than 50% of sitting MPs in Western Province and the party’s NEC is now composed of only three or four MPs with the rest being outsiders. That FORD-K is only but a Bukusu party, as opposed to a Luhya party (let alone a national party) was confirmed when the NARC dream was hijacked by the so called Mt. Kenya mafia in 2003.
Kipruto Arap Kirwa had defected to FORD-K with hope that the party would save him from the ODM wave sweeping through the North Rift. Little did Ruto know that he was jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Not only are residents complaining of insecurity, ODM is the preferred party for civic and parliamentary aspirants. Kipruto's Cherangany seat has attracted more than 15 ODM parliamentary aspirants, yet no one has openly come out to oppose him in PNU!
Simeon Nyachae just like Kombo, is facing an ODM tsunami in Kisiiland from where the bulk of his MP’s come from. FORD-P MP’s in other regions like Mwandawiro Mghanga has already defected to ODM. Nyachae is now having second thoughts about a health induced retirement plan and word on the ground is that he is sponsoring candidates to run on ODM ticket, in the hope that they will defect at last minute and live his party as the favourite in Kisii region.
Chirau Ali Mwakwere’s Shirikisho has already suffered a split because the breakaway new KADU has rebelled from mainstream Shirikisho and is apparently not keen on supporting the Kibaki re-election that Mwakwere has been insistent on. Coast province is not only an ODM zone it is also fiercely in favour of devolution that the ODM is propagating and the PNU castigating. Most PNU MP’s at the coast have very little chance of being re-elected, including Danson Mungatana.
Moody Awori is only Kibaki’s principal assistant as Vice President. In the political areana, he is lowly considered and is not playing any significant role in campaigns. He has been sending feelers to ODM after realising his days are numbered as MP. The discreet approach, made through his son Joseph, have been rejected by ODM. There are about 10 ODM parliamentary aspirants for Awori's Funyula constituency.
Similarly, KADDU’s Cyrus Jirongo claims he has ‘withdrawn’ his support for ODM although it remains difficult to see where that purported support was in the first place. Both Jirongo and Awori overtures were rejected because these two individuals are joining the train when it is nearing the destination and at the same time demanding to ride on the train without paying any fares, ie ODM does not allow corporate membership.
On the other hand, Gema leaders in PNU are Uhuru Kenyatta and George Saitoti. Both of these gentlemen habour presidential ambitions but they currently have been reduced to cheerleaders for the Kibaki Tena camp. Because they share ethnic origins with two of Kenya’s past three presidents, it is unlikely the electorate will want to vote them in when Kibaki presidency comes to an end. Saitoti has always been found with his pants down before general elections. He has a disadvantage of also representing an non-Gema area in parliament and he is also facing an acid test at the hands of one Moses Ole Sakuda who is indigenous Maasai in Kajiado North.
Therefore, with most of Kibaki’s non-GEMA lieutenants already tipped to be diefeated at constituency level, the president is now staring at a near replica of the referendum voting patterns and a defeat of the presidential vote. To make matters worse, a referendum for a new constitution will follow shortly after the general election and it will find the voters still in the mood to ‘teach the Kibaki camp a lesson’.