Just after many of you will have read this post, Kenyans in their millions will troop to the ballot box for the most-eagerly awaited election in living memory. It will be an election like no other, an election that will be won, not by propaganda or illusions, but by amassing as many tribes as possible.
I have argued once and again on this blog that the best way to look at the 2007 General Elections will be the tribal linkages that will be won at the time the voters troop out to the ballot box.
Said bravely, there are many things that will be used by the Kenyan electorate to decide who wins the presidency and who will not. However, in the past one year, opinion polls have emerged to convince the electorate that certain leaders are up for it while others are not.
While ignoring a fact that it is a tribal vote, ODM supporters have over time dismissed the polls, embraced them, criticised others and at the time rubbished those that portrayed their leader Raila Odinga as losing or close to President Kibaki.
I do not fault the pollsters, but in the last one week, it has emerged that the pollsters, have been serving certain needs. Uhuru Kenyatta tore into the pollsters a day after Gallup International made their own findings. In fact, Gallup poll gave the best picture available at the particular moment – which the polls will be too close to call. The rest will be decided on the day of the election.
Now, to the election and the run-up that has witnessed some of the best electioneering Kenya has seen!
In the run-up to the ODM nominations, trouble that had been simmering over time, allegedly influenced by mistrust among the members who won the Referendum for them in 2005, came to the fore when the London ‘bonding’ trip aborted. To ODM, that was the start of their blurred vision to taking over the reins of the country from the incumbent. They went separate ways, and comically, Uhuru Kenyatta offered to support President Kibaki.
The withdrawal of Kanu president from the ODM fold simply made easy things hard and left William Ruto and Henry Kosgey as the only vocal men from the Kalenjin, (I insist on that) region of the Rift Valley. But within ODM itself, there was trouble and confusion in the way they held ‘endorsement’ campaigns around the country. It was comical and an abuse to common sense that five people vying for the same seat step onto the same podium and only proclaim that they are standing and tactfully organised to have Raila Odinga speak last.
When Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka offered a voice of dissent, what followed him was a ‘sacking’ allegedly by Raila Odinga who was determined to stop anybody critical to his ascension to power. Well, he was not even the party leader at that time. What followed was a threat by janitorial staff at the office of one of the top officials before Imanyara came to the rescue.
Raila, brave, strong with a near fanatical cult following from his Luo tribe is by no means a cheap stock to sell but many things have to be countered about his candidature.
He has on his side, people accused of grand corruption in the country, including the chairman Henry Kosgei. Kosgei and William Ruto talk about corruption, and the only reason they are free people, like Cyrus Jirongo, and Kamlesh Pattni, all gunning for elected posts, is at the mercy of former president Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki thereafter. It is a protection that that should value for years to come. Even Raila Odinga himself is not clean with the dodgy acquisition of the Kisumu Molasses plant.
If I am wrong in any way, someone please correct this. Raila Odinga could have used the Troon Report/Ouko Murder and even his words during the ODM break-up that Ruto is not clean, but he never said anything about corruption. Did he ever say anything about Robert Ouko? No. He was surrounded by the same people who were ‘allegedly’ linked to the disappearance and the death. Did he ever say anything about Nicholas Biwott and his ‘alleged’ involvement? No. Not even Moi’s government involvement.
Was Noah Arap Too near him? Yes. Franklin Bett was also in his camp and funny enough Sally Kosgey who was serving the government when it all happened was with his all the time. Then there is Charity Ngilu. Does it mean that she served the government all the five years only to realise at the last minute that she was serving the wrong government? No! It is all a joke.
And finally, the tribal groupings. Kibaki has to his side, Simeon Nyachae leading the Kisii front, Nicholas Biwott, Daniel Moi and his sons leading the Kalenjin front (and you would have heard the noise that comes from Raila and Ruto over that), and Kombo leading the Ford Kenya (a fact that has forced Kirwa to defect there) and obviously, the North Eastern front that is led by a few ministers serving in the current government.
As said before this is all about tribes and their friends! The Luo, Luhya and Ruto and Kosgei (western/Rift valley) vs. Kibaki, Nyachae, Mwaklwere and Kiraitu on the other end.
The choice is yours.