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Saturday, December 22, 2007

PNU Implausible Assumptions

Guest post By John Maina

Many have banked and presumed that the incumbent will get all the votes in the voters rich Gema region and that Raila chances of gaining any significant votes are miniature. The assumptions is that unlike past elections, this time around their will be an almost 90% turn out in this region and these votes are securely bagged by the incumbent translating into a walk over. Their has even been talks that the Gema region gives the incumbent unassailable edge against Raila as the electorate will turn up in their masses to solidify and protect the presidency leaving the region.

Albeit tribal and retrogressive to blow ones own horn over such a strategy, I believe it is a myth and may turn out to be the last straw that broke the camels back for the incumbent, as it is likely to backfire and disappoint. The failure of this strategy will eclipse all other stillborn PNU strategies such as the dishing out of districts, fake Muslim MOU, Raila’s unelectability, unconvincing economy growth etcetera.

Tellingly, there are some latent indicators that the above strategy is not working and is doomed to fail with only a few days to the election.

Firstly, the incumbent campaign and rallies in his stronghold i.e. Gema region have failed to attract big crowds yet you would expect his supporters to be out in masses to show their solidarity particularly with the threat of the presidency likely to leave their region. The crowds present in these rallies cannot be compared anywhere near to the mammoth rallies recently addressed by Raila in Kisumu and Homa bay his stronghold and some parts of the rift valley.

However, some may argue that Raila has applied similar strategy, which might also backfire on him. But this view is contradicted by his popularity in the region as the crowds in these rallies testify. Another fallacy argument is that crowds do not equate to votes or turnout but as the 2002 elections and referendum crowds indicated many are in for a shock. This has clearly been confirmed by both the genuine and sham opinion polls published in the past few months continuously highlighting Raila’s popularity. Arguments that idealness, noisemaking ‘domo’ and hooliganism in Raila’s stronghold lead to high turnout in rallies should be ignored for they are just myopic and tribal.

Secondly, Just like in the past, voter’s apathy within Gema region is still predominant. Despite high voters registration this does not collate into high turn out and is unlikely to be any different this time round. This is mainly due to voter’s disenfranchisement caused by arrogance and assumptions by those in power that majority of the electorate in the region have benefited from the so-called economical growth. Many may refuse to vote or vote for someone else as a protest.

Thirdly, some of the youths in this region who consist of a large number are also unlikely to vote for PNU and the incumbent as they are seen to represent old men, the status quo and the bourgeois of Kenyan society, which many abhor and blame for the socioeconomic plunder. Importantly, the youths do not cling onto the outdated and disempowering post colonial mentality of tribalism, tribal supremacy and allegiance

Fourthly, still afresh in the minds the electorates, is the brutal experience on the hands of Mungiki and state security war. Such experiences do not win votes but further alienate innocent people to the disadvantage of the incumbent.

Significantly, who has not witnessed the ongoing and embarrassing infighting amongst PNU affiliates and their members? The bickering has been played out in the presence of the incumbent and mainly in the Gema region. Such actions have resulted in disorganized and unpredictable campaigns and rallies. This is a put off to some voters, which may keep there away for fear of violence during the Election Day or even vote for somebody else.

Kalonzo’s factor and the recent slapping of a second individual by the incumbent wife further jolts the assumption that it will be a walk over for the incumbent in the Gema region. The former is seen as a compromise candidate and level headed. For those that cannot stand the incumbent or mention of Raila may cast their lot with Kalonzo.

It is also worth noting that intermarriages between the Gema community and others will also play a part in the former voting for another candidate rather than the incumbent.

Lastly, the fear of isolation from the rest of Kenya by some within Gema might persuade them to vote otherwise or not even go to vote. The referendum experience is still fresh in many people minds some who have seen little for supporting the incumbent during that period.
Thus, it is only fair to say that its unlikely that the expected high voters turn out in the Gema region will come to pass and if it does, it will not entirely be to the advantage of the incumbent over his main rival Raila. It is also true that the Gema vote is a lot more fluid this time round than ever.

The writer is a member of Kenya Capital Investment Group and can be reached at;


deroo said...

Kalenjins voted for Moi enmass in two consecutive elections and they were not balkanised. Sorry, it is politics and a game of numbers. Dirty at times, change of tactics (Raila Odinga said) and above all, mudslinging to reach certain points.

The apogee of an election is getting as many votes as you can and constricting your opponent's reach.

In 1992, Moi was against the entire Kiuyu, entire Luo and half the Luhya votes. He was elected president. So was the same in 1997.

There is no way that the Kikuyu will be isolated. You cannot and will never live with a tribe that is the biggest in the country isolated. The Hindu in India is an example and the Ibo/Yoruba in Nigeria offer an example.

Maina, please whether the Gema region votes for Kibaki or not, it will serve no purpose. Were the Luo isolated when they voted to the last man for Oginga Odinga in 1992. Odinga came running. 'Moi is a GIRAFFE'. IN 1997, were the Luo isolated, Raila went to the extent of selling his party and subsequelntly joining the Moi cabinet. Politics is about understanding.

Which tribal elections are you talking about? Tuju is Luo, Kombo is Bukusu, Wanjala in Manyala, Mwakwer and his ilk are Mijikendas, Mungatana is Pokomo, Abdi is Cushitic/Somali/Rendile (et al), Munyao is Kamba. Is it not representative. PLease stop creating imaginary feelings in the name of analysis.

Maina, the only way ODM was sure of winning comfortably was with Kalonzo Musyoka at the head. Kalonzo was a more neutral candidate than Raila. It is easy to puncture Raila's parachute. Agressive, tried a coup, 'stole' Kisumu MOlasses plant, signed an MOU with the Muslims, told Asians that he will scrap ETRs, said he will imprison Moi etc.

Kalonzo was the best candidate ODM did not have!!!

macs34 said...

You right i was in Muranga two weeks ago. we were having a talk with a few young men and what came out of it was a surprise to me! PNU is dishing out districts, but how many have been created in central Kenya alone! Lucy Kibaki is dishing out money in Coast and Western, how much has dished in Muranga? School fees is not there but where is the money for food? someone said he would rather pay the fees and eat at home not the reverse! I was astonished!

Anonymous said...

Why don't we just wait and see? The wishful thoughts disguised as "expert opinions" are frankly boring. And both ODM and PNU supporters are so fond of clothing their wishes into some form of op-ed. Msema kweli ni DEBE!

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

Its unlikely that I'll be saying anything politically sensible before the poll results are out. I've actually chosen to engage in non-issues in the final four days before the elections. Much like whenever I've been studying for a long awaited exam, I tend to chillax so I go in fresh-optimistic, confident but not quite counting my chicks before they hatch, but watching my egg(s) real hard.

But before we get liberated for the umpteenth time or before the kazi endeleas, watu, jienjoyini. From my heart, I'm wishing all and sundry salama safari to and back from home, a very merry Christmas and free and fair elections.


Olianda Maro said...

I dont see how you can call yourself an intelligent person with good unbiased analysis. I am an ODMer for life but even this cheap propaganda from PNU STINKS for debauchery, connery, thievery and bigotry.

We, in ODM, dont bank our hopes on the electorate, we are banking our hopes on the gods of Nyando River, the spirits of Lwanda Magere and such. It is about time, and time has a weird way of making itself, in the course, very very relevant.

This is a time of very much thinking and anxiety, we should be silent and wait for what the people will say, so.

motosana said...

The people of GEMA (leave out the A) are all gainfully employed. The last time I cheked, they all til their shambas daily, na wanaendelea na kazi. Dont have enough idlers to attend rallies at 90% rates. Grandpas, mas, children etc busy milking cows, cutting flowers and mishiri (french beans) for export and they even export fish from the lake too! Dont tell me these things dont grow in Nyanza or did they stop growing bcoz of Kibaki? We must suely blame somebody for our idling around? Eh..

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