Your take seems very well informed and comprehensive. I could just be swayed into seeing it your way :-)
What seems really surprising is that Kenyans outside Central province and Gema may still want to give the House of Mumbi another ten years at statehouse - that to me is really baffling considering all the kikuyu-bashing that has happened under Kibaki's watch.
Surely, they can't hate Raila that much!
Indeed Raila's game plan and ultimate wish is to meet UK in the run-off so that he or most likely his lieutenants can go round the country posing one simple question to Kenyans: "Kwani, hakuna kina mama wengine inje ya Central Province ambao wanaweza kuzaa marais?"
I know I would craft that message if I was his Communications Director!
But now if you place Mudavadi against Raila - that game plan collapses like a ton of bricks. Thats why my predictions are that UK will be on the ballot as Mudavadi's running mate. While Ruto will be on the ballot as Raila's running mate.
With the benefit of hindsight and having analyzed a number of previous presidential elections my take is that it is way too early to determine what will happen.
Let me give you an example. In 2002 people were busy predicting various alliances. Finally predictions started flying about how NAK (Kibaki, Wamalwa and Ngilu) were not strong enough to beat Kanu. You know what happen at the 11th hour when the professor of politics declared the Kanu presidential candidate to be one Uhuru Kenyatta. Everything fell apart for Kanu. But even then the predictions continued about how there was no way the brand new Narc coalition would hold together and that it would go the same way the original FORD that united the entire opposition went in 1992.
Well this time round they were almost right and analysts like yours truly who know these politicians only too well are still baffled to this day how Simoen Nyachae was the only casualty and Narc remained intact, at least until the elections were over when the predictions of a break up swiftly came to pass and the consequences were so grave that the chain of events that followed culminated in the senseless loss of life that we saw in 2008.
Having warned as to how it is way too early to make any predictions let me be the first to go against my own rule of thumb and suggest that these elections will be like no other. My gut feeling is that all these alliances and pacts will finally come to naught and that the most unexpected thing will happen to give us the most unexpected result.
About Raila handlers spooking the electorate with the very idea of another Kikuyu at the helm for another 10 years, I don't think this strategy will work with all the big communities. For instance the Kamba will prefer a Kikuyu for 20 years to Raila. I know it's puzzling, I too am amazed because even my late father (a Kamba) could not hide his utter disgust at the fact that I voted Raila in 2007. The elite can reason and make all their smart arguments but on the ground candidate Uhuru is popular enough to beat Raila without too much sweat. Again I emphasize it is NOT the outcome I would favour but it is the reality on the ground. It seems that Jomo Kenyatta's propaganda against our Luo brothers was pretty effective and will take a lot to shake off. It will also demonstrate to those who love to analyze these things how powerful a protest vote is and the difference it makes when you change the scenario so that it is no longer a factor.