Kenyan presidential election is slated for December this year. Following the complex landscape of Kenyan politics may be an arduous task, particularly for non-Kenyans. Fortunately, Kenyan bloggers are breaking it down for all of us daily, post by post.
A number of key political figures have expressed their intentions to run for presidency. The latest opinion polls released by Steadman International put President Mwai Kibaki ahead of the other presidential aspirants. However, the polls have been dismissed as fictitious by a government minister, Charity Ngilu and potrayed as a US government political ploy by a Kenyan blogger, Onyango Oloo:
The outfit's quarterly polls are expected to bolster the illusion that the incumbent at State House is very popular with the Kenyan electorate and that his return to a five year term is nothing but a foregone conclusion.
I am also convinced that Steadman’s MAIN employers are NOT the local Muthaiga and Runda based Mount Kenya fat cats around the Othaya MP, but rather more sinister forces working in cahoots and at the behest of the US government.
I say this even as some media outlets point a finger at one of Kibaki’s aides as a co-owner of the polling company-but more on that later…
Why on earth would the Americans want Kibaki back in office?
Well, because like Moi, he is the devil they know and his government seems to have no qualms whatsoever in doing the bidding for US geo-political interests not just in Kenya but in the eastern Africa, Horn, Indian Ocean and Middle-Eastern region.
With seven months to go before the election day, Majonzi has already decided not to vote for the President Kibaki. In “Why I will not vote for Kibaki“, Majonzi writes:
Later this year, the President will for one of the few times in his tenure as head of state consider the instruction of our constitution. He will dissolve parliament and call an election. In response, under the fierce December sun, Kenyans will go into a frenzied dance and infused with a sense of mission, political debate in the country will take on an even higher pitch as rival camps debate how best to steer this ‘great’ nation into the First World. The ritual and the circus surrounding it will be brought to a flourish in the marking of small pieces of paper in an arcane ritual that lends us an illusory sense of empowerment. Later still we will be treated to a flourish of a finish with the announcement of a winner, who if opinion polls are anything to go by, should be Emilio Mwai Kibaki.
The Main Players: ODM-Kenya and Narc-Kenya
The two major political forces expected to engage in a bitter contest for voters’ support are the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM-Kenya) and The National Rainbow Coalition-Kenya (Narc-Kenya), which emerged from the 2005 referendum of the proposed draft constitution. ODM-Kenya led a successful campaign to oppose the draft constitution.
Raila made it clear that the next election will be a race between two horses – Narc-Kenya and ODM-Kenya. That to me sounds like a truth, something too rare with our politicians. Its up to the two players to put the right cards on the table and pull all stunts to prove the deserve the chance to make the next term government. However, one of the horses has no head, rather, it has too many and all pulling in a different direction. They are all men of influence in their own capacity and this is even a hotter battle than the election. The decision they make will determine their chances. I have observed the aspirants and in my small way, I have my opinion but its up the Kenyan to decide on that.
A leading journalism lecturer in Kenya, Joe Kadhi, explains the reasons behind ODM-Kenya many heads:
When the idea of forming the Orange Democratic Party was first mooted soon after the referendum of 2005, political pundits knew that the Members of Parliament involved in the entire exercise were only building castles in the air. What had brought them together – the rejection of the so called Wako draft Constitution – could not possibly be maintained as a political entity. The political diversity among them was so wide and the people involved could not join hands as genuine political associates.
The apparent failure by ODM-Kenya to establish itself as a single political entity, as Joe Kadhi argues, is evidenced by the constant political internal bickerings and mistrust. These internal political bickering, have put ODM’s credibility in question:
I wonder what kind of PR move they will have to use to be able to win the citizens back considering the daily “fights” and mistrust among the presidential candidates. Last weeks statement by Musalia Mudavadi, a presidential candidate on ODM ticket that one of the people seeking presidency on party's ticket is a dictator does not help but complicate if the leaders of the party can be trusted.
Kenyan Pundit has little regard for ODM-Kenya:
I have little regard for the ODM. Maybe if we knew what they stood for beyond political power (not that there’s anything wrong with a quest for political power, after all why run for office…but you need at least some substance behind that quest for power) I could pay attention to them, but to me they generally represent a different face of the same rot that we have in government.
Taking Narc-K first, the party is an offshoot of the Narc coalition. It is formed of members of parliament from the Narc political party partners who have remained faithful to the Kibaki government and leadership…In the new political realignment in the government, Narc-K is the de facto ruling party while Narc is the de jure government.
Narc-Kenya is one of three parties that are claiming President Kibaki:
Narc, Narc-Kenya, and DP have one thing in common – They all claim Kibaki is on their side. The President hasnt declared his stand though, so we are left wondering or making suggestions.
Currently, Narc-Kenya is the main vehicle for President Kibaki’s re-election bid. Like its main challenger, Narc-Kenya has not managed to free itself from internal wranglings, which has become the dominant feature of party politics in Kenya:
It was a long day for the party as disagreements over who should constitute the interim management team dominated, forcing Vice-President Moody Awori to ask the National Governing Council to defer the nomination of national officials for two weeks.
At the heart of Narc-Kenya’s latest headache, which has been snowballing for months, is the chairman’s seat, which is being fought for by five heavyweights — all members of the Cabinet.
The ministers who had by yesterday each lined up supportive branches were Dr Mukhisa Kituyi (Trade), Prof George Saitoti (Education), Mr Kipruto arap Kirwa (Agriculture), Prof Kivutha Kibwana (Environment), and Mr Raphael Tuju (Foreign).
Mr Awori, who reportedly met President Kibaki for two hours before dashing to the meeting where several lists were being floated, said the postponement would allow the party to come up with the ‘face of Kenya’. Party to hold elections in June.
Fwamba, blogging at Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?, compares the choice between ODM-Kenya and Narc-Kenya with the choice between the wolf and the fox:
Malcolm X had no illusions in the so-called differences between the Democrats and Republicans. “One is the wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.” …This above analogy by Malcolm x seems to fit well in the current political situation in
Kenya. Everybody seems to be fighting corruption, give them power and you will see their true coloures.Show people true coloures of ODM-K and you will see them running towards NARC-K.
Several Kenya's leading politicians such as William Ruto, Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta, Kalonzo Musyoka and President Kibaki have expressed interest in vying for presidency. Raila Odinga launched his presidential vision last week.
N3 Speaksbets on the key figures:
Mwai Kibaki – 75
Raila Odinga – 62
Kalonzo Musyoka – 53
Uhuru Kenyatta – 46
I will bet my blog on this: Kenya’s next president will come from one of the above four politicians.
Kenya Only writes “Project Uhuru 2.0“:
Mr Uhuru, you are one of the strongest candidates, believe you are one and stop following the masses. You would have been just fine in Kanu, You would have recruited the youth, you would have built that party up from scratch and repair and fix it where it had been tarnished by Moi and your Dad, but again you failed. You have failed the youth, the same people who believed in you when they were calling you “project” we were calling you “Kamwana” we had seen the potential of new leadership.
For now, can we really take a chance and deploy Project Uhuru 2.0?
Uhuru Kenyatta is the son of the first president of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Kenya Only writes about Raila Odinga:
Knowing Raila, he will use the publicity he is getting now to really push Kalonzo out of the way. Seems like he (Raila) has mastered a way that he is always “fresh” when it comes to news and there is no single day that passes without him being on the paper, to me he is more of what Daniel Moi did to the country, always making sure we keep informed of his whereabouts or is it that the media like him more?
But that does not mean thats its end of Kalonzo, since the opinion polls have placed him as the man to beat Kibaki. Since both of them are power hungry lets wait and see what will turn out, Raila has been chasing the presidency for some time now and I do not see him coming close to letting Kalonzo get the nominations easily.
The referendum euphoria of 2005 is gone and Kibaki has proved that he is a working man, even returning from trips abroad with “goodies” for development.
In conclusion, President Kibaki has set FPE on track, thereby succeeding where his predecessors, the late President Kenyatta and retired President Moi had not succceeded. If Kibaki gets re-elected, he will have the task of turning free primary education into universal primary education, to meet one of the Millennium Development Goals, which Kenya is a signatory to.
It is on record that when ODM presidential hopeful Kalonzo Musyoka was launching his presidential bid, top on his list was the promise of free Secondary school education. So it would seem that the president's handlers have stolen the idea from Kalonzo.
This is the exact fear that this blogger had as we were preparing a major strategy for our preferred Presidential candidate. We have a number of brilliant and practical ideas on how the country can tackle her major problems. The huge obstacle in Africa is that everybody steals ideas and then pretends that it was their idea in the first place.
But whether the free secondary school education idea was stolen or not, the big question is, is it enough to see President Kibaki safely back in State House?
Youth For Kibaki is a blog in favor on President Kibaki:
Alongside the consensus conspiracy is talk that the party needs to pick the one best suited to easily beat President Kibaki in election later in the year…Kenyans are not simply looking to replace a regime and an individual as was the case in 2002. One of the tragedies of the presidency in Africa is that it has largely attracted low fliers and, sometimes, outright failures.
“It looks like it’s going to be Raila vs. Kibaki,” writes Kenyan Entrepreneur:
I’m not going to talk about the other presidential candidates because frankly, they have no chance of making it (and on that point, can somebody please beam Najib Balala back to earth? does he honestly believe he’ll be elected president?). Let’s just keep it real here: Kenyans will never vote for an Arab/Muslim.
Kenya Only calls on voters to support leaders who have Kenya at heart:
Kenya's politics has now become like a Championship game for the elite and only few members are allowed to play all of us have been made to be spectators with no option of ever joining the game apart from just cheer from sidelines. We need to stand up and VOTE for leaders who have Kenya at heart rather than those who are there just for monetary gain, seems thats the only reason 6 people will come up with a plan to make sure when one of them gets in the office then “ALL OF THEN CAN EAT”.
Kumekucha notes that voters are emotional animals with very little reasoning:
Voters are emotional animals who do very little reasoning. Just looking at most of the comments in this blog, seems to strongly support that thesis. What the means is that the big announcement has changed little on the ground in terms of voting patterns. Kenyans will still vote emotionally come December based on the candidate that they like. And no amount of reasoning will change their minds.
Siasa hopes that the Kenyan youth will not vote for money as they used to do during Moi‘s regime:
For the last 15 years, actually the last three general elections, the ruling government (KANU) used money to buy voters decision and during the last general elections, the youth decided that enough was enough, they wanted changes and thats what happened. A new government was brought to power.
With this in mind, this will be the first “money free” general elections since independence. I believe the youth will not vote for the money but for the development record and need to excel. For so many years we have voted for leaders who do appear only during elections and never to be seen again.
At the end of last year, Mental Acrobatics registered to vote for the first time:
Earlier this week I registered to vote in Kenya for the first time, 10 years since I became eligible to vote.
First the good: If you have the necessary documentation, that is a Kenyan Identification Card or a Kenyan Passport the process is relatively simple. You find a registration point, show your documents, sign a form, mark the voters card with your thumb print and voila you can make you voice heard through the ballot.
Many people who want to vote can not register because they have not been issued with National ID cards or passports. Despite applying with all the necessary paperwork and investing a lot of time and effort. Some people have been waiting for ID cards for five years. This can be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to leave some people disenfranchised.
Kenyans are talking, are you listening?