By STEPHEN MAKABILA
What are chances of one of the 14 presidential aspirants sealing victory in the first round of the presidential contest come the March election?
While its highly speculated Prime Minister Raila Odinga was keen to see all G7 leaders on the presidential ballot (including Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto, who are facing charges at The Hague), to fragment their votes, they have argued they are privy to the scheme and will ensure one of them secures the presidency in round one.
Another likely entry into the G7 circuit, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, has also indicated he has the ability to win the presidency in the first round.
Mudavadi noted last week while in Malava, Kakamega County, that his United Democratic Forum wants to win the elections in the first round and locals should avoid to fall prey to scheme by opponents who want to divide the region’s votes to force a re-run.
“In UDF, we want to win in the first round but others want extra time and that is why they want to divide us. We should not fall into their scheme. Let us vote as a bloc to defeat their opportunistic plans,” said Mudavadi.
For one to win the presidency in the first round under the new Constitution, he or she should manage more than 50 per cent of the votes cast, and equally get 25 per cent of votes in at least 24 counties.
Failure by a candidate to manage the above gives room for a presidential re-run between the first and the runners-up.
“With most presidential candidates involved in ethnic mobilisation to win support, its tricky for one to win in the first round. One can win the popular vote but miss to secure more than half of the counties,” says political analyst lawyer Martin Oloo.
Centre for Multi-Party Democracy chairman Justin Muturi, however, notes it’s possible for one to win the presidency in the first round depending on the type of pre-election alliance he or she is in.
“If an alliance is strong and well represented in various regions, there is no reason why one cannot secure the presidency in round one,” added lawyer Muturi.
Among some the existing alliances include the G7 alliance, which apart from Ruto and Uhuru, also brings together Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa, Environment minister Chirau Mwakwere, Dujis MP Aden Duale and former assistant minister Omingo Magara.
Oloo, a lecturer at the Kenya School of Law, concurs with Muturi on the possibility of a first round win, but on the basis of unity within an alliance such as the G7.