Within 60 days, we go to the repeat ballot. This time and for the first time we are having two presidential elections in the same year. Whereas many argue that there will be a lot of voter apathy, I opine differently. I believe Kenyans will vote to the last man for their man. This is because half the nation sees this as an opportunity to right a wrong. What the wrong is depends on which side of the political divide you come from.
To some the wrong is another rigging out of Raila Odinga Baba the 2nd. To others it is yet another unfair attack on his ‘Uthamakiness’ Uhuru. And this will be the fodder upon which the political machinery will run. It will be a bruising battle of us versus them. A blind and mad dash to take or keep our man on the house on the hill. Though in the Kenyan sense there are houses in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa so the houses on the hills is more like it.
This then makes it an election away from the strongholds. The battle in the strongholds is won by turn out. And this turn out in Central and the Kalenjin Rift gives the Jubilee party an edge against the Kamba, Luo stronghold.
Therefore any analyst worth his salt will have to look at the rest of Kenya to make a president. You have to look at the Luhya, the Kiisi and the Coast and Parts of North Eastern.
This makes this election about Raila and his co- principles; are they able to keep these perceived “strong holds” firmly within the fold at the 90 percent mark and above?
Kenya must be aware that incumbency and super numbers in parliament and senate give the jubilee alliance an edge. Unsitting a sitting regime is the toughest challenge to an opposition. As an example Jubilee has given various seats to the Luhya community. These include: senate speaker in the person of Ken Lusaka and the Whip of the National Assembly. Will the shift in numbers be to Jubilee’s advantage?
This is an obvious ploy to bring to the Jubilee fold the Luhya vote, if not all of it then a big part of it. This is occasioned by the very real reality that the Luhya vote is the most non-tribal and democratic of all the tribes. This is a good thing for Kenya, but a tactical minefield for NASA.
How do you keep the Luhya in the fold even when it obviously doesn’t recognize Wetangula and Mudavadi as absolute kingpins? Anything short of 90 percent majority for NASA in western is a sure sign of a Jubilee win.
Ladies and gents this is the reality.
Without any data to sufficiently rely on we can only look to history to give us direction. Part of that history is the epic falls of Kombo and most recently one Ababu Namwamba. I keep saying the Luhya have an ego that many fail to see. The Luhya love heroes, they adore those that stand against the status quo, the Abaluhya were in opposition throughout the Moi years. So stubborn are they that it is rumored Moi feared to visit Bungoma for the fear of not only the people, but also their traditional “medicine” , a tell tale sign that shows you tat the heart of this community, is the heart of a lion and a proud one.
Eugene Wamalwa’s failure to capture the community goes to show this very well. The Abaluhya have moved beyond tribesmanship and do not fear sending home; Lusaka, Ababu, and our dear Dr. Khalwale in one election.
Vihiga voted overwhelmingly for Raila and as such Jubilee will have to work harder here, and by work here I mean pull a miracle. Because apparently neither coalition knows how to capture the Luhya vote in whole. Which is a good thing for Kenya’s democracy but a total strategic nightmare for either of the two horses.
Jubilee now has 8 MPs in Kakamega and Bungoma and by extension 4 in the neighbouring Trans Nzoia which is associated with Western. These 8 MPs I am sure will have to be sent to the ground with Mr Lusaka to ensure Jubilee gains more ground. I foresee Jubilee camping here the same way we camped outside the gate of the loveliest lady in our teens hoping her harsh father would allow us to at least say hallo.
The above camping will work should NASA assume that Wetangula and Mudavadi automatically mean a certain Luhya vote. If NASA rests on its laurels, then a 30 percent vote to Jubilee means Canaan will be a pipe dream. Thus the theory stands, whoever gets the vote, to the last man, will win the day, it is 50 plus one or nothing. God help us all.
Mark Bichachi is a communication strategist. He has worked internationally on multiple campaigns advising on communication strategy.