Forget victory if you have not started preparing for 2027 polls

Ballot boxes outside Ruaraka constituency tallying centre on August 11, 2022. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

The great scientist Louis Pasteur once said, "Chance favours the prepared mind". Similarly, Pasteur’s contemporary, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, is credited with saying, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."

Considering Abraham Lincoln’s and Louis Pasteur’s wisdom, a Kenyan politician has five years to prepare for the next general elections. Thus, one should spend nearly four years preparing for a successful election.

Remember, the next Kenyan general elections will be held on Tuesday, August 10, 2027, unless the Constitution is adjusted to state otherwise. We have less than 38 months to the elections. How many have started? Do we know our next president? Have they come out?

Hey! Aren't Kenyans supposed to have some time off politics to concentrate on development? Yes, they should spend the four years preparing, not politicking and campaigning. By now, we should have an alternative government in mind. UDA already knows its presidential candidate, William Ruto, who will be defending his seat.

Therefore, whoever plans to unseat Dr Ruto should stick his legs out of the plane now for people to see. It is a strategy that Ruto himself used. After 2022, he stepped out of government while still inside and launched a soft offensive against his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, for the first three years.

That way, two years before the elections, when he went offensive full blast, Kenyans had an alternative government for 2022. This model works at all cadres - from MCA to the presidency. How many Kenyans have an alternative president, governor, Member of Parliament, Senator, etc.?

Isn't it too early? In politics, last-minute surprises are rare. The only thing that the aspiring candidate should avoid, as for now, is playing offensive politics - otherwise, the incumbents will have a reason to blame them for their dismal performance should they fail to deliver.

Delaying campaigning and politicking gives those in power time to slumber and become sluggards. Citizens will always know a slumbering leader and demand an alternative. However, they seek solace from the person seen as preparing.

Raila Odinga has used this strategy for decades. He goes missing and silent on politics until wananchi demand that he come out and speak. Experience has taught us that whenever he comes out, his words are sweet to the ears of his followers and sympathisers—his support at such moments defies the political divide.

At this time, all presidential aspirants for 2027 should have traversed the country to test the waters. Any person preparing for 2032 should have begun, assuming that Ruto will have his two terms. Only Ndindi Nyoro and Kalonzo Musyoka have done that.

We have also heard, in low tones, that Saitabao Ole Kanchory, Raila's chief agent in the 2022 presidential election, has already declared his interest in running for the 2027 presidency. The ODM is still fighting over succession.

Furthermore, any political party planning to have a candidate to face the incumbent president in 2027 should be putting their house in order.

Such preps include mobilising resources, engaging strategists, and branding their possible candidates for nominations. This is the best time to register political parties, consolidate them, and seek viable alliances. 

Note that a candidate who wants to oust President Ruto should not wait for the nomination; the candidate should be known in the party already - if not known, they should forget victory.

For other politicians, be it governors, senators, MPs, or MCAs, most Kenyans have already decided whom to retain and whom to remove - there is enough data for decision-making.

Finally, it is possible that circumstances have not favoured those already in power. However, there is enough time to recover any lost glory through strategy.

-Dr Ndonye is a senior lecturer, the Department of Mass Communication, at Kabarak University

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