How Raila Odinga's camp helped Ruto to beat him in top seat contest

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga when he met leaders from the Mt Kenya region at his Karen home. [David Njaaga,Standard]

Today we must examine a few ways William Ruto stole Raila Odinga's votes in 2022. During the Battle of Waterloo on Sunday, June 18, 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte stopped his army from advancing against the Duke of Wellington, saying, "When the enemy is making a false movement, we must take good care not to interrupt him."

Although Napoleon lost the battle, the strategy is necessary for those who want to steal elections benevolently. Like all the elections we classify post-multiparty in Kenya, the 2022 elections were 'stolen'. Approximately 6.9 million Kenyans who voted for Raila believe the victory was stolen from him by Ruto. Since 1997, his supporters have made that their post-election anthem.

Political analysts know of Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas' book, 'How to Rig an Election'. The book's introduction acknowledges there are more elections in this age than before, yet electoral democracy is ever wincing.

There are two approaches to stealing an election: Malevolent and benevolent. Malevolent ways are ruthless and old-fashioned, to say the least. They include ballot stuffing, voter transportation, voter intimidation, voter and vote buying, voter impersonation, 'graveyard' balloting, destruction of opponents' ballots, and tampering with voter machines.

Most of these approaches require high-end coordination and leave much glaring evidence. Therefore, with sophisticated voting systems and electoral reforms necessitated by the 2010 constitution, one will have to invest much to rig the election this way.

It is on benevolence grounds that Ruto stole the 2022 presidential elections. He was supposed to give his enemies enough rope to hang themselves. However, the enemies had enough ropes that they had stored up from 2013 through 2017.

First, it was their blatantly misused, offensive political strategy. In political PR, the offensive strategy involves attacking the opponent's vulnerabilities while highlighting your strengths. This strategy requires prudence, not excitement. Handlers of Raila played emotive offensives instead of skilful approaches. They marketed Ruto in their rallies more than they did Raila, albeit negatively. The political offensive arch choirmaster Junet Mohamed choreographed a song with lines 'Ruto ni mwizi' and no line on 'Raila ni mwadilifu' before huge crowds. Therefore, after every rally, the crowd went home with more Ruto than Raila.

The second way Ruto stole the show was Azimio's political excitement and unwarranted intimidation of advisers of goodwill. It was straightforward for Azimio to brand an adviser, a person who has eaten from Sugoi, if they had an alternative position. Therefore, a lot of wisdom and sound advice was wasted.

The third way Ruto stole the elections was when the Azimio team counted their eggs before they hatched. Therefore, instead of investing in the finishing power, they majored in political pomp, immature celebrations and self-aggrandisement. They needed to understand the complexity of the system they were dealing with. So even when Ruto said severally ''Mimi nakaa kuimbiwa kura kweli?'', they paid no attention.

The fourth way Ruto stole the 2022 show was Azimio's self-deception based on past deception. As such, the Azimio members publicly said, 'now those who have been stealing our elections are on our side-Baba has been winning the presidency. This politically correct deception pacified voters. You may ask how.

On the eve of the August 9 poll, I got an invitation to be the keynote speaker in Azimio la Umoja Diaspora network. In my address, I said that voter turnout was the only way yo Raila's victory. I disappointed many, but that was the truth.

One speaker agreed with me, revealing that in Kisumu that evening, voters were saying 'Gini wasekao' (we have taken this thing), so there was little need for voting. Most said, "The system and deep state are on our side", whether we vote or not. With such thinking, I had 100 per cent confidence that Ruto had stolen Raila Odinga's votes.

Dr Ndonye is a senior lecturer in the School of Music and Media at Kabarak University