Analysts: Blunders that sunk Raila's fifth stab at presidency

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s presidential bid was sunk thanks to multiple blunders ahead of the August 9 election, his critics, analysts, and opinion leaders aver.
Even as he rejected the outcome of the election, they believe Raila’s association with President Uhuru Kenyatta might have cost him the State House job owing to the blunders by Uhuru’s administration in the last 10 years.
The International Centre for Peace and Conflict Ndung’u Wainaina told The Nairobian the Mt Kenya region heavily voted against the former premier because of his association with Uhuru.
Wainaina said many believe that a vote against Raila was a vote against Uhuru because of the failings associated with his government. 
“Uhuru had lost touch with the voters and didn’t understand the problems they were facing. Uhuru assumed that he could dictate to people what to do or how they should lead themselves.
“These (Mount Kenya) are people who want to lead themselves,” he said.
This was the fifth time the ODM leader, 77, lost the presidency, leaving many of his followers disappointed. IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati announced Deputy President Ruto winner of the elections with 7,176,141 votes against Raila’s 6,942,930 votes.
Narok County Senator Ledama Ole Kina, however, insisted that Raila won the polls, and they would not allow both Chebukati and Ruto to get away with it.
“Chebukati announced the results, which were not verified by other commissioners,” Ledama said.
Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris echoed Ledama’s statement, adding that the polls were not free, fair, and credible.
“Chebukati allowed UDA to steal and manipulate these elections. Chebukati is arrogant and thinks he is god,” Passaris said.
“We don’t need to have agents there; it’s the job of the IEBC to ensure free, fair, and credible elections.”
But political analyst Javas Bigambo said Raila failed to effectively plan for the polls.
“First, there was poor messaging, which failed to give people trust in him. Second, there were no agents or structures in place to protect Raila’s votes during tallying,” Bigambo said.
He adds that Raila failed to understand the changing political landscape so that he could plan properly and ensure good messaging to reach out to specific audiences.
“Where this year’s polls should have been about the economy, Raila and his group invested in attacking Ruto. He also failed to invest in agents to guard his polls,” Bigambo said.
The groups say that Raila went into the elections with critical assumptions that the support of Uhuru, his running mate Martha Karua, and a few people from the mountain would help him.
“There was a disconnect between the candidate’s supporters and voters. They failed in messaging and appealing to a good number of the masses,” Bigambo said.
Wainaina said a good number of people had realised that they had been slaves under a few families in the country for decades and believed that they would get the freedom they wanted if they voted for Ruto.
“Ruto is a holding ground as people reorganise to get their rightful leaders,” he said.
The activist added that voters used the August 9 polls to protest against Uhuru’s failed promises, corruption, and misappropriation of funds in the government.
“Uhuru has destroyed people’s livelihoods. He has also destroyed their homes and careers, and as a result, people could not trust him or his project Raila,” Wainaina said.
Bigambo echoed Wainaina’s sentiments, adding this hurt Raila’s popularity since many assumed that Uhuru would control the next government, leading to more suffering.
“Uhuru never mentioned the Big Four when campaigning for Raila. He never talked about his achievements but kept calling Ruto a thief,” Bigambo said.
He added that voting patterns showed that the electorate rebelled against both Uhuru and Raila, his perceived project as depicted by the Ruto camp.
“Mt Kenya rebelled against two people who are Raila and Uhuru.
“They rebelled against Raila because of the old age stereotypes that will require generations to be whitewashed,” Bigambo said.
“They rebelled against Uhuru because of the failed promises, intimidation, and a poor approach to people.”
Wainaina said that Uhuru’s endorsement of Raila made people feel that the outgoing president wanted to hold on to the country longer, hence dictating the future.
“Uhuru said that he would show people the direction. It was wrong. He should have said that we will agree on the way forward,” Wainaina said.
“Uhuru failed to embrace a participatory approach and Mount Kenya, which was once his stronghold, felt belittled.”
“Uhuru kept on repeating in Sagana that he would give directions to Mt Kenya. The people felt that it was not a participatory approach and that they should decide how they should vote by themselves.”
He added that Kenyans have realised that the people they have supported to lead them are now exploiting them.
Bigambo added that Raila’s manifesto was not easily understood by Kenyans as it failed to explain how it would be implemented.
“The KK manifesto was detailed while Raila’s manifesto was poorly made,”  he said.
A spot check by The Nairobian established a low turnout in Raila’s strongholds as compared to Ruto’s. For instance, Turkana enjoyed the highest voter turnout at 79 per cent while Mombasa had the lowest turnout of 43 per cent.
The second highest was West Pokot at 79 per cent, while another Raila’s stronghold, Kilifi, had a 49 per cent voter turnout.
Kwale (54), Mombasa (43) and Kilifi (49) perceived Raila’s strongholds also performed poorly while Ruto’s Kericho (78.56) Elgeyo Marakwet (77.96) and Baringo (77.59) remained on top.