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No one-party-takes-all voting pattern next year, analysts project

POLITICS
By Biketi Kikechi | November 9th 2021

Big parties will be in for a big surprise next year if they don't change their approach to politics, with analysts saying their preferred six-piece voting belongs to the past.

Other challenges facing them include the choice of their running mates, which could lead to major fallouts and very costly defections to smaller parties.

“There will be many independent candidates and those running on the so-called small parties who will win seats in 2022 because the political realities have changed,” says Prof Amukoa Anangwe.

Analysts also argue that the Kenyan electorate will not vote blindly in a six-piece bandwagon that presidential candidates used in past elections because they are now more informed.

Big parties have in the past asked voters to blindly vote for president, governor, senator, MP, woman rep and MCA or the so-called six-piece from the same outfit.

“The six-piece voting will not be there, especially in the Mt Kenya region, Luo Nyanza and indeed other places around the country where many small parties are mushrooming,” says analyst Martin Andati.

The season when party leaders use their outfits as cash cows by demanding for money before handing out nomination tickets to preferred candidates is fast approaching.

Recent trends have however shown that they usually pick people who may not be necessarily popular with the electorate.

“The electorate now is much wiser as you may have seen in the by-election because they have been electing people from very small parties and that is happening across the country,” says Andati.

He argues that rampant rigging of nominations in the past dealt a death knell to the six-piece voting because the so-called political kingpins had their preferred candidates.

A number of recent by-elections have also gone against parties fronted by big names like President Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee), Deputy President William Ruto (UDA) and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper).

In the Juja and Kiambaa by-elections, the president’s party lost to a candidate from a party that was at the time fronted by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.

People’s Empowerment Party candidate George Koimburi floored Jubilee’s Susan Njeri while in Kiambaa, UDA man Njuguna Wanjiku won against Jubilee’s Kariri Njama.

The latest example was the by-election in Nguu Masimba Ward, Makueni County, where an independent candidate supported by Governor Kivutha Kibwana won against those sponsored by Kalonzo and Ruto.

That happened despite Kalonzo leading a high-profile One Kenya Alliance (OKA) campaign for Wiper Democratic Movement candidate Eshio Mwaiwa, who emerged a distant third.

No much influence

“We have won in other regions like Kabuchai and Machakos, so give it to the Wiper candidate because we have come here to stand with Kalonzo to confirm to you that we are the next government,” said Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula during the campaign.

That did not excite the voters who left their local Ukambani kingpin with an egg on his face, his candidate having also been beaten by the UDA candidate who came second.

Prof Gitile Naituli of Multimedia University says the country has moved forward and the so-called kingpins do not have much influence now.

“They have been responsible for suppressing democracy in the country and young politicians will not want to see their dreams killed by powerful people who survive by suppressing new leadership,” says Naituli.

He also attributes the change of voting patterns to information asymmetry where Kenyans are now more informed than they were in past elections.

He says young voters can now make better choices because they have better understanding of the persons involved in local politics and information is also freely available.

Prof Naituli sees the likes of Democratic Party (DP) fronted by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Martha Karua’s Narc Kenya, Mwangi Kiunjuri’s The Service Party and Moses Kuria’s Chama Cha Kazi (CCK), among others, winning seats in the Mt Kenya region.

It appears the region will not be fielding a presidential candidate, but Karua has warned against demands by some party leaders that they all join one party.

Karua and Kuria have openly defied demands by Ruto and his allies that they all work within the UDA framework.

Prof Anangwe describes the Mt Kenya voting pattern as “unpredictable” because leaders and voters are not guided by euphoric support for any politician.

Andati also points out that it will not be business as usual for Raila and his ODM party in Luo Nyanza and other parts of the region like the larger Gusii area.

An example is Ugenya MP David Ochieng, who has become a thorn in the flesh of ODM by going against the grain to run on his own party.

He has told ODM leaders that his Movement for Growth and Democracy (MDG) will sponsor Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo for the Siaya governor’s seat.

“Gumbo will compete against an ODM candidate in Siaya County. We will also have candidates for other seats,” Ochieng told mourners at a funeral last week.

In June, Migori Governor Okoth Obado declared his interest to run for president on his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ticket.

At the Coast, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi has registered his Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), saying he intends to register all 1.8 million voters in the region to be members.

His decision caused consternation in big political parties like ODM, whose leader Raila advised the region to instead join a national party. The situation is no different in Western region.

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