How Mt Kenya numbers will tilt epic race for State House

State House, Nairobi, the early 1960s. [File, Standard]

The five counties in Central Kenya account for 3.1 million votes of the 22.1 million registered voters countrywide.

When the figures are added to counties in Upper Eastern Kenya (Meru, Embu and Tharaka Nithi), Rift Valley (Nakuru) and Laikipia - whose voting pattern mirrors those in Central Kenya, the number of votes jump to 5.8 million accounting for 26.1 per cent of the registered voters.

According to figures published in a gazette notice dated June 21 by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on the final voter register, Kiambu County leads with 1,275,008 registered voters, followed by Nakuru 1,054,856, Meru 772,139, and Murang'a 620,929.

The others are Nyeri 481,632, Kirinyaga 376,001, Nyandarua 361,165, Embu 334,302, Laikipia 263,012 and Tharaka Nithi 231,932.

The region has recorded an increase of 437,487 new voters from the earlier 5.3 million registered in 2017.

Out of the ten Mt Kenya counties with similar voting patterns, all fall in the bottom-ten counties recording an increase in voters with Nakuru (the leading county in the region) taking the bottom 13 position with only 11 per cent increase in voters.​ 

In 2017, Mt Kenya recorded an 83 per cent turnout when President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto battled it out against Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, something experts predict might dip even further.

President Uhuru Kenyatta. [PSCU]

This has seen front runners Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga and United Democratic Alliance candidate William Ruto turn the region into a battleground that will be critical in determining the fifth president.

To win support of the vote-rich Mt Kenya, Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga picked running mates from the region.

To solidify his support, the DP has made 36 visits to the region since January. Collectively, Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga have visited the region 51 times in the last six months between January 1 and June 12.

However, twists in the political arena such as President Kenyatta’s public endorsement of Odinga who nominated Martha Karua as the Azimio presidential running mate and an unrelenting push by Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya to have the Ameru vote go to Azimio, might be factors that will rock Ruto’s boat in the region.