“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.” These are the words of Winston Churchill.
The political scene has been looking a bit more excited of late.
With the official presentation of nomination papers by IEBC to the candidates of the ruling elite coalitions of Jubilee and NASA on Monday May 28th, it is all systems go for the 19,462,360 voters.
This is the highest number of voters ever registered in the history of democracy in Kenya which underlines how high the stakes are this time round.
Reflecting back on the voting trends in Kenya, an emerging democracy, this election will be no different as voters will mainly coalesce around ethnicity more so for the five big tribes that have been represented in the ruling coalitions.
Take Jubilee for example that is a partnership between the populous Kikuyu and the boisterous Kalenjin nations.
NASA on the other hand is an amalgamation of the domineering Luo community, Akamba nation and the unassuming Luhya.
Others particularly Mijikenda from the coast, Ameru from Upper Eastern, Abagusii from South Nyanza and the Somali from North Eastern part of Kenya are just pawns in the game in this grudge match.
While it is not lost on the citizenry of Kenya that more crucial issues are at stake in this election, issues such as the increased cost of living, runaway graft, unemployment which is bordering on alarming levels and outrageous debt levels one has to acknowledge the import of Winston Churchill’s words that “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
NASA seems to have finally gotten their act together by choosing their presidential candidate and running mate in a ceremony that was marked with distinguished aplomb reminiscent of the NARC dream in 2002.
One would not begrudge them in their selection of Raila Odinga as their presidential candidate. In choosing Raila, they chose their best bet for the tenancy of the house on the hill.
No one has ever become president in Kenya on first attempt in the multi-party era, Raila journey to this elusive destination is well documented in the psyche of Kenyans.
In Joe Khamisi’s words, “In the history of Independent Kenya, no one individual has attracted the kind of magnetic admiration from Kenyans than Raila Amolo Odinga.
While Tom Mboya was intellectually intimidating and self-important and J. M Kariuki complaisant and populist, Raila conflates all the bad and good qualities of leadership: Charisma, and courage, but also over-bearance, intolerance, and tactlessness.
Raila can be humble and forgiving one moment, but moody and brusque another.” Admittedly so, hate him or love him over the last two decades Raila has been the fulcrum on which Kenya’s politics rotates around.
Among the principals in the NASA coalition, Mr. Odinga controls a solid voter base from four key areas in Kenya namely: Nyanza, Western, Coast and Nairobi.
His appeal was not achieved by chance but rather through a meticulous metamorphosis over the years that has projected him as a credible hope to this electorate. Little wonder he has depicted himself as the ‘Joshua’ in this election.
Truth be told, ever since NASA identified their presidential candidate and their team their campaign has indeed picked momentum and in all likelihood continue to fire from all cylinders in the coming months in spite of chiding from detractors.
Recent Ipsos opinion polls survey indicate that the Nasa coalition has gained momentum of 12 Percentage points and shows that 42 per cent of Kenyans would vote for NASA’s flag-bearer if elections were called today against President Kenyatta’s 47 per cent.
While this is a positive upward trajectory for NASA, Donald Trump and Uhuru Kenyatta have showed, opinion polls do not win elections but voter mobilization does.
While the unveil of Mr. Odinga as Nasa presidential candidate was met with cynicism from Jubilee’s strongholds with self-proclaimed declarations that August elections for Jubilee government was a given, make no mistake however Mr. Odinga is the man to watch in this election.
He has the name value, the political experience and the networks requisite of a credible presidential contender whom you cannot wish away. Not everyone will agree with that fulsome description of the man who has come to symbolize the country’s quest for democracy and reforms, but none can dispute the fact that Raila is an erudite individual; a great mass mobilizer.
With momentum picking up for NASA and picking up fast, Jubilee should be afraid, very afraid.
The electorate will not sit pretty to the false narrative advanced by the DP on the looming Jubilee’s victory with over 70+1%, more so in an ethnic political environment like Kenya.
Politics is a game of numbers and they probably have their team working over-drive to bolster their stagnant fortunes that has been hovering between 45-48 per cent.
Hypothetically, speaking August 8th elections won’t be decided by the big tribes who are deadbeat on their political inclinations. Eventually it will all come down to the swing vote consisting of small-tribes, the emerging urban educated middle class, Muslims who aspire to be allocated a seat on the high table to eat the national cake.
Above and beyond everything else, how each coalition frames their message to appeal to this demography will tilt the balances for their fortunes. Undeniably on August 8th Jubilee and NASA should have their game-face on
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