2022 politics: Factors that will determine Kenya polls winner

Monday August 7 2017

William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta's

William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta's running mate, and Raila Odinga's Kalonzo Musyoka (right). PHOTOS | NMG 

By PETER MUNAITA
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Kenyans go to the polls on Tuesday, August 8, to choose their next crop of leaders for various elective posts.

The presidential election is billed as one of the most tightly contested in the country’s electoral history, with the most recent opinion polls showing a 1-3 percentage gap between the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party and Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance.

While the cost of living, unemployment, corruption, security and free public services are key issues having an impact on the lives of Kenyans, the ultimate winner will be determined by a motley of factors. The EastAfrican's Peter Munaita lists the top ten.

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4. 2022 POLITICS

It is curious that all opposition leaders have been saying in political rallies that they have no problem with President Kenyatta but his deputy William Ruto.

This could be easily explained by perceptions on Mr Ruto’s integrity and abrasive style of politics.

Away from Mr Ruto’s personality, he is already declared as Jubilee’s candidate for the presidency in 2022 if President Kenyatta wins a second term in office. The man within a heartbeat of the presidency is also the man to beat.

Mr Musyoka is another who would be assured of a second bid for State House (he ran in 2007) but the coalition agreement Nasa principals signed opens the door for others to run for office.

Asked after the agreement was signed whether he would be a one term president, Mr Odinga said the Nasa agreement filed with the registrar of political parties only covered five years which practically end before the 2022 elections. Besides the Nasa principals, governors Alfred Mutua, Hassan Joho and Peter Munya and senator Gideon Moi have declared interest in the 2022 race.

A host of other politicians including Peter Kenneth, Mwangi Kiunjuri, William Kabogo and Kithure Kindiki have been mentioned in the 2022 frame.

Proxy contests have emerged for other seats pitting surrogates of the 2022 hopefuls and are partly behind the huge number of independent candidates running for governorship and legislative positions.

Mr Kenneth and Mr Kabogo (Kiambu) have publicly said they lost out in the Jubilee primaries at the behest of Mr Ruto because he feared they would complicate his chances of succeeding President Kenyatta in 2022.

Anticipated political rivalries influencing present politics is not unusual in Kenya and have been used to derail careers of politicians — Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in the 1960s and former presidents Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki in the mid-1970s and late-1980s, respectively — with contrasting degrees of success.

This factor has seen Mr Ruto and Mr Musyoka work overtime to cultivate following outside the strongholds of the presidential candidates they back.

The nearest parallel of politicians other than the president working so hard in a campaign was in 2002 when Mr Odinga led Narc luminaries to campaign for then indisposed contender Mwai Kibaki.

The Ipsos opinion poll shows that 63 per cent of respondents had at least some confidence in Mr Musyoka against 56 per cent who felt the same about Mr Ruto.

The poll also showed significant shifts in Coast, Eastern, Nairobi, Rift Valley and Western compared with the 2013 voting trend, which together with localised proxy wars, could sway the contest.

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