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Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Political Party To Beat In Elections 2007

Here's a quick quiz for you.

Which is the party to beat in 2007?

My good friend Phil will say that the answer is obvious. It is ODM-Kenya.

Wrong!

There are those who see Narc-Kenya as the party to beat. What with all the resources of the provincial administration that reaches every little tiny village in the republic fully behind it. Surely this is the political party that will easily grab the vast majority of seats in parliament.

Wrong!

Both political parties are missing a vital ingredient for winning at anything and not just elections. Unity and in this case, party unity.

The party to beat in 2007, it is now clearly emerging, will be Kanu.

Yesterday party chairman and his bitter enemy since 2002, Nicholas Biwott held lengthy discussions (that were of course closed to the press) at a Nairobi hotel. For over 5 years the two politicians have hardly had a word to say to each other. The climax of this rivalry was the bitterly contested Kanu chairmanship at Kasarani where the older man left in a huff before the results were even announced.

Alas, all that is now water under the bridge. Script written and directed by Baba Gidi. All these guys already knew exactly what they were going to do (when Uhuru was practicing his passionate speech in secrecy in London, nay lecture on the difference between a coalition and a merger), it was clearly just a matter of time. I was amused about 2 weeks ago when Mr Biwott said that his condition for reuniting the splintered Kanu was that the party completely removes itself from ODM Kenya. The whole situation of ODM and Kanu is not very different from that of a woman who already knows that she is going to give in to you know what, but is just going through the motions of last minute resistance and pretences of doubts so that nobody says she is an easy lay.

I told you here that Kanu were out of ODM-Kenya, weeks ago. I also told you that Kalonzo Musyoka would be the presidential candidate that Kanu will back. It is still not clear whether he will stand for the presidency in a partner party or within Kanu. The reason why I say this is that the professor of politics puts a high premium on party unity and it is unlikely that Kanu will form a coalition (opps I meant Alliance. Lecturer Uhuru reminded us all that coalitions are formed ONLY AFTER elections) with any other major political party. In fact what other major political party is left to form an alliance with? Although you cannot rule out KANU swallowing a number of smaller political parties in some sort of unity pact.

I will also repeat what I have said here often. The fact that the void that separates ODM and Narc is too wide, meaning that a leap from one of the two parties to the other, though possible, will always be highly unlikely. Meaning that any smart political party that positions itself in the middle of the wide void will receive lots of strong disgruntled candidates from both sides of the divide. Kanu under the careful direction of Baba Gidi has done just that. And don't forget that the older Moi hardly has anything else to do these days but to play political chess.

There is one other huge advantage that Kanu has. The party has the three richest Kenyans most capable of financing a fully-fledged political campaign without breaking into a sweat. Namely Daniel Moi, Gideon Moi and Nick Biwott. Most Kenyans re not really interested in how these fortunes were amassed. They prefer to just gawk in admiration.

The saddest thing of all is that Kanu represents all that is wrong and has gone wrong in this country since independence and returning this evil party to power is a strong statement in support of retaining the status quo. What Kenyans will be saying is that basically nothing has changed in Kenya and nothing will ever change.

Putting ODM Kenya into power is hardly any better because that party is more Kanu than Kanu itself. The top political minds in the party that many argue is the most popular political party in Kenya today (although winning political contests is not just about being the crowd puller) are all from the old school and as was clearly displayed in their vision launches, none of that crowd is capable of thinking outside the box. They can hardly think of anything more than free secondary school education and generous tax reductions. And the saddest thing of all is that nobody wants to tax their minds to find a way to pay for it all. Guess what the result is; the over-burdened ordinary Kenyan is left holding the bills in one way or the other. Ordinary Kenyans have paid more dearly for free primary education than they will probably ever realize.

The stage is set for the new initiative, which Kumekucha supports passionately to step in and get our country back. I have been told that Bwana John Githongo is listening. Watch this space.

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3 comments:

derek said...

Chris, if we go back to our serious business, I have, like you argued that the aperture should not depart from the son of Jomo. By extension, Kanu and by a further extension Daniel Moi. One guy who will determine the destiny of the presidency.

Kanu will, Moi will and Uhuru Kenyatta’s position in whichever party he will be is going to have an impact. But for me and my democratic birthright, my party of Choice is NARC under Kibaki and the Party to beat is NARC. 2012, then will think of regime change.

Things have changed dramatically in recent times and the ride is rough for the ODM brigade. Honestly, what can you say when Kalonzo Musyoka draws closer to Kibaki a day after ODM supporters declared their own Tosha in Nakuru after an earlier one in Mombasa, Raila Odinga shifts the support in ODM to his side, and Bikini (I mean that total man from Keiyo) has decided that their shenanigans in Kanu have to be brought to an end for unity’s sake. This now achieves what we have always longed for, the split in ODM, like the Nile flows northwards, it should be with us anytime.

It was to some extent possible and all that was waited for was for Uhuru Kenyatta to walk out and this is in the offing. Raila has already sorted out Kalonzo and there is that part of ODM that is as good as gone. Soon, Kiema Kilonzo, Mutula Kilonzo and the Kalonzo brigade will be singing from a different song-sheet.

Given the Catholic voting pattern that Rift Valley has for the horse that they back, then Raila’s position in trooping the province to the polls will also be under check. Moi’s word is still taken with a lot of respect and his word goes in some sections in the province, where voter returns are accounted to the man.

This means that the same people, whose son said (I have no proof of this) that Raila is unelectable will now be back to the drawing boards. Their own son is at the moment out of the running in the ODM ranks and may be his remarks that tore through the political spectrum.

If it happens as it is developing at the moment, the Kibaki will rely on his political base and strength in Nairobi and Central Kenya with Eastern Province are providing the valuable support, and as usual, the Rift Valley giving its natural backing and the Coastals clinging to the ministerial posts to call shots and bargain for more. Not forgetting that the annual August presidential and cabinet pilgrimage to Mombasa is just weeks away, we have to wait and see what Kibaki will dole this time round.

Another thing Chris, and I raised my doubts weeks back was the John Githongo things and at least in this comment you have confirmed it. Githongo, will not for once plunge into politics at this particular time. He can, later, but not in the current scenario where he is approached with trepidation. Basically, the bloke is not cut for politics.

To me, changing my mind is like ‘preaching to the converted’ or ‘whipping a dead horse’.

The party to beat is NARC and Five more years of development, economic progress and Siasa ya Maendeleodr.

vikii said...

The political party to beat will be NARC. I said here last month that Mwai Kibaki will win the presidency on NARC and believe u me he will be supported by Musikari Kombo and Kaluki Ngilu.

I have read stuff here about George Saitoti supporting the DP but I dont think that can happen in real life. Saitoti has to back Kibaki in Narc so that the establishment can back him in 2012.

The reason I believe Kibaki will win probably with almost last time's margin is lack of significant opposition. This coupled with his performance as president will definitely endeer him to the voters. How is the current opposition unable to offer any significant challenge to Kibaki? Allow me to explain that below.

The one person who would have given Kibaki a spotless whitewash with his party machinery behind him is Kalonzo. However that is no longer the case and even if the party were to announce today that the official candidate is Kalonzo he would have problems dealing with the incumbent. That can be attributed to the negative competition witnessed in the party for the last few month where candidates often times forget that the ultimate is the election proper and that they will need the support of the internal opponents against the president in December. The differences between Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka (and their supporters) are irreconcilable.

The other candidate, and the one we all believe will win the ODM nomination, is Raila. People dont like admitting that this is a no-contest but surely is there a better word to describe such a contest? Yes the ODM (Read Raila) is enjoying some euphoric support among city youths who will never miss a political rally but my question is, should that get them into thinking that is the reflection of the mood in the country? How many rural women, who form the bulk of the kenyan voter, attend those rallies? My answer is that the thinking Voters outnumber the emotional/passionate ones and they have all along been missing in these rallies.

The reason i think Raila (even on the ticket of a united ODM and assuming only two candidates are running) is no match for Kibaki is all in the figures. Nairobi-Kibaki scores 60% and Raila 40%. Central--Kibaki scores 100% and Raila 0%. Western--Kibaki scores 40% and Raila 60%. Nyanza--Kibaki scores 10% and Raila 90%. North eastern is 50/50. Riftvalley --Kibaki scores 60% and Raila 40%. Coast Kibaki scores 40% and Raila 60%. Eastern--Kibaki 70% and Raila 30%. I have factored in kisii as Nyanza and Meru/Embu as Eastern. Now simple maths tells us that the overall average score for Kibaki in such a contest is 57%and Raila 43%.

The other candidates do not merit my mention.

Kanu. That party is as dead as a dodo and I am happy. Uhuru Kenyatta will undoubtedly eventually become president but that will not be through KANU. Those talking about moi, I am afraid he is overated. Moi will dictate where the kalenjin vote goes and his influence stops there. Kalonzo Musyoka has far much more viable options than KANU.

That takes us where we started. The party to beat is NARC under Mwai Kibaki.

Phil said...

KANU is the party to beat in 2007? Surely Chris, you can do better than that! Let us ask ourselves basic questions:

i) What would you rate Uhuru Kenyatta’s performance as leader of official opposition in parliament?

ii) What are his chances of being re-elected as MP on KANU ticket now that Kibaki has declared his intention to go for a 2nd term?

iii) Does Hon. Biwott add any value by rejoining mainstream KANU? And where does this leave Hon. W. Ruto and his allies?

iv) Don’t you think Raila knew what he was talking about when he said Uhuru was only of ‘sentimental value’ to ODM-K? Those were his utterances early 2006!

Chris, if you give yourself honest answers to these questions you will realise that KANU stands no chance whatsoever in 2007 – whichever coalition they choose to join. Infact, KANU does not enjoy any provincial support in Kenya apart from Rift Valley. Biwott has been supporting the GNU for the last 3 years and yet Kibaki overlooked him and his allies when making cabinet appointments. The same Kibaki has several of KANU MPs from Uhuru’s faction in his GNU yet Uhuru - as a pathetic leader of official opposition - was cohabiting with ODM-K. Does Kibaki know something we don’t or he is too scared to soil his GNU? Current Rift Valley MPs coalescing around William Ruto have been put on notice in their respective constituencies. They are insisting any ‘negotiations’ for Rift Valley votes comes through Ruto. What bullcrap! Raila is openly flirting with their rivals while Kalonzo is unsuccessfully trying very hard to conquer Rift Valley through the AIC church (Bishop Silas Yego) of which former President Moi is a senior and influential member.

Uhuru is himself serving his first term as an elected MP. His first term was as a nominated MP in the previous parliament where Mark Too was forced to resign from parliament to make room for his nomination. Before that he was beaten hands down in 1997 by little known Moses Mwihia who ran on a (can you believe this!?) SDP ticket although Kibaki was presidential candidate on DP ticket and the only presidential candidate from Central Province then. Does it remind you of Chania River? Uhuru’s chances of re-election are therefore extremely slim if you ask me.

You also imagine that Kalonzo will form a coalition with KANU and have Uhuru as his running mate. It is a possibility that is doomed to fail, but will affect the ODM-K more than NARC-K. And again, what value will Uhuru add to a Kalonzo coalition? And what numbers does Kalonzo himself actually have? Is Ukambani really in his pocket as some newspaper writers want us to believe? Just as former presidential candidates Ngilu, Raila, Wamalwa will tell you, having your tribe backing your presidential bid is NOT enough to bag you presidency. Kibaki himself tried it two times and failed. He only succeeded the 3rd time after the likes of Raila, Wamalwa and Ngilu, thankfully, supported his bid since everyone was in agreement not to let Moi to continue ruling Kenya by proxy.

Do you want to tell me Kenyans are that short of memory? Who would want KANU to come back to power so soon and even before the mess it created have yet to be rectified? Are you not under rating the intelligence of Kenyans?

On the other hand, I do not also agree that NARC-K has an upper hand either. The mere fact that DP is upstaging NARC-K in Central province, and ODM-K has white washed NARC-K in all other provinces makes it a non-starter in 2007. Kibaki knows he has a challenge to select a party ticket, form a pre-election pact with ‘like minded’ parties, then face ODM-K. He has to do all these without upsetting his present allies in tribal NARC-K, FORD-K, FORD-P, SHIRIKISHO, etc. He cannot ignore DP either! He has to balance it out, otherwise ODM is an attractive destination for defectors from other provinces outside Central province!

Either Kalonzo, Uhuru or Kibaki – they all represent a status quo. Only ODM-K offers that real hope for change. Therefore Chris, I am urging you and you readers to stay in ODM-K so you can be part of government next year and ultimately be recorded in history as agents of change in our beloved country.

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