President Kibaki is on the campaign trail and once again he is in Western Kenya, actually for the second time in less than a month. So what is it about western province? Why does the president seem to emphasize so much on Western province in his re-election bid?.
Emerging evidence seems to suggest that some recent critical figures obtained from a very recent poll have been deliberately kept out of the public domain. Those figures, it is believed show for the first time, Raila Odinga neck to neck with president Kibaki. There are even those who claim that Raila Odinga is in fact slightly ahead. Kumekucha cannot verify this information for sure at this time. But what I can verify is that the president’s camp is a little anxious about their candidate’s estimated numbers just now.
Because of those numbers, President Kibaki’s handlers see western province as a key campaign area. They see it as the incumbents’ badly needed fourth province. It is already clear that Kibaki will have a strong showing in 3 provinces where he will easily garner over 45 per cent of the vote. Namely Central, Nairobi and Eastern. Although there are those who argue that Nairobi is cosmopolitan enough to give Kenya’s 3rd president a nasty surprise. Personally I don’t see that happening just yet.
The president’s main challenger, Raila Odinga is looking stronger by the day. Latest estimates show the son of Jaramogi easily capturing a minimum of 45 per cent of the votes in Rift valley, Western, Coast, Nairobi and North Eastern province although the latter with about 200,000 votes in the whole province is only useful in helping a candidate get the mandatory minimum of 25 per cent in 5 provinces required for a presidential candidate to be declared duly elected. Let us not talk about Nyanza for now because Luo Nyanza will vote for Raila almost to a man and the rest of Nyanza has “smelt blood” and seem to be positioning themselves as close as possible to what many see as the next centre of power.
Kumekucha with his long experience in politics can make no such declarations yet. The campaigns have not even begun; this is the wrong time to make predictions. However it is the time to raise serious issues and demand answers from the candidates as to how they plan to handle these pressing issues affecting Kenyans. We will no longer accept sweeping statements like somebody saying they will create 500,000 jobs a year. We want to know not only how they plan to do that, but how they have arrived at the figure of 500,000.
If I was in the president’s camp, I would be very worried now. Not only has the president’s campaign been affected by too many controversies that would have been avoided (like trying to pass a media bill in an election year), but their arithmetic (I am sure they are using old Maths while most of us learnt new maths) does not quite add up.
The assumption that the vast majority of Kikuyus will obediently vote Kibaki is a terrible miscalculation. I believe that close to 15 per cent in the house of Mumbi will vote against the president. 15% is significant enough to change everything.
Kibaki’s handlers further calculate that in addition to the massive Kikuyu vote, expected from Central province and Nairobi, the president requires a strong showing in only 2 other provinces to be home and dry. Eastern is already in the bag and they are now working very hard to gain Western.
Another error has been made in Western, where the president today was campaigning amongst the populous Bukusu (one of the largest sub-tribes of the Luhya community). The late VP, Michael Kijana Wamalwa was a Bukusu.
What the president’s handlers don’t seem to realize is that the Bukusu have consistently voted on the opposition side since 1992 and have refused to be moved. Murmuring on the ground that I am hearing seems to suggest that a large chunk of this radical Luhya community will stick to tradition and vote against the president. My late mother hailed from deep in Bukusu-land so I should know.
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