The president’s image in the past may not have had much of an impact on his administration, but now there is a new way in which Kenyans are viewing him that could spell disaster for his career. You can say that the chickens are coming home to roost. After years of not caring too much what people are thinking, this characteristic is about to self-destruct the president’s political career.
In two SMS polls carried over national TV last night, it became apparent that most Kenyans believe that the December polls are going to be rigged in favor of the President. The SMS polls could be wrong; especially the KTN one which showed that over 70% of the respondents believed that the poll is going to be rigged. However Kumekucha’s own poll shows that even some of the president’s staunchest supporters believe that the poll is going to be rigged in his favor.
In fact word on the ground is that most Narc Kenya candidates are now secretly planning how to manipulate the PNU joint nominations because they believe that once they get it, they will be able to sail through even in opposition strongholds because as the President is rigged in, so will they be.
Many of these politicians, blinded by the enormous salaries and perks of the last 5 years, are inspired by the Kanu era when for years nation was ruled by the most unpopular party in the country as the opposition doggedly refused to unite to remove it. Kanu politicians in those years were the masters of manipulation and rigging and some of their old tactics can still be used today. For instance returning officers can be instructed to announce that the loser has won. The inevitable petition opposing that election result can then be dealt with later. And even if the hearing of election petitions is going to be speeded up this time, there are many other ways of “skinning the cat.” A plum ambassadorial appointment or a hefty bribe to repay double what the petitioner has spent in their campaign inaweza kumaliza hio maneno.
But the major crisis here is that we are going into an election that most Kenyans believe is going to be flawed in favor of the incumbent. The immediate effect of this perception is to cause the President to be even more unpopular than he is at the moment.
Even more interesting is the fact that most political analysts are NOT surprised at this perception the public has of the president and his administration. There are too many “strange” things that have been going on and it is only natural that Kenyans should start to get very suspicious.
For example, many on checking on their voter status have suddenly found that there is a problem and yet they voted during the 2005 referendum without any snag. Suddenly some people are finding that they are double registered. Then there is the mess that is in the Langata voter’s register that we have insisted about here all along. On top of that there is the president’s insistence of appointing new ECK commissioners at this 11th hour. Not to mention the president’s new-found closeness to former President Moi, the professor of rigging and the master manipulator in the eyes of many Kenyans. Those who may have thought that the old man had lost his touch got a rude wake up call yesterday when Cyrus Jirongo announced that he had withdrawn his support and that of his Kaddu party from ODM.
The reality of all this is that we are faced with the very real prospect of a full blown crisis that could see the elections postponed. There is even the possibility of the opposition withdrawing from the contest altogether and the arrogant president’s men insisting on going ahead without them.
Let every Kenyan wake up to the possible dangers that menacingly lie ahead.