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Why Presidential Election Will Be a Two Horse Race

 The election year is finally with us with only close to six months to the D- Day when Kenyans will vote on August 9th.One particular thing in this coming election, unlike in 2017 when President Uhuru Kenyatta was seeking re-election, this time he will be retiring after serving for two terms as mandated by the Constitution under article 142.

OKA Principal Kalonzo Musyoka addresses a political rally at a past campaign. By Mudavadi and Weta abandoning their formation, it was weakened, argues our political analyst Kitonga. Read on and comment. Photo/COURTESY

While in Mombasa, Uhuru promised to hit the ground and campaign for his preferred choice of successor who pundits and analyst say is Raila. At one time, Uhuru said his choice of successor will shock many. The statement can be interpreted that Deputy President Dr William Ruto wasn't his preferred choice. For Ruto, 2022 started ticking in his mind in 2013 when Uhuru promised to serve for ten years and support Ruto for another ten years but he (Uhuru) appears to have changed his mind on this agreement.

In 2017, the duo folded their parties and formed the Jubilee party which successfully retained power. The rain appeared to have started beating Ruto when key party officials were installed without his consultation, something which got him (Ruto) by surprise. What transpired was the purge of Ruto-allied legislators from Senate and National Assembly parliamentary leadership for exhibiting disloyalty to President Uhuru who is also the party leader, and going against the party stand.

Historically, a president retires with his party. We can borrow a leaf from KANU's 2002 and PNU in 2012. Most of the Jubilee politicians have left the party for newly formed UDA. Others are aligning themselves with other parties.

Two camps have emerged as front runners: Raila's Azimio and Ruto's Kenya Kwanza alliance. Political analysts agree that whoever forms the next government will be from either camp. Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula teamed up with Ruto during the ANC National Delegates Conference. The two were part of the NASA coalition in 2017 but accused Raila of betrayal after his Handshake pact with Uhuru.

Wetang’ula was the first casualty post 2017 election after being ejected out of The Senate Minority Leader and replaced by Siaya Senator James Orengo. Ruto and Raila are generals with troops and foot soldiers who can traverse the country to spearhead the campaigns in their absence. Raila has been out of the country for a couple of days and his lieutenants led by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Wycliffe Oparanya, Junet Mohammed, Gladys Wanga is leading the Azimio campaigns across the country.

Ruto too has loyalists ready to cross ocean for him like Rigathi Gachagua, Oscar Sudi, Mithika Linturi, Aden Duale and Ann Waiguru.

Running mate

The dilemma that faces the two will be choosing a running mate. All of them are likely to choose someone from the vote rich Mount Kenya region.

Ruto is Raila's student but sometimes a student can be smart than his teacher. Ruto once supported Raila in 2007 under the famous Pentagon coalition. He first came to the limelight in 1992 during the YK92 a youth group that campaigned for re-election of former President Daniel Moi. He was first elected MP in 1997 and since then he has won all elections he has contested. He will be tried and tested in this election.

There is a school of thought which opines that no Vice/Deputy President succeeded the outgoing President except Daniel Moi but as a result of death of Kenya’s founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta or someone elected president on his first attempt without being an opposition leader.

Kibaki lost both 1992 and 1997 presidential elections and elected in 2002 after teaming up with Raila, Ngilu, Kalonzo, Wamalwa to defeat Uhuru Kenyatta, a political greenhorn who had been fronted by Moi.

Uhuru lost the election and captured the seat in 2013.Will William Ruto break this deadlock? Only time will tell. Raila has contested the seat four times, thrice claiming his victory was stolen with one petition at Supreme Court being successful and will be trying his luck for the fifth time.

One Kenya Alliance cannot be wished away. It comprises of Kalonzo, Gedion Moi, Martha Karua and Cyrus Jirongo. The alliance which is a third force was disgruntled after Wetang’ula and Mudavadi pulled out to team up with Ruto.

Kalonzo is up for grabs and will be a determining factor. He has stalwart choices to make and finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He has claimed he will be the most stupid person to support Raila without any reciprocity. He has three options with him; to join Raila or Ruto or go for the presidency.

 If Kalonzo goes for the presidency the consequences will be cataclysmic, chances of him becoming the President are little. His votes will have an impact on 50%+1 vote which is a requirement for one to be declared President. Eventually, it will lead to a re-run between the dominant candidate and runners up.

The emergence of a third force in 2022 matrix will definitely force a run-off between the first two candidates who will probably be Raila and Ruto. Even those who can constitute a third force know that this race is for two horses; Ruto and Raila. Ruto commands a good portion of the Central Kenya votes together with a majority of the North Rift votes. If Mudavadi and Wetang’ula sticks with him until August, then he is likely to score nothing less than 45% of the total votes cast.

On the other hand, Raila commands a majority of the Nyanza votes, the Coast, North Easter and parts of the South Rift. He is also guaranteed at least 45% should parameters remain constant to the end. This therefore means OKA must join either camp and bring in at least 5% of the total votes cast to avoid a run-off. If they opt for creation of a third force, they will score less than 10% of the votes cast and that will translate to a run-off.

Kenyans are used to dividing themselves into two political camps whenever there is an election. Unlike 1992 when all aspirants had equal chance, all other elections have been two-horse races and either of the horse wins. This year's election will not be any disparate.


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