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Forget the ICC, here are the real deal breakers in Kibaki succession race

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by Geza Ulole, Mar 4, 2012.

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    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    Mar 4, 2012
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    Forget the ICC, here are the real deal breakers in Kibaki succession race

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    Orange Democratic Party's deputy party leader Musalia Mudavadi, left, and party leader Raila Odinga.Pic: File

    The coming elections could result in a surprise for Kenya, and heartbreak for the two politicians - Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta - whom opinion polls have reported as the favourites in recent months.
    Raila, who is also leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has led nearly all opinion polls in the past three years, but his margin is narrowing. Kenyatta, who is Kanu leader and also a co-leader of the G7 Alliance with former Higher Education minister William Ruto, has seen his polling fortunes rise sharply after the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague confirmed charges of crimes against humanity against him and four others (including Ruto), over the 2007/8 post-election violence.
    What would otherwise have been a setback bolstered Kenyatta because in Central Kenya, for exactly the same charges that he organised the Mungiki militia to attack ODM supporters to avenge the killing of Kikuyus in the Rift Valley, the community has rallied behind him as the hero who stood up for his people when even the government could not protect them.
    The impending ICC trial could still damage Kenyatta and Ruto's presidential bids. The big question after the ICC Appeal Court ruled on Thursday that the cases should proceed to trial is whether Kenyans should take the risk of having their new president hauled off to The Hague immediately after his election.
    Should Kenyatta and Ruto decide to abandon their bids so that they can concentrate on their legal defence with an eye on 2017, this could result in a major political shake-up in the race. If that happened, there are scenarios that predict that Kenyatta and Ruto will have an even greater power to determine the next president from the sidelines.
    However, with a new Constitution and a totally new electoral system that has not been tested, all the present assumptions about the General Election could fall apart dramatically.
    However, the assumption of a Raila-Kenyatta-Ruto tier as the top candidates has not been adjusted for the fact that there is no incumbent running this year as President Mwai Kibaki is stepping down; but more importantly, a Raila or Kenyatta presidency has not been ordained by God-given or predestined by history.
    There might be surprises, and we have built 10 scenarios that might well come to be. Of course, in keeping with scenario building practice, we have included two predictable outcomes.
    Our scenarios were developed based on some basic ideas.
    That any successful presidential candidate in Africa must have what Daily Nation managing editor Mutuma Mathiu calls "sufficient tribal content." "Tribal content" does not necessarily mean that voters embrace the candidate because he/or she is from their ethnic community. The candidate can be from another ethnic community, but they feel that he will deliver on their core interest. In Uganda, for example, President Yoweri Museveni, although he comes from a group with individuals holding freehold land systems, supported the rights of people in parts of the country who hold land communally - to the horror of modernists.
    In general, then, a candidate has "sufficient tribal content" when he gets a base of people who are willing to vote for him blindly, and whose support he does not have to work hard for.
    That the "orphan factor" will play a key role in the next election. A group can feel orphaned politically if the exiting president was from either their ethnic group, religion, or party and they are not sure a candidate from another group or religion will not dismantle any gains they made, or ignore their interests.
    Then there is the "fear factor." This is where a group of voters fear that a bad experience they went through in recent times could happen to them again. For example, the people who were displaced or whose relatives were killed in the post-election violence might want to vote a candidate in power because he/she will protect them, even if they know they will make lousy presidents. Alternatively, they will vote a candidate they don't like hoping to appease him and his party or ethnic group, so that he doesn't attack them in his defeat - tactical voting at its most practical.
    The other one is a candidate's "vote export quotient," which assumes that if a leader were to become a presidential running mate, he can bring enough of his regional support to help carry the ticket. Or if a candidate endorsed someone (what is called "Tosha" politics in Kenya), how many of his supporters would vote for the candidate he has anointed?
    Then there is the "Playing for 2017 Calculation." Kenyatta and Ruto, for example, might decide not to allow their opponents an easy opportunity to use the ICC case against them in campaigns. They might choose to wait until they have got the case out of the way, and run on a clean sheet in 2017. They would seek a candidate whom, with their support, they can hand victory, but he/she is not stubborn enough to run again in 2017. This could hand a little fancied contestant the presidency.
    The other important ingredient is the "Young Money Bandwagon" with sufficient cross-over appeal that is not inhibited by identity politics. They are not conventional politicians, don't have too much respect for veteran political leaders or their own party leaders, tend to attract mostly young disillusioned voters in the poorer parts of Nairobi and other big towns, and have appeal across religious and ethnic lines. But mostly importantly, they seem to have bottomless pits of money whose source is quite difficult to pin down.
    Finally, but by no means least, there is the "Resurgent Silent Majorities." In Kenya, tribal arithmetic matters. However, many of the largest communities, like the Luhya, Kenya's second largest, have never leveraged their numbers to seek the presidency for one of their own. That is changing, and the Luhya, and now the Somali, are being assertive, either demanding that it's the turn of the other candidates to support a candidate from their area or that if they are to support anyone, they need a juicy prize - running mate (vice president) at the minimum.
    Scenario 1: The Tinga Coronation
    Prime Minister Raila Odinga (popularly known as Tinga and Agwambo), going by opinion polls and conventional wisdom, has the best shot at winning the presidency.
    If Raila, who has high "tribal content" runs with his party's deputy, Deputy Prime Minister and Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi (who is challenging him for the ODM ticket), he could win. But there would be two problems. First, he would fight hard to get the more than 50 per cent of the vote in 24 counties as required by the new Constitution, and he would have to try and close the deal in a run-off. That would be dangerous because his rivals, even if they don't unite in the first round, will most definitely gang up against him.
    Second, Mudavadi is from Western Kenya, next door to Raila's Nyanza. Such a government would come across as too parochial, and perhaps damage Raila's long-term quest to be seen as a true national leader.
    However, if NARC-Kenya leader Martha Karua, a strong and independent-minded politician who has also expressed interest in the presidency, were to be his running mate, then Raila could win easily in the first round. One reason is that other than Kenyatta, Karua is the only candidate who will be trusted to look after "Kikuyu" interests because she is strong, principled and can stand up to Raila - although she has rubbed the Central Kenya Establishment, including Kibaki, the wrong way. Many in Central Kenya might not like her, but they would never accuse her of being a "sell-out." After many members of the community were killed in the Rift Valley in the post-election violence, a siege and fear mentality took root among them. They remain distrustful of Raila because he was ODM leader and Kibaki's rival.
    Though Kenyatta has higher "tribal content" than Karua, he has dilly-dallied on the issue of resettling Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) because of his new alliance with Ruto, leaving Karua as the most outspoken champion of restitution for the displaced people. Among the IDPs, Karua probably eclipses Kenyatta.
    This scenario would assume that Mudavadi is being set up in his current bid to rival Raila for the ODM ticket. The aim would be for Raila to both defeat him, and leave him either too weakened to claim the running mate slot, or too angry to stay and he decamps - leaving Raila the freedom to cut a deal with Karua.
    If he can't do a deal with Karua, and Mudavadi is an uncomfortable choice, Raila could still be strong with another woman - Water Minister Charity Ngilu, as a running mate. Central Kenya will feel that with Ngilu, a distant cousin from Kambaland, they are safe.
    Scenario 2: The Mudavadi Kanu Blindside
    The Kenya African National Union (Kanu) party blindside would assume, as in Scenario 1, that Mudavadi is challenging Raila for the ODM presidential ticket knowing fully well he will lose - allowing him to claim the vote was rigged, and enable him to exit as a wronged man.
    His real aim would be to stand as Kanu presidential candidate. Kenyatta recently re-asserted himself as Kanu leader, despite threats by a faction led by Gideon Moi, political heir apparent of former president Daniel arap Moi - the unofficial but powerful party patron. Moi is said to still like Mudavadi, who was once his VP and whose mother is from the Rift Valley.
    This scenario assumes that Kenyatta will not run, and that his ultimate aim is to stand down, annoint Mudavadi and that the party's rank and file will accept it. It assumes that Ruto (like Raila and Kenyatta, a politician with high "tribal content") will also put his bid on hold to let the ICC case be resolved and support Mudavadi.
    In addition, Mudavadi would be seen as a safe one-term gap president for Kenyatta and Ruto.
    In turn, Ruto and the Moi clan, who have been vying for inter-Kalenjin supremacy in the Rift Valley, will bury their hatchets.
    Mudavadi would have to be clever about the choice of a running mate. If he got Karua to be his running, he could win because she has high "voter transfer quotient" and this choice would calm Central Kenya nerves about persecution and being thrown on the heap like orphans by a cruel step-parent. A Mudavadi-Karua ticket would be very hard to beat.
    Failing to get Karua, and with Kenyatta and Ruto support solidly behind him, Mudavadi could still give himself a good run by fishing for a running mate from northern Kenya or from the Coast, a Najib Balala, for example.
    Scenario 3: The Iron Lady Surprise
    NARC-Kenya party leader Martha Karua is a strong-willed, sometimes maverick, politician who is not intimidated by the old boy network establishment politics in Kenya.
    She is big on representing the interests of the poor, fighting impunity and standing up for the victims of the post-election violence. When she thought President Mwai Kibaki wasn't doing enough to deal with corruption and was treating her with disrespect, she threw the cushy Cabinet position he had appointed her to on his doorstep, and went to Parliament to make hell.
    She is also much loved by young independent women who think their time has come. But like Ngilu found out in 1997, and other female presidential aspirants in Africa will tell you, the continent is hell for a woman seeking State House.
    With Central Kenya worrying about whether Kenyatta has already become damaged goods from his ICC case, Karua can be sure that if he doesn't stand, Central will back her. She needs just one thing – Raila.
    This scenario supposes that Raila will value a place in history more than the presidency. The best way to guarantee that is for him to give up his presidential ambitions. Raila then would accept semi-early-retirement by being Karua's running mate. If that happens, it would be a waste of time and resources for anyone to run against Karua. Raila not only has high "tribal content," but also big "vote transfer quotient."
    Scenario 4: The Kalonzo Touchdown
    Though the G7 has been treating Vice President and Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) flag-bearer Kalonzo Musyoka shabbily, and there is a tendency by pundits and TV talking heads not to take him seriously, 2012 can profit underdog candidates like him if he is shrewd.
    Perhaps of all the so-described "main contenders," Kalonzo is the one who would most profit from a deft pick of running mate. Unfortunately, he has few choices.
    He has the possibility to shake things up with a few surprises. He can't pick a running mate from Central Kenya because that is too next door to be taken as diverse. He would do well though to pick a woman from a vote-rich region.
    An interesting one would be Agriculture minister Sally Kosgei from the Rift Valley, who once seemed uneasy in Raila's ODM, briefly shifted to Ruto's camp, and has since slid to the middle. Kosgei would bring an air of technocratic competence to the ticket and, at the very least, avoid a below par performance for Kalonzo.
    Problem is that both Kalonzo and Kosgei don't have sufficient "tribal content." In addition, Kosgei's "vote transfer quotient" is suspect.
    Kalonzo is still left with a few options. Imagine he gets Mudavadi (again) as running mate, and all of a sudden he will have his rivals worried.
    The happy circumstance for Kalonzo is that even if he loses, or chooses to stand as a running, it will place him in a strong place to run for 2017 or 2022.
    Scenario 5: The Agwambo Slideshow
    In Scenario 3, we imagined Raila taking a soft-landing as Karua's running mate.
    But Raila can do very well not running at all. When he does that, all the candidates will make a very long queue in Karen to get his "Tosha" blessing.
    This could prove as tricky for Raila as choosing a running mate for himself. He cannot afford to choose a candidate who loses.
    Therefore, he will have to endorse a complete ticket of a presidential candidate and a running mate.
    The one that he would imagine delivers is Karua with Mudavadi as running mate. It would, in all likelihood, be unbeatable.
    After his critical role in Kibaki's victory by declaring "Kibaki Tosha," he would have helped elect Kenya's first female president. He will die a grumpy, but admired and wealthy old man.
    Scenario 6: The 2017 Convergence
    This scenario has many politicians sitting out 2012 for tactical, and brand building reasons.
    As already noted in the "Mudavadi Kanu Blindside" scenario, Kenyatta and Ruto could decide not to allow their opponents an easy opportunity to use the ICC case against them in the campaigns. They might choose to wait until they have got the case out of the way and run on a clean sheet in 2017.
    They would seek a candidate whom, with their support, they can hand victory, but stands down for them in 2017. This could hand a little fancied aspirant the presidency.
    Because it is doubtful that Mudavadi will not turn out like Moi, who was seen as a filler president but ended up ruling for 24 years, the kingmakers will be open to looking at many people who are in the race.
    Party of Action leader Raphael Tuju would have his bid bolstered if kingmakers settled on him as a neutral candidate.
    Peter Kenneth, who is looking to build his profile for 2017, would also profit from this scenario.
    But Tuju and Kenneth have very little "tribal content," which is both a strength and weakness, and low "vote transfer quotient." They are the type of candidates who most benefit from the booster that comes with a "Tosha" endorsement.
    This is the kind of election where anything is possible. Only a mad man bets on an outcome.
    Scenario 7: The Golfer Nightmare
    It is likely that all the talk of G7 Alliance will come to nothing. That Kenyatta and Ruto will not, as indeed they have indicated, do the "play for 2017 thing" and sit out the next election.
    That none of the politicians -- Raila, Karua, Mudavadi, Kalonzo, Professor George Saitoti, Kenneth, Tuju and Prof James ole Kiyiapi - will accept to do a deal or be running mate, and they all go for the big prize.
    That will be the ultimate golfer nightmare, a game in which the biggest payday comes from playing alone - sometimes even against oneself. The best of friends in golf have no choice but to battle against each, and the glory that is worth dying for comes to one as an individual player.
    In this scenario, one would imagine Raila emerging winner in the first round of voting, but most definitely without the 50+ per cent needed to avoid a run-off. No, instead, Saitoti takes it and it heads to a second round. And rivals Raila, Kenyatta, Ruto forced to do something they are swearing over their dead bodies that they will not do, unite to defeat Saitoti. Stories like that come along only once in 100 years for journalists.
    Scenario 8: New Money Urban Bandwagon
    There is a restlessness and anger among young Kenyans, many of whom are unemployed. And in recent surveys, they have voted so heavily against the way the country is being run, nearly 70 per cent of them said they wish to emigrate.
    To thumb their noses at the establishment, they have used their numbers to elect unconventional and even unruly MPs. However, the MPs are scandalously rich, with money whose source is not clear to the public.
    These are MPs like Mike Sonko, William Kabogo and Ali Hassan Joho.
    Sonko, the most extreme example, wears earrings, jeans, basketball caps, bling, and is often often kicked out of Parliament because he is dressed "badly" like hip-hop musicians.
    This is a group to watch. They have a fanatical following that cuts across tribal lines.
    Therefore they have the "export quotient" - they can whip their supporters to vote for a chosen candidate. They are young princely kingmakers.
    They are likely to make a deal. "Give us a running mate, and we shall deliver the governorship to you." The governorship, that one is theirs. The candidate who picks a New Money Urban Bandwagon will have victory. The real election winner in 2012 is likely to be the Sonko-Kabogo-Joho axis.
    Scenario 9: Run for the Hills
    The worst thing that could happen to Kenya is a race that pits Raila, Kenyatta, and Ruto - and everyone else falls aside.
    Such a scenario is possible because the emotion will be so high, no one will pay attention to anyone else.
    This is especially if eventually it turns into a heated race between Kenyatta and Ruto, or Raila and Kenyatta.
    This will make the hatred and violence of 2008 look like a child's play. And a wise voter and Kenyan is the one who will just run for the tall grass and hills if he/she sees this coming.
    Scenario 10: The Regional Powers Squeeze
    After the pain the disruption of the 2008 caused to the countries' in the region, its election is no longer just its business. In addition and ironically, when Kenya sent its troops to Somalia, from that point how the country was run, and who governs it, became an international issue.
    As if that was not enough, Kenya signed a pipeline deal with landlocked South Sudan, which might yet go to war with [North] Sudan, and is building a railway linking to Ethiopia - both from Lamu.
    The Kenyan president ceased to be a local leader last year, and a custodian of critical regional interests. Whether Kenyans like it or not, from now onward, a politician whom the broader international community doesn't like or think highly of, will find it very hard to be president.
    This scenario knocks out people without strong foreign policy, internationalist, pan-East African and pan-African experience or inclination like Kenneth, Ruto, Kenyatta, Mudavadi, and narrows the field down to Raila, Kalonzo, Tuju, and Karua.
    But Kalonzo is not a firebrand leader, nor has he military/intelligence experience, like Uganda's Museveni, Rwanda's Paul Kagame, Tanzania's Jakaya Kikwete, Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza, Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi, or South Sudan's Salva Kiir.
    Raila, showed a military bent with his role in the failed 1982 coup and militant politics, and Karua, who as Water Minister helped rally the Nile Basin Countries against Egypt in renegotiating the treaty on the use of the waters of the Nile, is tough as nails and is a fighter.
    In this scenario, where regional and international powers play a role, then, only Raila and Karua have a prayer.
    *Additional reporting and research by Christine Mungai
    Forget the ICC, here are the real deal breakers in Kibaki succession race *- News*|theeastafrican.co.ke

    MY TAKE

    For God sake nothing of what the Presidential aspirants will do to Kenyans or their party policies but tribalism, tribalism and tribalism.....God should forbid these people! :shock::A S embarassed:
     
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