[h=1]Why Central region may not return a bloc vote in 2012[/h] Published on 20/08/2011 By MOSES NJAGIH As the Kibaki succession politics continues to play at national level, doubts are emerging on the possibility of his Central Kenyas backyard resorting to a bloc vote in the next General Election. The divergent political talk among the regions politicians, coupled with the fact the region appears unable to rally behind one candidate, is an indication the region might as well return a divided vote. With Uhuru Kenyatta, Martha Karua and Peter Kenneth all angling for the presidency, and with neither of them appearing likely to back-down on their ambitions, the Gema vote will most likely be divided, as the three enjoy huge support from the area. Another aspirant likely to scatter the bloc vote further is Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi. The one-term MPs declaration to contest has caused political concerns within Uhuru and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyokas camps, as the clergyman-turned-politician enjoys support in the two heavyweights strongholds for different reasons. With Uhuru appearing more as the frontrunner for the regions support compared to the other aspirants, the challenge is more on his shoulders to rally the bloc vote behind him and possibly inherit the big shoes to be left by Kibaki as the regions political kingpin. But questions are emerging on Uhurus ability to command the almost unchallenged following that Kibaki has enjoyed in the region, especially over the past two elections. It is noteworthy that Central Kenya has not always cast a block vote for one presidential candidate, except during the two terms that Kibaki has won the seat. During the first multiparty elections in 1992, the region returned equally a divided vote, a decision political analysts say denied the region, and by extension the opposition, a chance for the presidency against retired President Moi. With Kenneth Matiba and Kibaki then running on Ford Asili and Democratic Party tickets respectively, the bloc vote was split, easily granting Moi the seat. Matiba commanded the support of the Gema vote in the current day Muranga and Kiambu counties, while Kibaki took his native Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Nyandarua counties, that constitute Central Province. Divided vote Kibaki also secured the support of the majority votes from Embu and a section of Meru, while Matiba also clinched Kikuyu diaspora vote and Nairobi. The same trend could be emerging in the region and this may be disastrous to the candidature of the aspirants. It this fear of a Matiba-Kibaki divide that has advised key personalities in the region to root for joint primaries bringing together the aspirants from the region. Uhuru and Central Kenya MPs Forum Chairman Ephraim Maina are among the leaders from the region who have warned against heading to the ballot a divided house. Mr Maina, who is also the Mathira MP, recently led the area MPs in endorsing Uhuru as the Central Kenya political voice. He now says though there are many aspirants from the region, the most prominent of them will likely get the nod of the solid vote. Even when the region has backed Kibaki during the two elections that he has won, there have been other candidates from the region. It is not a unique thing for the region to produce more candidates, but I am certain at the ballot they will rally behind one person, says Maina. The Mathira MP downplays talk of a divided vote at the elections, saying with time, the most prominent aspirant will emerge and, like Kibaki, enjoy the fanatical support of Central Province, Meru and Embu. But Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi says that unlike in the past when the Meru community have voted alongside the Kikuyu, their point of departure is imminent in the next elections. Mr Linturi says there is a feeling among some people in Meru that voters in the region have largely been used during the elections but play second fiddle when it comes to sharing of the cake. Discontent He says although the Meru community has been granted a fair share of their entitlement for their support for Kibaki, it has not been distributed equally among the Meru sub-tribes. A good example is the ministerial flag that has been granted to the Meru community through Kiraitu Murungi, but which he has used to benefit his sub-tribe of the Imentis, ignoring those from Nyambene, says Linturi. The vocal MP says it is this discontentment among the Ameru that makes them want to consider returning a bloc vote. I see the possibility of a large group of the Merus voting alongside their Embu counterparts, who are more of their closest relatives than Kikuyus, he says. It could be this notion that has informed other aspirants from outside the region to capitalise on a possible fall out of the bloc vote. Many of those angling for presidency, including Musyoka, Raila Odinga and William Ruto have made frequent visits to the area in search of votes. Linturi says voters from Meru will welcome and listen to all aspirants before making a decision on the ideal candidate to support. Another risk of a fall out from the bloc vote is being posed by the Kikuyus from the diaspora.