Saturday, January 5, 2013



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
January 2, 2013

The shaky mergers and political alliances are over. Now we have Jubilee, CORD, Eagle and Pambazuka as the Wamalwa- Mudavadi alliance is still cooking. Never mind that Jubilee and Pambazuka alliances have had their rocky starts.

As Musalia was being ejected from the Jubilee alliance over his controversial stand on the presidential nomination process, Wamalwa chose to bolt out of Pambazuka of Cyrus Jirongo, Gideon Moi and Nicholas Biwott to join forces with his fellow Luhya to consolidate the Luhya vote.

For most of these alliances especially the major ones, the coast is already clear. Kenyans already know who the flag bearers and their running mates are. Now we know that Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, Peter Kenneth and possibly Musalia Mudavadi will be on the ballot as presidential candidates. We also know that former presidential wannabes- William Ruto, Kalonzo Musyoka, Raphael Tuju and Eugene Wamalwa will be ready to play second fiddle to their principals.

The other presidential wannabes still looking for a miracle to take them to state house come March 5 2013 are Madam Martha Karua and former PS Olekyiapi who have resisted the merger storm. How votes from their backyards will make them turn the tables on major mergers still remains to be seen.

But there is another group of former presidential wannabes that swallowed their pride to save their political careers. They include Madam Charity Ngilu and Moses Wetangula who will be nobody’s running mates. Instead they will run for senate posts in their counties with the possibility that their parties win the majority for them to be majority leaders. However, that possibility is still in the air as they have first to win those seats in their counties.

However, looking at the fractured political scene, there is a real possibility that there will be no party with a clear majority in parliament come next year.
Jubilee or CORD may take power with a slim majority that will be the subject of vicious attacks of smaller parties. And knowing how Kenyan politics is more personal than issues oriented, some of the aggrieved losers will be busy bringing down the winner than engaging in constructive debate.

The morning after March 4th will see two scenarios; there will be some real big names wailing and gnawing their teeth into political oblivion for at least the next five years. These are those who will have lost the presidency and their running mates. Unfortunately these wailers will be the majority. And as they leak their wounds, there will be claims of election rigging and foul play. Others will rush to court to demand election repeat irrespective of whether that the IEBC and all groups of observers will have given the process a clean bill of health.

Looked at another way, one wonders what political strategies Peter Kenneth, Martha Karua, Raphael Tuju and Ole Kiyiapi will have employed if indeed their intention was to build their political portfolios for subsequent elections. This is because in Kenya, it will be difficult to get media attention once you have lost and gone home. Former aspirants can testify to this.

A general assessment of the political landscape indicates there will be no major contests in Central and Nyanza regions. The winners in these regions are already known. The impact Raphael Tuju will have on Nyanza voters will be the same impact Martha Karua and Peter Kenneth will have on Central region.

In Eastern region, it would appear like the impact of Charity Ngilu is slowly being confined to Kitui County where she faces one of her toughest battles against another seasoned politician- David Musila for the Kitui senate seat. If Ngilu loses ground to Musila, the combined ODM –Wiper onslaught is likely to wipe NARC out of Ukambani politics. But like they say; it is never over until the fat lady does her gig. Ngilu may just pull a fast one even if it is only to save her political career.

As usual, Western province will be a free for all affair where every party will be clawing at one another to get the upper hand. However, the contest will be between Moses Wetangula of CORD with support cast from the CORD entire national team. At the opposite corner will be Wickliff Musalia Mudavadi and Eugene Wamalwa who are already facing stiff competition in their backyards.

Chances of CORD and Jubilee alliances splitting the votes in North Eastern the way  PNU and ODM did in 2007 are very high considering that the main political players in the current alliances are the same.

However, the real battle royale will be fought, won and lost in the Rift Valley. Here is where bitter rivals will either meet their waterloo or claim victory. Raila Odinga and his CORD team, especially the remaining Kalenjin political kingpins will want to prove that Ruto’s departure from ODM was of no consequence. Defeating Ruto in his backyard will be a devastating and demoralizing experience for a high flying politician like William. It will almost put his political career in the deep freezer for a number of years.

Ruto on the other hand with his Jubilee brigade will want to prove that he is still the master of his maskan and that he was the factor behind Raila Odinga’s sterling performance in that region  five years earlier.

Finally, when all is said and done; this contest will be between CORD and Jubilee alliances. The rest of the contenders will merely flower girls or at best escorts.

However, there is a catch. The two horses will either win or lose the elections at the primaries if they play dirty games with the electorate. Bungling the nomination process will hand them sure defeat.