Presidential elections in Kenya are never decided on issues, nor are they decided on who is most suitable. They are not won by he or she who pulls the largest crowds either.
Three key factors decide the winner.
One, the winning candidate must have a certain threshold of loyal tribesmen who know the economic, rather than sentimental, value of the presidency.
Many of those who go for the sentimental value of the presidency are ready to kill for it but are never ready to sacrifice anything for it, or even just stand in the rain to vote. They are ever waiting to celebrate a victory they are never ready to invest anything of value in.
Two, a winning candidate must have serious power – economic, state and or people — big enough to overwhelm the opponent and his supporters into electoral submission.
Traversing the country showing off, lying to Kenyans about what they will get in your presidency, promising impossibilities and painting your opponent in the colours of the devil, or just wooing a suitable running mate, takes immense financial muscle.
The kind of money that ‘responds when called out’. Not money solicited from Indian businessmen and delivered in the dark.
It is the kind of wealth you only get if you, your father or your loyal and generous tribesmen led or stayed put patiently in successive governments.
Something you can never achieve by thinking that the ruling party and the government are one and the same thing; an opportunity you can never have if you keep thinking that those who lobby the government for whatever benefit are moles; a privilege you can never enjoy if your only political strategy is creating the ‘siege syndrome’ in your supporters and tribesmen by making them believe every government is the greatest enemy; a chance you can never get by waging war with every government of the day for every five-year presidential term; a dream that will remain just that if you hate those with money and see all of them as potential competitors.
The state and people’s power is necessary to protect whatever votes one has won as well as help one rig. Yes, rig. For rigging is accepted in all competitions.
Even God endorses it. We remember Jacob rigged out Esau for their father’s blessings and God never reversed it. David also rigged Uriah out of his wife Bathsheba and God still blessed this fraudulent mar- riage with the wisest king of all times — King Solomon.
So the ‘rigging cry’ should be condemned more than rigging itself.
The final, but also the most important winning factor is getting an opponent who is deficient in the above two so that every vote that your opponent fails to capture is your vote.
President Uhuru Keny- atta’s re-election is still intact despite allegations of serious corruption, nepotism, economic mismanagement and all the ills a president can commit.
Many opposition supporters wrongly believe that Uhuru’s fate in 2017 will be decided by his performance in this term. Once a candidate is favoured by any two of the three factors above, he is home and dry.
For in Kenya tribal consideration is the single biggest factor in deciding who to support and vote for.
Tribe has decided the fates of all presidential candidates in Kenya in the past — positively or negatively depending on how many of your tribesmen and their allies carry the voter’s card and are willing to endure whatever weather or other discomfort on the voting day.
All the major candidates whip up tribal support in their own style.
All Uhuru needs to do is to ensure the key position in the government are held by his kinsmen form them to see and appreciate the beauty of voting in your tribesman.
After all Uhuru is not tribal, the sweked appointments in key pisitions in government are just a re-elecion strategy.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga, on the other hand, ensures that his supporters do not distinguish between the government, the ruling party and the Kikuyu so as to easily achieve the siege syndrome.
In this way the candidates start the vote counting with votes equal to the number of their tribesmen willing to cast their votes, the rest are then contributed by ‘power’ and weakness of the opponent, for issues and a candidate’s ability to perform are never a factor to consider when voting in Kenya.
Uhuru’s position is further strengthened by Raila’s glaring dilemma in finding a suitable running mate in 2017 for Kalonzo can never dare be Raila’s ‘flower girl’ a second time.
To think that Kenyans will judge Uhuru by his performance is a day- dream only meant to make Raila’s supporters believe he has a chance.
In any case if Raila’s supporters have never seen Raila’s mistakes why would one think Uhuru’s supporters will ever see Uhuru’s? So with status quo maintained, Uhuru is back to State House.
Owidi is chair, the Luo Dialogue Intiative.