By Stan Oyunga (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The winner of any free and fair elections in most African countries depends on certain parameters such as Ethnic group block voting, political parties/coalitions and voter turn-out. The ruling party/coalition usually emerges the winner due to the influence of the incumbency but recent elections in Zambia, Malawi and Nigeria has shown that this is not always the case, when the election is deemed to be free and fair.
Since 2002, the two party/coalition system (two horse race) has been evident in Kenya and has worked well except for the disastrous 2007 Presidential Elections (when a “donkey” also took part in the race). There is a clear pattern in Ethnic block voting and coalition politics that has created coalition strongholds since no single ethnic group has the numbers to produce a winning Presidential candidate. Refer to my blog “Road to Elections 2017: Who will have the numbers in 2017?” found at www.kenyaelectiondatabase.co.ke
THE TWO HORSE RACE CONTINUES
The two main coalitions in Kenya, the Jubilee Alliance and the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD), control 18 and 19 counties respectively which can be considered their strongholds. 10 other counties are considered “Fifty/Fifty” where both coalitions are more or else equal.
There is no guarantee that both coalitions will hold together for the next two years but it is likely they will. The entry of the new Amani National Congress (A.N.C.) led by Musalia Mudavadi (formally of the United Democratic Front Party) is not expected to be a threat to CORD due to Mudavadi’s poor performance in 2013, when he finished 3rd with only 3.93% of the valid national vote. Mudavadi was in the Amani Coalition with KANU and New Ford Kenya (NFK) in the 2013 elections but KANU has shown little interest in joining any coalition by 2015.
While CORD intends to remain a pre-election coalition, the Jubilee Alliance Coalition has registered the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) in December, 2014 where all parties under the coalition are expected to dissolve and all candidates contest under JAP.
Another problem, is by forming JAP, it will make it impossible to have other parties outside the Kikuyu and Kalenjin ethnic groups join the Jubilee Coalition as they will first have to dissolve their parties. Moving from a pre-election Coalition to a single political party has no advantage for Uhuru Kenyatta as he seeks to be re-elected. In fact it may be very risky due to the nature of coalition politics in Kenya. He needs to attract other parties (ethnic groups) to his coalition as he depends mainly on his Kikuyu ethnic group and Ruto’s Kalenjin ethnic group (see my blog “Road to Elections 2017: Is Uhuru sitting on a two legged stool?” also found at www.kenyaelectiondatabase.co.ke ).
Uhuru may have no choice but to retain Jubilee as a pre-election coalition in order to attract parties like the Amani National Congress (ANC), New Ford Kenya (NFK), FORD-People in Kisii and the recently formed Maendeleo Chap Chap movement in Ukambani (Lower Eastern Region) that may be transformed into a political party to challenge the Wiper Democratic Movement-Kenya (WDM-K).
The section 10 of the Political Parties Act require Coalitions to deposit their Coalition agreements 3 months prior to a General Election or 21 days after signing such an agreement after a General Election. There is simply no time to dissolve Political Parties in the Jubilee Alliance by 8th May, 2017 in order to comply with the above section. CORD already has 1.3 million more potential voters in its strongholds then Jubilee and does not plan to combine into a single party.
Thus the two horse race will continue in 2017 even if there is a donkey (Amani Coalition?), but there may be fallout or disagreement between coalition partners and one or two may shift to another coalition. I have presented 8 possible scenarios of pre-election coalitions and their respective estimated voters:-
SCENARIO 1: CORD vs JUBILEE
This is the most likely scenario in 2017. The “Big Five” main ethnic groups comprising the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kalenjin, Luo and Kamba make up 64 % of Kenya’s citizen population hence can influence the results of any Presidential elections. Out of these “Big Five”, the Kikuyu (8.2 million population projection in 2017) and Kalenjin (6.2 million) support the Jubilee Alliance while the Luhya (6.6 million), Luo (5 million) and Kamba (4.8 million) support the CORD coalition. The next 6 ethnic groups in ranking account for 26 % of the Kenya citizen population: Kenya Somali (2.9 million), Kisii (2.7 million), Mijikenda (2.4 million), Meru (2 million), Turkana (1.2 million) and Maasai (1 million).
Hence the top 11 ranked ethnic groups will have a projected population of more than 43 million in 2017, accounting for more than 90 % of Kenya’s citizen population. Their estimated voter potential will be 17.4 million if 80 % voter registration is achieved or 19.6 million if 90 % is achieved. Whichever coalition controls the majority of the top 11 ethnic group will have a good chance to win the 2017 Presidential elections as long they achieve a high voter registration and turn-out. Refer to my blog “Road to Elections 2017: The Reality of Ethnic Block Votes” found at www.kenyaelectiondatabase.co.ke .
Out of the top 11 ethnic groups, Jubilee fully controls only 3 ethnic groups with 6.6 million estimated voters if 80 % registration is achieved while CORD mostly controls 6 ethnic groups with 9.2 million estimated voters. The Kenyan Somali and the Maasai are considered “Fifty/Fifty” as they usually vote for both coalitions. They have a total estimated voter of 1.1 million and 421,148 respectively if 80 % registration is achieved, but the Somali population may have been overstated in the 2009 census. CORD’s voters are projected to be 10.3 million, exceeding Jubilee’s 9 million by 1.3 million if 80% voter registration is achieved.
Jubilee cannot afford to sit back and hope not enough CORD supporters will turn up to register and vote in order to re-gain their “Tyranny of Numbers” in 2017. CORD has already embarked on ensuring that youths in their strongholds obtain ID cards and register as voters in time for the 2017 elections. (See attached Table 8A- TWO COALITIONS-CORD VS JUBILEE).
SCENARIO 2: CORD vs JUBILEE + 50% WESTERN
In this scenario, in order to increase its chances of winning re-election, Jubilee will have to make a pre-election deal with a party that represent a third major ethnic group from either Western Region (Luhya) or Eastern Region (Kamba), whose estimated voters in 2017 will exceed over 2 million each.
The Jubilee Alliance draws most of its support from the Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Meru ethnic groups and may not win the 2017 Presidential Elections unless the CORD coalition either breaks up or fails to register enough voters and and/or they fail to turn-up to vote in large numbers as they did in 2013.
Jubilee will need to re-build bridges with the Luhya ethnic group which depends on the sugar industry for their economic lifeline. The Uganda sugar “deal” has turned out to be a public relations disaster for Jubilee just as they needed to make in-roads in Western Region before the 2017 General Elections.
Both the Bukusu (FORD-Kenya and New Ford Kenya) and Maragoli (Amani National Congress) sub-ethnic groups will account for 1 million of the estimated 2.6 million Luyha voters in 2017 and reside in Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga and Trans-Nzoia counties. A pre-election coalition deal may have to be signed that guarantees the Western parties certain posts and share of cabinet/parastatals/diplomatic posts. Jubilee may have to guarantee the Western parties one of two powerful posts in Kenya: Speaker of the National Assembly (3rd in line in succession for the Presidency under the constitution) or Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly. The Luhyas will expect to be given the Deputy President slot in 2022, in case Ruto goes for the Presidency.
The Western parties will never agree to dissolve and join JAP in order to increase their bargaining power within the Jubilee Alliance. Senator Moses Wetangula of Bungoma County, is party leader of FORD Kenya and a CORD principal and may not agree to leave CORD, hence will retain part of the Bukusu sub-ethnic group. The Samia sub-ethnic group and the Teso ethnic group of Busia County may remain in CORD but they account for a small part of the Western voters (372,000 estimated voters in 2017).
If Jubilee can wrest at least half of the Western Region voters from CORD, then its estimated voters will be 9.9 million against CORD’s 9.4 million, a variance of only 500,000. Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga are expected to become “Fifty/Fifty” counties, but Busia is expected to remain under CORD (see attached Table 8B- TWO WAY COALITIONS-CORD VS JUBILEE+50% LUHYA). Hence CORD will control 16 counties (blue), Jubilee 18 (red) and 13 (green) counties will be 50/50.
SCENARIO 3: CORD vs JUBILEE + WIPER
If Jubilee’s attempt to lure the Western Region’s voters to its side fails then its only option is to turn east to the Kamba ethnic group that occupies lower Eastern Region but has as a sizable population in Nairobi and the Coast. This ethnic group is expected to have 2 million voters in 2017 and is a principal partner in CORD with Kalonzo Musyoka, the Wiper Democratic Movement-Kenya party leader, the running mate of Raila Odinga in the 2013 elections.
Wiper has had a frosty relationship with Jubilee ever since attempts by Kalonzo to endear himself to Uhuru and Ruto just after they were indicted by the ICC in The Hague in 2011, failed. This re-buff drove Kalonzo into the hands of Raila leading to the formation of CORD in 2012. The Kambas have never forgiven Uhuru and Ruto for the mistreatment of Kalonzo and even bringing Charity Ngilu’s National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) into Jubilee in 2013 (after a brief dalliance with CORD) did not add any significant numbers to Jubilee’s vote tally in Ukambani. Uhuru received only 89,064 in Kitui, Machakos and Makueni compared to Raila’s 768,025.
There appears to be strategy by Jubilee to win Kamba voters by using Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, who has an immaculate development record, as an alternative to Kalonzo and there is a growing movement called the Maendeleo Chap Chap in Ukambani which may end up as a political party. But this strategy may backfire as Kambas are unlikely to abandon Kalonzo especially after the treatment they have received from their Central Region “cousins”.
Hence in this scenario, Uhuru and Ruto will have to make peace and make a deal with Kalonzo that will guarantee him a significant post in the Jubilee Alliance in 2017. One possible guarantee is that Kalonzo becomes Ruto’s running mate in the 2022 Elections, meanwhile he or one of his party members can become Majority Leader (formerly Leader of Government Business) in the 12th Parliament in 2017. . Kalonzo can only end up as a running mate once again for Raila Odinga in CORD in 2017 unless Raila becomes unavailable to run and Kalonzo is chosen to stand instead. If Wiper pulls out of CORD and joins Jubilee, then CORD will have little chance of winning the 2017 elections as shown in the attached report-Table 8C- TWO WAY COALITIONS-CORD VS JUBILEE+WIPER.
The loss of Wiper will reduce CORD’s projected voters in 2017 to 8.8 million compared to Jubilee plus Wiper’s 10.5 million, a variance of 2.7 million. Hence Jubilee can afford to lose the entire Luhya block votes in 2017 as long as they have the Kamba votes. Number of CORD counties will reduce to 16 (blue) while Jubilee’s will increase to 21 (red) with Kitui, Machakos and Makueni becoming Jubilee counties. 50/50 counties (green) will be 10. The significant Kamba votes in Nairobi and the Coast will increase the Jubilee vote tally in both Regions.
SCENARIO 4: CORD vs TNA vs URP
This scenario is where there is a fall out in the Jubilee Alliance before the 2017 elections. There are elements in the United Republican Party (URP) of Deputy President William Ruto that feel he has been short changed in the Jubilee Alliance and the original agreement for “fifty/fifty” sharing of posts was not honoured as well as the suspension of three Cabinet Secretaries and some of Ruto’s staff on allegation of corruption in 2015.
Some of these elements went as far as to challenge Ruto to stand against Uhuru in 2017, a suggestion that Ruto has already dismissed. If Ruto intends to stand for the Presidency in 2022, he needs to have the Kikuyu and Meru ethnic groups as well as others in the Jubilee Alliance. Kalenjins will not take the risk of missing out on power that a Ruto presidency can bring in 2022, but this can change if Ruto is convicted and jailed by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Like the proverbial Sword of Damocles, the ICC case against William Ruto, may dramatically affect the 2017 elections if he is convicted on charges of crimes against humanity. Section 150 (ii) of the new Constitution of Kenya provides for the Deputy President’s removal from office by impeachment where there are serious reasons he has committed a crime under national and international law. Section 145 provides the procedure for removal of the Deputy President from office, which will require a motion supported by at least two thirds of all members of the National Assembly before a special committee of the Senate investigates the charges.
The ICC case against Ruto took a turn for the worse in August, 2015 when the ICC ruled that recanted witness statements can be used as evidence by the prosecution hence dealing Ruto’s case a huge blow. Hardliners in URP have started complaining that the Government did not take Ruto’s case seriously as it did for Uhuru Kenyatta whose case collapsed in December, 2014.
Since the Jubilee Alliance has a majority in the National Assembly, the resolution may not pass (“Tyranny of Numbers”) but the President may request the Deputy President to resign under section 148 (7) to avoid diplomatic sanctions. The President cannot dismiss the Deputy President. If the Deputy President is convicted before the 2017 Presidential Elections, he may be released on bail until his appeal is heard. As explained above, his impeachment by the Senate may not proceed unless the National Assembly passes a motion for the same.
Uhuru cannot risk the wrath of the Kalenjin Ethnic vote bloc and replace Ruto as his running mate in the 2017 elections even if Ruto has been convicted and is awaiting appeal of his case. Retaining Ruto as Deputy President will also be seen as an act of defiance of the ICC and show that Kenya still believes in his innocence.
While it is unlikely Kalenjins may revolt against the Kikuyus and pull out of the Jubilee Alliance and join CORD, the possibility of this “revolt” would be to deny Uhuru votes that he requires to win re-election. Even if Ruto decides to stand as a presidential candidate in 2017, as suggested by some in his URP party, he cannot win as the Jubilee vote will be divided as shown on attached report-TABLE 8D-THREE WAY COALITION-CORD VA TNA VS URP.
This will be a walkover for CORD as it will have 10.5 million estimated voters compared with 4.7 million for The Alliance Party (TNA) and 3.9 million for URP. Ruto will be committing political suicide by this option and kill his chances of being elected President in 2022.
SCENARIO 5: CORD + URP vs TNA + 100% WESTERN
In this scenario, it is assumed that there may be a fallout between TNA and URP and the Jubilee Coalition may breakup mainly due to the ICC factor. TNA may not want to be blackmailed by URP as Uhuru knows he cannot win re-election in 2017 without the Kalenjin ethnic group and their allies in Rift Valley and North-Eastern Regions.
In order to save his legacy and win re-election, Uhuru’s TNA enters a pre-election pact with Luhya ethnic group parties of Western Region and offers one of their leaders to be his running mate in 2017. This may be Moses Wetangula of FORD-Kenya as his Bukusu sub-ethnic group is the largest of the Luhya ethnic group and will have an estimated 700,000 voters compared with the Maragoli’s 300,000 estimated voters. Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress is a Maragoli and may have no choice but to play second fiddle to Wetangula.
Luhyas know that their long dream of ascending to the Presidency in 2022 can come true if they join TNA in an Coalition rather than stay in CORD and risk not only losing in 2017 but also in 2022. Even if CORD wins in both 2017 and 2022, the Luhyas may not gain the Deputy President’s post in case Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka claims the slot.
In retaliation for TNA’s decision to select a Luhya running mate to replace Ruto in 2017, the URP may join forces with the CORD rump (minus FORD-Kenya) and sign a pre-election agreement that will give Raila Odinga the Presidency for only one term with Ruto as his running mate. This will be Raila’s best chance to assume the Presidency after failing three times and will renew their ODM partnership that fell apart during the five year term of the Grand Coalition Government (2008-2013). Wiper will have to be convinced to let Ruto be Raila’s running mate in 2017 instead of Kalonzo Musoyka who will then be Ruto’s running mate in 2022.
This arrangement will depend if Ruto will escape conviction and jailing by the ICC as in case of conviction, as his appeal may run beyond the 2017 elections. It will guarantee CORD + URP Coalition victory in 2017 as they will have 11.4 million estimated voters against TNA + Western Coalition’s 7.9 million, a variance of 3.4 million, as shown in the attached report-Table 8E- TWO WAY COALITIONS-CORD+URP vs TNA+WESTERN. CORD + URP Coalition will control 24 counties with TNA+WESTERN with 13 counties and 10 counties as 50/50. This option will end up with Uhuru failing to be re-elected in 2017, hence he cannot afford to drop Ruto under any circumstances, but Ruto has the option of leaving Jubilee in 2017 and partnering with CORD and still have a good chance of being elected in 2022. In politics there are no permanent enemies, it’s the numbers that matters. In any case Ruto will simply be “returning home” where he was in 2007.
SCENARIO 6: CORD vs JUBILEE vs 100% WESTERN
This scenario is again unlikely, but still possible if the Luhya ethnic group leaves the CORD Coalition and presents its own Presidential candidate who may be either Moses Watengula or Musalia Mudavadi. The purpose of this would be to sign a post-election coalition with which ever Coalition wins the 2017 elections. This is similar to what Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya’s deal with the Party of National Unity in January 2008, when Kalonzo Musyoka was appointed Vice-President in order to support Mwai Kibaki’s weak government following the disputed 2007 Presidential elections.
CORD rump (minus Western Region) will have 7.9 estimated voters, Jubilee 9 million (a variance of 1 million) and Western only 2.3 million as shown in the attached report-Table 8F- THREE WAY COALITIONS-CORD vs JUBILEE vs WESTERN. This option shows CORD cannot win without the Western Region votes and this will most benefit Jubilee but they may prefer a pre-election coalition agreement to breakup CORD (see scenario 2 above). If Jubilee can reach a pre-election agreement then a Jubilee/Western Coalition will have 11.4 million estimated voters, which will exceed CORD rump by a massive 3.4 million voters.
SCENARIO 7: CORD vs JUBILEE vs WIPER
This scenario is also unlikely but may come about by breakup of the CORD Coalition with the Wiper party leaving and presenting its own candidate who is expected to be Kalonzo Musyoka. This will be a repeat of the 2007 fiasco, when the then Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K) presented Kalonzo as its Presidential candidate thus handing Mwai Kibaki victory in the disputed election that led to post-election violence. Kalonzo may again want to make a post-election deal with Jubilee, but there would be no advantage as a Jubilee government formed after the 2017 election victory will not need support to rule as Kibaki’s PNU did after the 2007 elections. The PNU/ODM-K government ruled for only less than two months before it was replaced by the Grand Coalition Government that was formed after the international mediated agreement signed on 28th February, 2008 that brought Raila’s Orange Democratic Movement into the Government.
CORD rump (minus Wiper) will have 8.8 million estimated voters, Jubilee 9 million (a dead heat) and Wiper only 1.5 million as shown in the attached report-Table 8G- THREE WAY COALITIONS-CORD vs JUBILEE vs WIPER. This option shows that CORD rump cannot defeat Jubilee without Wiper, although the results may be a dead-heat.
SCENARIO 8: CORD vs JUBILEE vs COAST
This scenario may happen if the Coast Region forms a political party or a coalition of Coast home grown parties to represents its interest and exits CORD before the 2017 elections. The new party or coalition will then bargain with whichever coalition emerges the winner in 2017. This option is very risky as the Coast does not have the numbers to sponsor a Presidential candidate in 2017.
The attached report-Table 8H- THREE WAY COALITIONS-CORD vs JUBILEE vs COAST, shows that CORD cannot win the 2017 elections without the Coast Region’s 1.9 million estimated voters. This scenario shows that CORD rump (without the Coast region) will have 8.4 million voters, Jubilee will have 9 million, hence a variance of 500,000. If Jubilee manages to enter a pre-election agreement with the Coast Region before 2017, then their combined voters will be 10.8 million, which will ensure Jubilee victory in 2017, as it will exceed CORD voters by 2.4 million. Again, Coastal parties may never agree to dissolve and join JAP in order to not lose their identity. The Coast Region will expect to be given senior positions in a pre-election agreement with Jubilee before the 2017 elections and guarantee of the Deputy President slot in 2022.
Some of the eight scenarios mentioned above may seem farfetched, but coalition politics in Kenya is very dynamic as was seen just prior to the 2013 elections, when one of the Presidential candidates had been promised the top seat by the very coalition that went on to win the elections.
If any of the principals of CORD pulls out of the coalition and joins Jubilee, it will have a dramatic and profound effect on Kenya politics due to ethnic voting blocks. Should the Deputy President be convicted before the 2017 elections, his followers may make demands on him to challenge for the top seat or leave Jubilee, despite the risk involved.
The unavailability of a Coalition principle or party leader before the 2017 elections can change the face of Kenya politics overnight and create scenarios that have not even been mentioned above.
Elections are about numbers, and the party/coalition that can ensure that most of its supporters register and majority of them turn-up to vote on Tuesday, 8th August, 2017, will win the elections. It is after all, a game of numbers.
11th September, 2015
© 2015 STAN OYUNGA
REPORT-8A-2017-COALITION-VOTER-EST-2-WAY-COALITION-CORD-VS-JUBILEE.xls (317 downloads)
REPORT-8B-2017-COALITION-VOTER-EST-2-WAY-COALITION-CORD-VS-JUBILEE-50%-WESTERN.xls (264 downloads)
REPORT-8C-2017-COALITION-VOTER-EST-2-WAY-COALITION-CORD-VS-JUBILEE-WIPER.xls (249 downloads)
REPORT-8D-2017-COALITION-VOTER-EST-3-WAY-COALITION-CORD-VS-TNA-VS-URP.xls (266 downloads)
REPORT-8E-2017-COALITION-VOTER-EST-2-WAY-COALITION-CORD-URP-VS-TNA-WESTERN.xls (281 downloads)
REPORT-8F-2017-COALITION-VOTER-EST-3-WAY-COALITIONS-CORD-VS-JUBILEE-VS-WESTERN.xls (275 downloads)
REPORT-8G-2017-COALITION-VOTER-EST-3-WAY-COALITIONS-CORD-VS-JUBILEE-VS-WIPER.xls (258 downloads)
REPORT-8H-2017-COALITION-VOTER-EST-3-WAY-COALITIONS-CORD-VS-JUBILEE-VS-COAST.xls (270 downloads)