By Stan Oyunga (email@example.com)
In exactly two years from now (August 2017), Kenyans would have re-elected Uhuru Kenyatta for a second term as President or would have shown him the door and made history as the first country in East Africa to have replaced an incumbent President; or the leading Presidential candidate would have failed to garner the 50% +1 figure required to be declared elected and Kenyans would be preparing for a run-off Presidential election for the first time.
While Uhuru Kenyatta is not only the youngest person to be elected President of Kenya, he is by far the most popular and has endeared himself to Kenyans by his down to earth attitude and demeanour. Young Kenyans consider him “cool” although he will be 54 years on October 26th, 2015. Besides being Kenya’s first digital President, with his interactive website and twitter account, he makes occasional surprise visits with minimal security and donates to those in need of medical attention or education fees without any publicity. He has provided youths in slum areas with employment and expanded the National Youth Service ten-fold.
With such a popular leader, why is his re-election in 2017 NOT a done deal?
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 has been evident in Kenya and has worked well except for the disastrous 2007 Presidential Elections. 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 Kenya Elections 2017: Who will have the numbers in 2017” found at www.kenyaelectiondatabase.co.ke .
The two main coalitions in Kenya, the Jubilee Coalition 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. (See attached Table 8A- TWO COALITIONS-CORD VS JUBILEE).
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 Party (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 2017.
While CORD intends to remain a pre-election coalition, the Jubilee Coalition had 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. But in a strange twist of events, Jubilee coalition abandoned JAP and instead announced in November, 2015 that a new party to be called the Jubilee Party (JP) will replace all parties in the coalition. The parties were required to dissolve by 19th December, 2015.
IS FORMATION OF JUBILEE PARTY A BLUNDER?
This move by Jubilee may be a blunder as already some supporters of the United Republican Party (URP) of the Deputy President William Ruto are resisting plans to dissolve the party. The Political Parties Act, 2011 does not allow elected members of any party to join another party without first resigning from their sponsoring party hence resulting in a By-election. But Section 11 (7) of the above act allows sitting MPs whose parties have merged with another to join the new party or become an independent member without losing their seats for the remainder of their term. As current party officials in TNA, URP and other affiliated parties will have to fight to be elected as interim officials of JP hence causing conflicts since both TNA and URP are competitors in areas of the Rift Valley (e.g. Nakuru and Eldoret).
When it comes time for party nominations for the 2017 General Elections, the losers may decide to look for other parties to nominate them to enable them to take part in the General Elections or stand as independent candidates. In some cases this will lead to the strange situation of a party under CORD or another coalition having a seat in a Jubilee Party stronghold. This actually happened in the 2013 General Elections when the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) won in Igembe Central and Tigania East, hence were counted as being under of CORD despite being in a Jubilee Coalition stronghold.
By forming the Jubilee Party, it will make it difficult to have other major parties outside the Kikuyu and Kalenjin ethnic groups join the Jubilee Coalition as they will first have to dissolve their parties (e.g. Luhya, Kisii, Coastal), a move that will make them lose their identity. 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, Meru and Ruto’s Kalenjin ethnic group. Uhuru should retain Jubilee as a pre-election coalition in order to attract other parties as Kenyans tend to identify with their ethnic groups especially in voting patterns.
The section 10 of the Political Parties Act requires 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. Dissolving Political Parties in the Jubilee Coalition and merging them with the Jubilee Party before April, 2017 may render the pre-election coalition agreement dull and void and Jubilee may lose its status of the majority coalition under section 108 of the Constitution.
CORD already has 1.5 million more potential voters in its strongholds then Jubilee (see my blog “Road to Kenya Elections 2017: Who will have the numbers?”) and does not plan to combine into a single party.
ETHNIC BLOCK VOTE COMBINATIONS
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 coalition 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 listed below 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 Kenya Elections 2017: The Reality of Ethnic Block Votes” found at www.kenyaelectiondatabase.co.ke .
The table below shows that out of the top 11 ethnic groups, Jubilee controls only 3 ethnic groups with total estimated voter of 6.6 million if 80 % registration is achieved while CORD controls 5 ethnic groups with total estimated voter of 9.2 million. The Maasai and the Kenyan Somali 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.
[table id=47 /]
Note: The Somali and Turkana population census figures may need verification after the 2009 census as the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) raised a red flag on figures from 8 Districts in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Turkana.
The table below gives the projected ethnic voter potential in 2017 of the two coalitions among Kenya’s 43 ethnic groups. CORD’s voters are projected to be 10.7 million, exceeding Jubilee’s 8 million by 2.7 million if 80% voter registration is achieved. If 90% registration is achieved then CORD’s voters will be 12.1 million and exceed Jubilee’s 9 million by 3 million.
[table id=48 /]
Jubilee cannot afford to sit back and hope not enough CORD supports 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.
IS WESTERN REGION JUBILEE’S ACHILLES HEEL?
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.
From the above tables it is clear that the Jubilee Coalition 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 break-ups 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’s Achilles heel has been Western Region and Uhuru Kenyatta performed so dismal there in 2013 that he received only 66,185 (5.53%), compared with 181,961 (10.55%) in Nyanza. Former President Mwai Kibaki managed to get 312,300 (32.21%) in Western Region in 2007, considering that the Luhya ethnic group is projected to have the second largest voting bloc in 2017 with 2.6 million voters.
Uhuru had been on a charm offensive as part of Jubilee’s strategy to lure the Western Region from the grip of CORD. He had appointed Eugene Wamalwa, party leader of New Ford Kenya of Amani Coalition as a Cabinet Secretary in early 2015 and other leaders from the region as Parastatal heads, board members and diplomats. These appointments may have little impact as it removes these leaders from the political scene and those who want to stand in 2017 will have to resign from their positions.
After President Uhuru visited Western Region in June, 2015 to bail-out the financially troubled Mumias Sugar Company, the move appeared to endure him to the people but in a bizarre turn of event, the gains were eroded during Uhuru’s state visit to Uganda in August, 2015. It was announced that Kenya had signed a deal to import sugar from Uganda in exchange for Kenya’s export of milk and beef. Although the Kenya Government denied that any deal had been signed, the leaders of CORD took the opportunity to denounce the “deal”, claiming that importation of Uganda sugar will affect the sugar cane farmers who depend on the sugar industry for their livelihood.
Jubilee will need to re-build bridges with the Luhya ethnic group which depends on the sugar industry for their economic lifeline, especially after the collapse of the Pan Paper Mill in Webuye, the largest industry in Western Region in the 1990s. 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.
Jubilee will somehow have to re-build the economy of Western Region and revive both the Pan Paper Mill in Webuye and the sugar industries including Mumias Sugar within the next two years (a mini Marshall Plan for Western Region). This may palate both the Bukusu and Maragoli sub-ethnic groups (which will account for 1 million of the estimated 2.6 million Luyha voters in 2017). 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 Western parties will never agree to dissolve and join JAP in order to increase their bargaining power within the Jubilee Coalition.
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 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.
SHOULD JUBILEE LOOK EAST?
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, being 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. Ngilu could not even win the Kitui Senatorial race.
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”.
Uhuru and Ruto will have to make peace and make a deal with Kalonzo that will guarantee him a significant post in the Jubilee Coalition in 2017. One possible guarantee is that Kalonzo becomes Ruto’s running mate in the 2022 Elections, meanwhile he can become Majority Leader (formerly Leader of Government Business) in the 12th Parliament. 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 votes in 2017 to 8.5 million compared to Jubilee plus Wiper’s 10.5 million, a variance of 2 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.
THE ICC FACTOR IN THE JUBILEE COALITION
Like the proverbial Sword of Damocles, the ICC case against Deputy President William Ruto, may dramatically affect the 2017 elections if he is convicted on charges of crimes against humanity. Section 150 of the Constitution of Kenya (ii) 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.
Since the Jubilee Coalition 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.
If Ruto is re-elected as Deputy President in 2017 and then convicted during his second term, he may still continue in office unless he is impeached by the Senate or he decides to resign while awaiting results of his appeal. If the appeal is dismissed, then Ruto will have no option but to resign as he may be jailed by the ICC in The Hague.
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 will also be seen as an act of defiance of the ICC and show that Kenya still believes in his innocence. Ruto will hope that he is either acquitted or if convicted, his appeal will be heard after the 2017 elections. If Ruto is jailed by the ICC, and has no other avenue of appeal, he will be requested to resign and Uhuru may replace him with a leader from the Kalenjin ethnic group. Sympathy for Ruto will grow dramatically as Ruto will be seen as a sacrificial lamb by his supporters.
If this leader is a sitting member of the National Assembly, Senate, Cabinet Secretary or Public Officer then he will have to resign upon approval of his nomination by the National Assembly and be sworn in as Deputy President of Kenya. If the assumption of office occurs when there is still more than two and half years to the next Elections (August, 2022), then that person sworn in as Deputy President will be considered to have served a full term (section 149 (a) of the Constitution). Senator Gideon Moi of Baringo is considered a possible replacement for Ruto and is a close friend of Uhuru Kenyatta.
WILL THERE BE A KALENJIN REBELLION AGAINST JUBILEE?
There are elements in the URP of Deputy President William Ruto that feel he has been short changed in the Jubilee Coalition and the original agreement for fifty/fifty sharing of posts was not honoured as well as the suspension of three Cabinet Secretaries as well as 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 Kikuyu and Meru ethnic groups as well as others in the Jubilee Coalition. Kalenjins will not take the risk of missing out on power that a Ruto presidency can bring in 2022. This is one of the reasons Ruto has been pushing for dissolutions of the parties in the Jubilee Coalition and replacement by a single party, the Jubilee Party (JP).
Ruto hopes that the Kikuyu ethnic group will be tied down in JP and have no choice but to support him in 2022. Any Kalenjin leader who is seen to have even have a hint of supporting CORD may not be re-elected in 2017. The short lived “rebellion” of Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto in 2014 can be seen in this context.
Uhuru should expect more demands from the URP side of the coalition as they know he cannot be re-elected without their support. He will need Ruto to tame the URP elements that are not happy with the current situation if he hopes to be re-elected in 2017.
Jubilee’s “Tyranny of Numbers” only exists in the National Assembly due to the large number of new constituencies created in the Rift Valley and North-Eastern Regions, but whose population is low. It does not translate to a huge voter base. It’s like sitting on a two legged stool when a three legged stool is more stable. Jubilee has no choice but to remain a coalition and embark on luring part of Western Region and/or the lower Eastern Region into its fold if it wants to win re-election in 2017.
If re-elected, Uhuru will spend his second term building his legacy like the completion of the Standard Gauge Railway, the Greenfield Airport terminal at JKIA, the Lamu Seaport and transport corridor, the School Laptop and electrification; and reducing the terrorist threat to Kenya.
Above all Devolution remains Kenya’s greatest success story and a model for other African counties and ensuring its full implementation will be Uhuru’s best legacy.
25th August, 2015
© 2015 STAN OYUNGA
25th August, 2015
© 2015 STAN OYUNGA
REPORT-8A-2017-COALITION-VOTER-ESTIMATE-CORD-VS-JUBILEE.xls (258 downloads)
REPORT-8B-2017-COALITION-VOTER-ESTIMATE-CORD-VS-JUBILEE-50%-LUHYA.xls (243 downloads)
REPORT-8C-2017-COALITION-VOTER-ESTIMATE-CORD-VS-JUBILEE-WIPER.xls (245 downloads)