By Stan Oyunga (
Nairobi County is not only the seat of Government, it is also the richest county of Kenya’s 47 counties, holding 60% of Kenya’s GDP of 64 billion dollars (6.4 trillion shillings), with the highest revenue base and the economic capital of East and Central Africa. It is not surprising that it a prime target for both the ruling Jubilee coalition and the opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD), whose candidate, Evans Kidero of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) won in Kenya’s first ever gubernatorial elections in March, 2013. Nairobi City County was allocated Kshs 14 billion out of the Kshs 302 billion allocated by the National Treasury to County Governments for 2016/2017 Financial Year. Hence Nairobi is considered the jewel on the Kenyan crown.
Due to its cosmopolitan nature, Nairobi is now the hottest battle ground state with the 2017 General Elections only one year away. While Governor Kidero is expected to defend his seat on an ODM ticket, there is a scramble for the new Jubilee Party ticket. The Jubilee Party which is due to be launched in September, 2016 after 12 parties of the Jubilee Coalition merge.
Nairobi is the most balanced County (fifty/fifty) where both Jubilee and CORD have an almost equal share of voters. According to the 2009 population census, Nairobi County has 3,138,369 people and is projected to have 4 million people by 2017. It had 1,728,801 registered voters in 2013 and is projected to have 2 million voters by the 2017 General Elections, the highest in the country. Nairobi is the most populous county in Kenya and as well as the most densely populated and the third smallest in land area. Only Vihiga and Mombasa are smaller than Nairobi in land area.
During the 2013 Presidential Elections in Nairobi, Raila Odinga of ODM received 691,156 valid votes out of the 1,398,476 (49.42 %) while Uhuru Kenyatta of The National Alliance (TNA) received 659,490 (47.16 %). Although Raila had more votes than Uhuru, this is a variance of only 31,666 hence can be considered a very close race. The other 6 candidates received only 47,830 votes.
In the Gubernatorial Elections, Evans Kidero of ODM received 692,490 valid votes (49.73 %) while the runner-up, Ferdinand Waititu of TNA received 618,047 (44.38 %), which means that not all of Uhuru’s voters voted for the TNA candidate while Kidero received 1,334 more votes than Raila. The difference between the TNA Presidential candidate and gubernatorial candidate was 41,443, which means some of Uhuru’s voters did not vote for Waititu. The 3rd placed candidate, Jimnah Mbaru of Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) received only 52,510 votes (3.77 %) but some of those who voted for Uhuru could have voted for Mbaru for Governor instead of Waititu.
The almost equal support for CORD and Jubilee candidates proves that cosmopolitan nature of Nairobi’s population. No ethnic group can claim to be the majority in Nairobi although the Kikuyu remain the single largest ethnic group in Nairobi County. The Kikuyu have dominated Nairobi Parliamentary elections since independence with most past Members of Parliament coming from this ethnic group except for Westlands, Langata, Makadara and Kasarani constituencies which have had either Luhya or Luo as MPs. The ethnic demographics of Nairobi has changed with the introduction of the 17 new constituencies in 2013 to replace the old 8 (Makadara, Kamukunji, Starehe, Langata, Dagoretti, Westlands, Kasarani and Embakasi).
The 17 new constituencies in Nairobi County are:

[table id=62 /]

Embakasi, which was formerly Kenya’s largest constituency was divided into 5 (South, North, Central, East and West); Langata into 2 (Langata and Kibra); Dagoretti into 2 (Dagoretti North and South); Kasarani into 3 (Kasarani, Roysambu and Ruaraka); Starehe into 2 (Starehe and Mathare).
While both CORD and Jubilee have almost equal support in Nairobi County, they have clear majority in some of the new 17 constituencies. Dagoretti South (c/no 276), Roysambu (c/no 279) and Kasarani (c/no 280) are the only constituencies in Nairobi County with majority Kikuyu population, hence can be considered Jubilee strongholds. Westlands (c/no 274), Dagoretti North (c/no 275), Langata (c/no 277), Kibra (c/no 278), Ruaraka (c/no 281) and Embakasi South (c/no 282) are clearly CORD strongholds. It is not a coincidence that the Luo, Luhya aand Kambas make the majority ethnic groups in these constituencies.
The remaining 8 constituencies can be considered fifty/fifty or battle ground constituencies due to the almost equal votes each coalition received in 2013 as shown in the tables below:-

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The perception that parties in the CORD coalition split their votes in the 2013 Parliamentary elections appears to be only true in Makadara (c/no 287) and Embakasi West (c/no 286). In Makadara, both ODM and Wiper Democratic Movement-Kenya split votes thus allowing TNA to win the seat. The ODM candidate had 36,183 and the Wiper candidate had 7,505, totaling 43,688 which was enough to beat the TNA’s candidate’s 40,606. In Embakasi West, ODM, Wiper and Ford-Kenya combined vote was 41,630, which again was enough to beat the TNA candidate’s 40,606.
The key in winning Nairobi County is to target just the 7 constituencies that are east of Outer Ring Road, the only area of Nairobi whose demographics is growing. As more and more people move to this area, new buildings are being put up at a very fast rate to support this growing population. The 7 constituencies now account for 42 % of Nairobi’s estimated population of 4 million (1.7 million), and 40% of its voters, hence a potential voter base of 900,000 by 2017, as shown in the table below:-

[table id=64 /]

There are cases of voter importation mainly from Kiambu into Nairobi in order to boost’s Jubilee’s supporters in ready for the 2017 election as they aim to win the gubernatorial election, but this practice is no longer illegal. As the IEBC has yet to officially release the latest voter registration figures, the impact of voter transfer on Nairobi County voting trends is still not clear.
Source: The Kenya Election Database version 2.1
17th August, 2016