Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Head to Head Odinga vs Uhuru 

Raila Odinga.

Raila Odinga is the most experienced of all the presidential candidates seeking to succeed President Mwai Kibaki. Opinion polls have all the times put him as the frontrunner to be the 4th president of Kenya but I don’t know how far that is true. All the same a fact known to all Kenyans is that the man is as popular as Christmas is to Christians. Raila run for the country’s top seat in 1997 and in 2007 and this will be his third attempt

Why Raila may win the presidency

He is seen as a reformer who has continuously propagated for democracy and good governance. He dared Moi when no one could open his mouth and Raila was once accused of contemplating to overthrow the Moi government which resulted in him being sent to jail for years. Many observers also believe that Raila was instrumental in bringing to an end the KANU government which Kenyans have suffered under for decades. Raila was the major force behind the election of kibaki and NARC government into power in 2002 when he declared the famous kibaki tosha slogan. Raila was also instrumental in the passing of the new constitution which promises many good things for the ordinary Kenyans. Therefore being seen as a reformer may do justice to Raila’s chances of becoming president.

His party has more national outlook as compared to other political parties. Opinion polls have many times indicated the orange party to be the most popular political party in Kenya and this is a massive boast for Raila’s presidential bid.

Win sympathy for his “stolen” victory in 2007, many Kenyans and particularly Mr. Odinga’s supporters widely believe that he was robbed of victory in 2007. Having won the most votes in 6 out of the 8 provinces in Kenya, mr. Odinga and his supporters were of the view that he had won squarely and fairly and that the government had colluded with the Samuel Kivuitu led defunct electoral commission of Kenya (ECK) to manipulate and rig the elections in favour of the incumbent; Mwai Kibaki. A commission of enquiry led by South African judge Johan kriegler has seen revealed that “it is difficult to know who won the election”. Mr. Odinga may therefore get sympathy votes this time round to make up for what his supporters claim a “stolen victory”.

Why Raila may not become president.

The Hague factor, four Kenyans among them two presidential aspirants (Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto) are now facing crimes against humanity charges at The Hague based international criminal court (ICC) in the Netherlands. They are accused of committing the crimes during the violence that followed the disputed presidential election of 2007. But how does this work to Raila’s disadvantage? Well Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto claim that Raila has engineered their prosecution and tribulations facing them. they are of the view that Raila wants to sail smoothly into the presidency by eliminating them from the race to state house. I don’t know if this is true but it surely will have an effect into Raila’s chances of becoming president.

Ruto and Uhuru have since formed an alliance dubbed G7 bringing together many politicians opposed to Raila and this hurt Raila’s aspiration to be the next president of Kenya. If the G7 stick together and make their anti-Raila alliance work, then there is a high likelihood that a rerun will be held and the possibility of Raila losing out to their candidate.

There is also the Kalenjin votes factor. In 2007 the Kalenjin community voted in mass for ODM and Raila but this time round it looks unlikely given the fact that the de-facto leader of the community, William Ruto has fallen out with Raila. Ruto is accusing the prime minister of double standards and not doing justice to the community while at the same time “having a hand” in the tribulations facing him at the Hague. A case in point is the eviction of Kalenjin squatters from the Mau forest water complex which was done for environmental conservation.

Uhuru Kenyatta

Son of kenya’s founding father and first president, Uhuru Kenyatta is without doubt one of the front runners to succeed president Kibaki. Uhuru mostly enjoys a massive support from his central province backyard and his Kikuyu ethnic group. Uhuru’s first short at the presidency was in 2002 when he run against Mwai Kibaki of national rainbow coalition (NARC). He came second with over 1.5 million votes separating him and the opposition candidate, Mwai Kibaki. By that time Uhuru was seen as a Moi project and many Kenyans were afraid he would be used by Moi to advance his agenda.
Ten years down the line Uhuru is intending to run for the presidency but will he succeed this time round? Only time will tell but for now here are reasons why he would and wouldn’t.

Why Uhuru may win the presidency
Kalenjin and Kikuyu voting bloc, it’s no longer a secret that the Kalenjin have shifted their support from Raila Odinga and Uhuru may be the beneficiary here. An Uhuru- Ruto alliance where the former is the president and the later his running mate will see Uhuru win the presidency at the expense of Raila.

The Kikuyus don’t vote for anyone other than their own. This may also boast Uhuru’s chances of being president. Over the years a trend that has been observed is that whenever elections are held, Kikuyus only vote for their own and not a candidate from another community and this may be a blessing for Uhuru who may become the third kikuyu president after his father and Mwai Kibaki.

Why Uhuru may not become president
The Hague factor, will he run or will he not run? This is the question on the minds of many Kenyans including himself. Uhuru is currently facing crimes against humanity at the Hague based international criminal court (ICC) and his trial is set to begin any time soon and this may logistically make it impossible for him to run for the presidency. Will he attend trials at The Hague or campaign for his presidential bid? This is definitely a question that needs an answer before he decides to run for the country’s top seat.

The Martha Karua and Peter Keneth factor, both Martha Karua and Peter Keneth (both of whom are kikuyu) are also in the race to be kenya’s president and this may mean dividing the Kikuyu votes into three parts which means all of them losing ground on the race to be the country’s president.


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