News / Africa

    Kenyan Presidential Candidates Make Final Push

    Kenyan Presidential Candidates Make Final Pushi
    X
    February 26, 2013 3:07 PM
    With just under a week to go before Kenya’s presidential election, candidates are making their final efforts to court voters. The race has come down to two main competitors: Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president who represents the Jubilee coalition, and Raila Odinga, the current prime minister and head of the CORD alliance. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow reports on the state of the race to decide Kenya’s political future.
    Gabe Joselow
    With just under a week to go before Kenya’s presidential election, candidates are making their final efforts to court voters. The race has come down to two main competitors: Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president who represents the Jubilee coalition, and Raila Odinga, the current prime minister and head of the CORD alliance.
     
    The two candidates have drawn huge crowds as they cross the country seeking votes.
     
    Some of their most vocal supporters gather on a street corner in Nairobi in a so-called People’s Parliament. Kenyans meet daily to argue politics and to try to convince each other to change their views.
     
    CORD supporter Omukoko Shitandi said, "Every Kenyan can agree with me that Raila Odinga, politically, he was the brainchild of the struggle for multiparty in Kenya. And socially he has been the champion of the struggle for the rights of both the poor and the rich in Kenya.”
     
    Jubilee supporters, like Patrick Matho, are unconvinced.

    “There’s a lot of unemployment in Kenya but we believe that in Jubilee, the way we’ve read the manifesto and the way they have put some funds aside for the youth and women, I think it’s the right party,” said Matho.

    Kenya Elections:
    • Voters select president, bicameral legislature, governors and county assembly
    • 8 presidential candidates
    • To win presidency, candidate must get 50% of votes, plus one, and at least 25% of votes in half of Kenya’s 47 counties
    • If no clear winner, a second round of voting is scheduled for April 11
    • 14.3 million registered voters
    Uniting his base
     
    Jubilee supporters are defensive, though, about the International Criminal Court charges against Kenyatta for his alleged role in the violence that followed the last election in 2007. Western diplomats have suggested a Kenyatta presidency could weaken ties between the international community and Kenya.
     
    But professor Joshua Kivuva of the University of Nairobi said the charges have actually helped to unite Mr. Kenyatta’s base.

    “Without the ICC, the Jubilee would not exist. Uhuru Kenyatta would not even be a factor in this. He was a nobody without the ICC,” said Kivuva.
     
    Supporters from both parties acknowledge that tribalism dominates Kenyan politics.
     
    Odinga, who is part of the Luo tribe, is relying on votes from his supporters in the western part of the country.
     
    Tribal politics

    Kenyatta depends on the Kikuyu tribal vote in central Kenya.
     
    Professor Kivuva said the role of tribe, however, is largely misunderstood.
     
    “Actually Kenya has never had tribal politics, that is the biggest misnomer that has been perpetrated all the time. Kenyans vote very much on ideological basis, it’s on that [where] ideology and tribe converge,” he said.
     
    Other candidates have tried to change the political conversation this year.
     
    Peter Kenneth ran on a campaign that rejected tribalism and tried to court Kenyans from across ethnic lines. While he has been popular on the campaign trail, he has ranked near the bottom in recent polls.
     
    All parties say they want to avoid a repeat of the violence that killed more than 1,100 people following the last disputed election.
     
    The vote on Monday is likely to be incredibly close, though, with the two leading politicians separated by only a couple of percentage points in recent polls. Candidates have already started trading accusations of vote rigging, raising tensions and the possibility that the results again could be disputed.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Professor David O. Monda from: Los Angeles
    February 27, 2013 2:51 PM
    Dear Editor:
    Thank you for your analysis of Kenyan presidential candidates. The problem of tribe in Kenya goes back to the colonial era and was exacerbated by the fall out between Jaramogi Odinga and Jomo Kenyatta. Kenyatta used the state resources to uplift his core ethnic constituency and destroyed the pre independence relationship he had with Odinga by detaining him and silencing opponents. His son Uhuru Kenyatta has the unfortunate burden of having to answer for the sins of his father.

    The election of 2013 is in an ironic way a round two show down between the son of Jaramogi Odinga (under CORD Alliance) and the son of Jomo Kenyatta (under Jubilee Alliance). Each is lobbying his core ethnic constituents in Nyanza and Central provinces. This leaves the other 40 tribes with no recourse but to get behind one of these two camps.
    The building of legal / political institutions and the growth of the economy is the key to Kenya’s future success. Coupled with this is the respect for these institutions by the political elite and the development of legitimacy in these institutions in the eyes of the public.

    On March 4th 2013, the test of the political maturity of the nation of Kenya will be severely tested. Success in the electoral experiment will be an example to regional leadership in Uganda and Tanzania where de facto one party systems run the political show.

    Professor David O. Monda
    Department of Social Sciences
    Ashford University.
    Email: david.monda@faculty.ashford.edu

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora