News / Africa

Kenyan Presidential Candidates Make Final Push

Kenyan Presidential Candidates Make Final Pushi
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

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs