In Kenya, a new poll suggests incumbent President Mwai Kibaki is likely to win the upcoming December presidential elections, followed by Raila Odinga of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM-Kenya). But the poll, released yesterday (Tuesday) said while President Kibaki might get the majority of votes, he might not meet a key stipulation in the constitution. Kenya's constitution requires the winning presidential candidate, besides having the most votes, to garner a minimum of 25 percent of votes cast in at least five of Kenya's eight provinces.
Meanwhile, the December election is regarded as the first in Kenya where an incumbent president faces a credible challenger.
Mustapha Ali is a Kenyan political analyst. From the capital, Nairobi he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Kenyans are looking for a leader who is consistent.
“I have just seen the polls, it seems that the incumbent president Kibaki has a over 4o% chance of winning, way much ahead of the closest challenger that is Raila Odinga who stands at 25%. But it’s not that straight forward because in our constitution the president has to garner at least 25% of the votes in at least five provinces of the total eight provinces. And none of the presidential candidates or the ones who would like to run, including President Kibaki himself, meets that requirement, according to the polls,” Ali pointed out.
He said there is an indication the main opposition party the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM-Kenya) might fall apart before the December presidential election.
“Most of those polled indicated that there is a high likelihood that the ODM, that is the leading party, which incidentally has the highest support in terms of numbers in percentage of Kenyans, I think that is going to disintegrate as we approach the polls. And this again gives the incumbent Kibaki a breather,” he said.
Ali said even though trouble seems to be brewing in the opposition ODM-Kenya, the party could pull itself together and give the incumbent president a run for his money.
“It may just happen. The current government has been mishandling a few issues, for example when they detained the health minister Charity Ngilu, who is the bon-afide chairperson of the so-called ruling party NARC (National Rainbow Coalition). Now, some of these issues in terms of mishandling situations like that are playing into the ODM-Kenya’s advantage,” he noted.
Ali said some Kenyans overwhelmingly favor the opposition ODM-Kenya.
“There is still hope among many Kenyans may be that one or two of its leading figures may defect, but a lot of Kenyans still believe that ODM is the party to watch in this years elections,” he said.
Ali expatiates on some characteristics Kenyans would be looking for in this year’s election.
“I think they will look at various issues. First of all, consistency. Kenyans particularly, the young voters who form over 65% of the total number of registered voters are going to look for consistency, they want a consistent leader. Apart from that, they are looking for some credentials on the economy, the current president has played that very well, but has not been consistent on issues of fighting corruption. Again it puts the whole race open. Those are the two key issues that Kenyans would be looking out for,” Ali said.