Change, whichever way Kenya votes
The current regime in Kenya is the first elected under the new constitution. It’s the first to govern under the new devolved power-system. But as the curtain falls on the Uhuru years change is once again in the air, writes Eric Kimori.
President Kenyatta has completed his two five-year terms, as have most of the county Governors. Under the constitution they cannot run again. So Kenya is poised for change at both national and county levels.
‘Freedom is coming’ is the rallying cry of the Kenya Kwanza coalition led by Deputy President William Ruto.
Mr Ruto’s campaign has focused on mobilizing the young and women.
Through his ‘Bottom-up’ manifesto he is promising a radical shift from trickle-down economics.
He’s drawing crowds of hopeful young and women wherever he goes.
He’s plagued by an association with corruption. But Mr Ruto is a flamboyant mobilizer, endowed with the ‘gift of the gab’.
His eloquence is not matched by closest rival Raila Odina. Political pundits and analysts claim it is the reason Mr Odinga skipped the national televised presidential debate a fortnight ago.
‘Inawezekana’ – translated to mean ‘it’s possible’ – is the battle-cry of Odinga’s fifth stab at the presidency.
He’s is riding on his track record of democratic and political reform that he has been championing.
If Odinga wins, his running mate, Martha Karua will become Kenya’s first female deputy president.
She is thought to be the energy behind Odinga’s recent surge in support.
Their manifesto addresses social reform. The most talked about intervention is an economic stimulus targeting families living below the poverty line.
Mr Odinga proposes a cash transfer programme of Kes 6,000 (about 60 USD) for poor families in a bid to spur economic growth in hard-hit regions of Kenya.
The two remaining contenders, Prof George Wajackoya of Roots Party, and church leader Waihiga Mwaure of Agano Party, are seen as non-starters, not expected to marshal a combined 1% of the total votes.
So which way Kenya? Either road leads to change.
But as the saying goes, ‘The more things change the more they stay the same’.
Odinga is running for a fifth time – his face is not new to Kenyan politics. He is a former Prime Minister.
Ruto has been deputy president for the last 10 years.
One of these two will become Kenya’s fifth president.
As the national debate, so too the counties. Most of the leading contenders for governor are deputy governors seeking to inherit governor posts from retiring bosses.
Whichever way Kenya votes, change is in the air!