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Friday, August 18, 2017

Kajiado and Narok are no longer battlegrounds

IEBC officials in Ngo'mbeni Kwale county on March 15 2016 gets details of voters during voter registration exercise. /FILE
IEBC officials in Ngo'mbeni Kwale county on March 15 2016 gets details of voters during voter registration exercise. /FILE

This year’s election will be won on voter turnout.

The eventual results will be determined by who was the better mobilizer. It will all depend on the strategy that Jubilee has put in place for their supporters to come out and vote and the strategy that NASA has put in place for their people to come out and vote.

And for Jubilee, you can see their rallying call is what they term as their achievements. Whether their so- called achievements such as the standard gauge railway, despite its inflated cost, have had an impact on Kenyans to an extent that they will feel compelled to come out in large numbers, is something we are waiting to see. But it’s their messaging to the electorate that will motivate their people to come out and vote.

They are trying to reawaken the ICC ghost, a strong rallying call in 2013. From where I sit, the ICC is a dead issue. It can no longer excite.

For NASA, their most potent arsenal is the cost of living. They will have to sustain the narrative of how Jubilee has flatly failed, despite the skyrocketting food prices. You have seen that even as the President moves around, Kenyans openly confront him on the issue of unga. He was asked for unga in Budalang’i and again in Kakamega. This is good political fodder for NASA. Then there are the issues of unfulfilled promises, the laptops, stadiums, etc.

But it’s a fact that Raila has made inroads in some erstwhile Jubilee turf: Meru, Bomet, West Pokot and Nakuru, for instance.

In the Kalenjin Rift Valley, just a few weeks ago, NASA registered a lot of defections from former and sitting Jubilee MPs – the likes of Peris Simam and David Koech. In politics, defections don't just happen. It’s either he is gaining a foothold or becoming popular in that region.

Then there is the Maasai community, also in the Rift Valley. In 2013, Narok and Kajiado almost voted evenly for Raila and Uhuru. Today, the support traction that NASA has gained in the two counties is so massive that they are no longer a swing vote: It’s Raila turf.

Uhuru and team have spent a lot of time campaigning in Western Kenya and Coast. In the former Western province, they have registered some defections from NASA.

Politics sometimes is won entirely on perception.

Ambasa is a political scientist

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