The 2013 presidential election attracted eight presidential candidates but only two were formidable, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga as they presented each other with the threat of defeat given their clout. More so it also included of two other serving legislators whose eventual performance was embarrassing as they only garnered meager votes.
Ever since Martha Karua announced her intention to succeed her political mentor then President Mwai Kibaki in early 2008, her candidacy was greeted with accolades as she would have been Kenya’s and East Africa’s first female president if her ambition came to fruition. Despite boasting of having national recognition from a 20 year legislative career and two stints as a very powerful cabinet minister, the then Gichugu lawmaker drew a paltry 43,881 votes (0.36%) of the votes. This was embarrassing as a virtually unknown Kenyan, until Kenya’s first presidential debate, Mohammed Abduba Dida beat her by almost 10,000 votes to bag 52,848 votes(0.43%).
The Gatanga legislator was an early favourite due to his enviable development record in his constituency and also his managerial skills as an assistant minster. He had the biggest following on social media but that never translated to votes, hence the term I coined, “The Peter Kenneth Effect”. The Peter Kenneth Effect is where a candidate is deluded to believe that their popularity online is a reflection of their popularity on the ballot. Peter Kenneth amassed 0.60% of the vote or 72,786 votes cast confident of his executive leadership.
It should be noted that these two erstwhile presidential candidates have currently announced their intention to run for gubernatorial positions. Martha Karua is intent on unseating Kirinyaga’s Joseph Ndathi whilst Peter Kenneth would love to be Jubilee’s candidate and cause an upset by beating Dr. Evans Kidero as the Nairobi governor. Their candidacy is more pragmatic, rational and realistic than their 2013 presidential candidacies.
In the forthcoming general election, it is rather clear crystal that the race will be between Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA’s flagbearer, likely to be Raila Odinga. The two have parallel clouts that are formidable, loyal and growing and because popularity in politics is determined by the clout that one commands, these two are the ones to watch. With the entry of former Director of Public Prosecutions Philip Murgor and Dr. Ekuru Aukot, one of the members of the Committee f Experts that drew up the constitution that we have, it begs one to ask how they think they supplant Uhuru’s and Raila’s popularity and bag the presidency.
Assuming Martha Karua and Peter Kenneth vied for the seats they intend to vie for now, in 2013, and apply the same rationale they are currently exploiting of associating oneself with a formidable political outfit, then they would be governors or still relevant politically.
It is rather obvious Philip Murgor’s and Dr. Ekuru Aukot’s candidacy is not going to draw any passion or enthusiasm given their quasi-anonymity nationally but if they gun for seats relevant to their recognition or influence then they can possibly be elected.
All in all, they should learn from the two former lawmakers and presidential candidates and instead save face before it is too late.