KIBRA BY-ELECTION

Why Ruto and Mudavadi candidates in Kibra must be rejected

This is about efforts to at least bruise ODM and, therefore Raila, or rolling the dice and hoping to come away with a wn

In Summary

• In the last two elections in the constituency, ODM comfortably won both because this is one of its strongholds.

•  Deputy President William Ruto and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi have each decided to front a candidate, knowing fully well the chances of winning are next to nil. 

ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna, party leader Raila Odinga and Makadara MP George Aladwa in Kibra on Sunday, August 25.
TAKING ON RAILA: ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna, party leader Raila Odinga and Makadara MP George Aladwa in Kibra on Sunday, August 25.
Image: COURTESY

In countries such as the US where democracy is said to be mature, notwithstanding the current dramas there involving their President, the political system is such that there are two major parties that exchange elective office from the top to bottom.

These are the Democrats and Republicans.

What is unique about this primarily two-party system is that the dominance of the two parties is regional and by state, such that there are states where a Democratic candidate never has and will never win an elective office.

The converse is also true, meaning, there are states or districts where a Republican candidate never has and will never win.

 

For example, Washington, DC, has never had a Republican elected as mayor since Congress gave the city rights to pick its own leaders in 1973.

This is because the city is predominantly Black, a population that is nearly all Democrats and even though DC is not a state as it has always aspires to be, a mayor is it’s equivalent of a governor in other states.

In Washington, DC — and in many congressional districts — once one wins in the nominations to run on his or her party’s ticket, the general election is irrelevant as it’s just a formality.

Kibra is our own Washington, DC. Just as Washington is dominated by Black voters, who are nearly all Democrats, Kibra is dominated by Luos and Luhyas, who are nearly all ODM members or followers who will always vote for an ODM candidate.

Because of this dynamic in Washington, Republicans just don’t bother fielding a candidate with the best showing being more than 25 years ago when their candidate garnered 42 per cent but in their latest attempt in 2006, the Republican candidate lost by 83 per cent

Kibra does not have a history of voting, even remotely close to Washington’s, given the constituency is only a few years old, but in the last two elections in the constituency, ODM comfortably won both because this is one of its strongholds.

Rather than doing the right thing as Republicans in Washington do in not bothering to field a candidate certain to lose, Deputy President William Ruto and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi have each decided to front a candidate, knowing full well the chances of winning are next to nil. Which begs the question, why are they doing this?

 

Let’s just outright eliminate development or better delivery of services in Kibra as the primary reason. It is not.

Their respective candidates may as well be very qualified to be superb MPs, but that’s not the reason they are being fronted.

Rather, this is about efforts to at least bruise ODM and, therefore Raila. Or rolling the dice and hoping to come away with a win and run to the mountain top to scream Raila is finished as 'he cannot deliver even Kibra,' a constituency carved off Lang'ata where he was MP for years.

Their calculation is simple: They know ODM candidate will be a Luo. So, field a candidate who they believe will siphon off some Luo votes and add to Luhya votes to take the seat against all expectations. And, as insurance, have a Jubilee candidate who will act as a spoiler with enough cash in brown bags to throw around just to mess things up enough to defeat the ODM candidate.

There’s shrewd politics, which is okay, and then there’s tribal politics like this which we must condemn and tell these politicians to rid themselves of same.

Kibra voters have the opportunity to do just that by rejecting the candidates fronted by Ruto and Mudavadi and voting in whoever the ODM candidate is, unless he’s not worth it.

The writer is a US-based legal analyst and political commentator.