ELECTORAL REFORMS

Crybaby of the Jubilee error

DP's not the system’s favourite, making it difficult to find a running mate of clout.

In Summary
  • Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi, both former vice presidents, rank second to Raila’s fortitude in the face of system-engineered electoral frauds.
  • The difference is Raila’s capacity to reclaim a contest-ready mode, even when rivals consider him done.

Of all politicians playing on the national podium, Raila Odinga understands intimately the wrath of the system, and the pain of rigged elections. But this pain, three times experienced, has never been personal for the former prime minister. Whenever the system muddles people’s choices, Raila prefers to see the outcome as a setback for democracy. He would rather cheated voters cry for Kenya, than for Raila, a consistent voice for free and fair elections.

Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi, both former vice presidents, rank second to Raila’s fortitude in the face of system-engineered electoral frauds. The difference is Raila’s capacity to reclaim a contest-ready mode, even when rivals consider him done.

It is Raila’s phoenix-like capacity to bounce back, among other strengths, that makes the African Union envoy unpredictable—the enigma.

Deputy President William Ruto, who is in the furnace of succession politics, comes third in the rating. The former Eldoret North MP has one experience of a rigged presidential election. But he benefited from rigged elections in 2013 and 2017. He also had an easy sail with the system during the Moi era.

The 2017 edition of electoral theft exposed the other side of Ruto: His unmatched capacity to celebrate subversion of democracy, on international platforms such as CNN and Al Jazeera. The man had choice epithets for the Supreme Court after it nullified the 2017 presidential election.

The alienated DP may be preparing for another muddled presidential election, with the ball resting, smugly, on the other foot. He blames the system for his tribulations, which are being served in lethal bits that bite. The DP could be the crybaby of the Jubilee error unless he supports electoral reforms, and reconstruction of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Now that the DP is no longer assured of system pamper, he would gain, even in alliance building, if the Building Bridges Initiative delivers its reform promises.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was a beneficiary of rigged elections in 2007, 2013, and 2017. The difference between the President and the DP is that Uhuru realises the need for national reconciliation. The President wants a new beginning for Kenya through BBI, which, among others, seeks to expand the Executive.

The DP opposes BBI to hit back at the system, which he hoped would babysit him into State House in 2022.

Raila was a victim of rigged presidential election in 2007, 2013, and 2017. The system robbed him of the 2007 presidential win. Raila shared power with the system’s choice Mwai Kibaki, believing Kenya was, and is, more important than his personal ambition. The compromise ended the 2007 post-election violence.

Kalonzo was a victim of rigged elections in 2013 and 2017, when he was Raila’s running mate. But he sneaked in as VP in 2008, when Kibaki needed legislative top-up. Kalonzo was third in the rigged presidential election that earned Kibaki a controversial second term. But the system rejected Kalonzo as Kibaki’s successor.

Mudavadi was also a victim of rigged elections in 2017. He was Raila’s chief campaigner under the National Super Alliance. Raila, Kalonzo, and Mudavadi were victims of a prejudiced system. The system has disowned Ruto, 27 months ahead of the 2022 General Election.

Unless the electoral system is reformed, some top-league politicians should prepare for another season of tears. Some may still want to run for president, not to win, but to pamper their egos. Some of these politicians may find it hard playing second fiddle in a system-skewed process. Many times beaten, they have reason to be shy. Kalonzo and Mudavadi may not want to be running mates, or PM-designate, in an alliance that does not carry favour with the system.

The DP knows he is not the system’s favourite, which may make it difficult for him to find a running mate of clout, knowing it may be a dead-end presidential run.

Of all these top-league politicians, Raila has a passionate grasp of moral issues around electoral fraud. The system has been a perennial threat to democracy. BBI addresses this threat.

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