24-11-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
With less than nine months to go before the next national elections in Kenya, scheduled for August 9, 2022 and considered a historic watershed for the political direction of the years to come, the first official polls made public by two of the most reliable agencies in the country have arrived.
According to TIFA, which in past elections had already shown a margin of error not exceeding 2.5%, the current situation sees the current Vice-President William Ruto prevailing, who has already announced his candidacy as leader of the opposition, despite having been elected and having obtained his important role in the ranks of the current government majority, represented by the Jubilee coalition headed by outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta.
As is well known, Kenyatta, after two terms of office, by law can no longer run for office and for some time has decided to entrust the votes of his electorate to the eternal challenger Raila Odinga, who until two years ago sat as leader of the opposition party ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) in parliament. Odinga has been for years defined the man of the people and nicknamed "Baba" (Dad) by Kenyans, because of his age and wisdom.
In the name of a transversal policy that can inhibit tribal logic, Kenyatta and Odinga are now allies and the leader of the Kikuyu ethnic group, the most populous in Kenya, pushes a Luo, a tribe historically hostile, to the presidency. In the middle is Ruto, the symbol of the "new that is advancing", a shrewd man of power who has made himself and over the years has been the dauphin first of Odinga and then of Kenyatta himself to whom he has now turned his back. Ruto is of Kalenjin ethnicity, one of those that have always been a thermometer, for better or worse, of the results at the polls.
Ruto is liked by young people and gives hope to the poor people who never as on the eve of the next elections, would need a hand to get out of the mud of the many dramas in which a large part of the population finds itself, increased by the pandemic.
According to TIFA polls, William Ruto has a clear advantage over Odinga, with 38% of the preferences, against 23% for Odinga. Even more pronounced is the current difference in the approval rating of the two politicians according to the "opinion polls" commissioned by other medias, in which Ruto has 46% of Kenyans on his side and Odinga could count on 28%, although in slight rise. In this count, as we note, a good third of the population remains in the balance, if not more as TIFA considers.
This is a 15% undecided, reported by both pollsters, but also the expectation of the candidacy of other important figures, both locally and ethnically and in terms of political alignment.
First of all the OKA coalition, formed by MPs who over time have particularly supported Raila Odinga and who belong to numerous ethnic groups such as the Luhya of Moses Wetangula and Musalia Mudavadi and the Kamba represented by Kalonzo Musyoka. They are joined by Kalenjin Gideon Moi, son of Kenya's second president.
The possible candidacy of one or more OKA founders could take votes away from one of the two main presidential aspirants and then return them to him in the runoff. The same could happen on the Kenyan coast, where a large representation of politicians who have always gravitated towards Odinga's area, would seem to want to run with regional parties, and then put their approval on the table and direct it towards the candidate who can meet the interests of the coastal population and guarantee seats.
The challenge has just begun, but certainly these elections will offer something unprecedented. And it is to be hoped that it will, since what happened in the previous challenges at the ballot box is certainly not one to be remembered, if not to treasure the mistakes and avoid institutional clashes and post-vote violence.
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