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Elections in Kenya

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Regional

Monday, November 25, 2002

Why Kenyan Voters Rose Against 'Titans'

A JOINT REPORT

THE EASTAFRICAN

KENYA VOTERS showed the door to a host of prominent politicians in primaries held last week to choose parliamentary and civic candidates for various political parties in the December 27 general election.
Key casualties in the nominations were some of President Daniel arap Moi's long-time proteges, recent defectors across political parties and, notably, leaders who had come to be identified with Kanu presidential torchbearer Uhuru Kenyatta.

The reasons for voter disenchantment with the various categories of leaders range from personality flaws to failure to initiate development projects, a euphemism for inability to organise constituents to collectively address their most pressing needs.

The rejects are from both Kanu and opposition ranks, indicating that voters are now judging leaders for what they do and not the package they come in, according to analysts. Key losers on the Kanu side included Cabinet Minister Kipng'eno arap Ng'eny, provocative politician Kihika Kimani and President Moi's eldest son Jonathan.
Mr Ng'eny, a former chief executive of Kenya's telecommunications parastatal, appeared to have lost substantial ground within Kanu ranks on March 18, when President Moi imposed him on delegates as the party's treasurer.

According to sources, Mr Ng'eny had never struck up a rapport with the electorate, which felt that even in the 1997 general election, Moi had imposed him on them. Also going against Mr Ng'eny were allegations of fraud during his tenure at the Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, which saw him arraigned in court.
Mr Kenyatta is campaigning on a youth and integrity platform, points which Mr Ng'eny was unlikely to score highly on. He lost the Ainamoi seat to former CID director Noah arap Too, paying dearly for his initial opposition to Mr Kenyatta's nomination as Kanu's presidential candidate.

Another minister, Isaac Ruto, lost his parliamentary nomination for being a close ally of Kipkalya Kones, who has ditched Kanu for Ford People, led by Simeon Nyachae. Mr Ruto had in the recent past considered joining the opposition as word went round that he was due for the sack.

Pretensions to founding a dynasty by the quixotic Mr Kimani saw him whitewashed in the nominations for the Naivasha seat. His loss was significant since the politician appeared to have bitten off more than he could chew, fronting two of his eight wives to contest parliamentary seats in two other neighbouring constituencies.

The most critical factor for Mr Kimani's loss was lack of resources to oversee logistics for the three campaigns, with the trio having no agents in most polling stations. That also pointed to waning grassroots support attributed to his irritating public utterances and his association with Mungiki, a violent sect that Mr Kenyatta has sought in vain to dissociate himself from.

Jonathan's loss, however, points to deep differences within President Moi's family. He was contesting the Eldama Ravine seat without the blessings of his father, who wanted his close aide and chairman of the Co-operative Bank of Kenya, Hoseah Kiplagat, to stand for it.
Baringo Central, which President Moi has represented for nearly half a century, was being reserved for the president's youngest son, Gideon, who other siblings claim is preferred by the father, despite a past marked by allegations of scandal in various business transactions.

Wrapped within the family feud is the role of president Moi's personal aide, Joshua Kulei, who is said to have an overwhelming hold on the president, an influence which Gideon has been trying to minimise in vain. In return, Mr Kulei has won some of Moi's children to his side against Gideon.

Other key defectors who lost in the Kanu primaries were Cabinet minister Mwangi Githiomi and outgoing MP Stephen Ndicho. While Githiomi flopped due to a "poor development record," his recent defection to Kanu had not gone down well with the electorate, which has in the past two elections voted for the opposition.

When Githiomi entered parliament through a by-election, the government cancelled a rural electrification programme for his Kipipiri constituency, apparently piqued because its candidate had lost.

Defectors to the opposition National Rainbow Coalition, particularly from Rift Valley province, also had a rude awakening.

The losers included a former army commander, Rtd Gen Augustine Cheruiyot, Moi's relative Kiptum Choge and a former diplomat, Samson Chemai. The three lost for lack of grassroots presence, with Gen Cheruiyot said to be fairly aloof. The electorate blames him for not recruiting locals into the army when he was at the helm.

Kanu has also adopted a strategy of its followers supporting weaker opposition candidates so that Kanu candidates get a smoother run in the December 27 election proper while ensuring the party nominates the strongest contender for all the seats.

A strategy paper addressed to a State House aide on November 18 by a Nakuru activist, for instance, proposes that the Kanu winner, David Sudi, should be supported by the loser, Boaz Kaino. Kanu fears that Mr Kaino might mobilise support for the opposition.

Other key losers were Lawrence Sifuna, Peter Oloo Aringo, Matu Wamae and Matere Keriri, politicians who have been involved in Kenyan politics for the past two decades. Mr Wamae and Mr Keriri were dislodged despite being close allies of Mr Kibaki, allegedly for being "aloof" from voters.
However, their fall arose from lack of influence peddling by Mr Kibaki under an arrangement among the 15 parties affiliated to Narc under which the top leaders, having been assured of automatic free nomination, would not interfere with nominations in other constituencies.

It was Mr Aringo who made a mark in the Eighth Parliament by bringing in legislation that will effectively make parliament independent of the executive.

Mr Aringo's fall was attributed to his being a "Nairobi" politician who dwelt on national issues, disregarding constituency issues.
Reported by Fred Oluoch, Joseph Karimi and Mugo Njeru.

For more see: AfricaOnline
-has links to other Kenyan papers. Some not updated very regularly though...

More recent info on observers for election at:
http://www.nationaudio.com/News/DailyNation/Today/News/News021220020b.html
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Elections in Kenya | 1 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
comment by ACCK
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 02 2002 @ 02:55 AM CST
who posted this? if you are in kenya, you should contact us if you are interested in joining us.
good story