Kenya’s second presidential election in three months is over bar the shouting and possible legal challenges to the result of last Thursday’s poll. But what ever transpires the electoral figures speak for themselves and point conclusively to what really happened in the last two elections.
The official election result pronounced yesterday by the IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati gave Uhuru Kenyatta a total of 7,483,895 votes. At the August 8th election Kenyatta officially received 8,223,369 votes.
Polling day on October 26th was marred by the intimidation of voters and election officials (it also saw very heavy rain in many areas), intimidation that was aimed at ensuring Kenyatta’s supporters couldn’t vote. Against this background and with many of his supporters already assured of victory after opposition leader Raila Odinga pulled out of the election, Uhuru Kenyatta still polled over 7.4 million votes, only 739,474 fewer than supported him on August 8, an achievement that demonstrates the level of support maintained by Jubilee’s presidential candidate.
At 7,483,895 votes polled, Kenyatta’s vote in the second presidential election was also 661,083 votes more than Raila Odinga polled in the August election, his total then being 6,822,812 votes.
The August election result was of course challenged by the opposition but it would appear to have been a fair and accurate reflection of the votes cast by the Kenyan electorate. There are several reasons for believing this to be so.
ADD IT UP – KENYATTA WON
First, the results from last Thursday’s disrupted election, suggest that Uhuru Kenyatta would have still achieved a vote in the region of 8.2 million votes if the Kenyan electorate had been allowed to their democratic right to cast their votes without hindrance or intimidation.
Second, a major opinion poll undertaken by the Centre for African Progress published just a week before the August 8 election projected a result of 53% of the vote to Kenyatta and 43% to Odinga. It was based on a massive country-wide sample of 9,995 registered voters, a sample that would be expected to predict the result within a margin of plus or minus 1%. A week later Kenyatta won 54.17% of the vote and Odinga 44.94% . The opinion poll was right and so was the actual poll.
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
And then there’s the elephant in the room – tribalism.
Uhuru Kenyatta and his Vice-Presidential candidate William Ruto have the support of the Kikuyu, the Kalenjin, the Meru, many Kambas and not a few Kisii, enough to deliver 55% of the vote (and the winner needs 50% plus 1). Raila Odinga’s tribal coalition based on the Luos, Luyhas and some of the Kisii, just can’t deliver the numbers come polling day.
The tribal factor in Kenyatta’s favour has been referred to a “the tyranny of numbers” since just before the 2013 election. It is also called a majority.
And even aside from the tribal figures, Odinga’s coalition is out-gunned by Kenyatta’s Jubilee campaign.
As Aly Vergee from the African Research Institute following the August 2017 election and Tom Wolf from Ipsos Synovate noted after the 2013 election, Raila Odinga’s side of the political divide in Kenya failed to register as many of their supporters as Kenyatta’s side registered of his supporters, and come polling day Kenyatta’s campaign team turned out a higher percentage of his supporters than Odinga campaign did of his.
Many people in Western Kenya in particular, boycotted last weeks election as Raila Odinga asked them to do but the euphemism deployed by Raila Odinga’s campaign team that other voters “heeded” his call for a boycott (a line taken up by the international media) partly hid the reality of a massive campaign of intimidation to stop Kenyatta supporters voting. The IEBC are right, however, it did not change the overall result: Kenyatta won the election on the lower turnout (lower because of the opposition boycott) and he would have done so if everyone who wanted to had been allowed to vote.
It is now time for Mr Odinga to take “heed”and look at the figures. Add them up – you lost again.