Professor Alex Bashasha opinion article on how the handshake would cost Raila Odinga, the Kenyan presidency has come to be spot on, we can confirm.
The opinion which was published in the New Vision in the wake of last month’s Kenyan Presidential Elections sold like a hot cake as it predicted the right outcome.
Below is the full Opinion by Prof. Alex Bashasha
After several days of tension and suspense on who will become next Kenyan President, Williams Ruto was declared the winner by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the body which oversees elections in Kenya. Ruto garnered …..votes to become the 5th president of Kenya. His closest rival Raila Odinga the former prime minister got …….votes.
Kenyans waited for days as the race kept swinging between Raila Odinga of Azimio La Umoja party and Williams Ruto who campaigned under United Democratic Alliance (UDA). The race between Ruto and Odinga was cut out to be interesting from the onset.
This is because outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta decided to support the rival of his Vice President. With Uhuru throwing his weight behind Odinga coupled with the big alliance under Azimio, many thought it would be an easy win for Raila Odinga.
This would have been the case if the Kikuyu who are the biggest tribe had taken heed of the call of the former president. They instead defied this line and Odinga performed badly on the Kikuyu vote. The question now is whether Uhuru’s support for Odinga did more harm than good for Odinga’s last chance to get to state house.
In the next election Odinga will be 82 years and may not have the vigor and interest to stand again. Some argue that Uhuru’s endorsement of Odinga rubbed the country the wrong way with many interpreting it as backstabbing of Ruto who had been loyal to President Uhuru. It also played into the sympathy of many Kenyans and as a result some voters gave Ruto a sympathy vote for being betrayed by Uhuru.
Political analysts have indeed indicated that the support of Uhuru was a double edged sword that pushed away many voters from Odinga.What does this also reveal as far as power and influence is concerned? As president Uhuru was expected to wield a lot of power and influence but this did not translate or show in his support for Odinga.
Did Uhuru have the power and influence that could swing votes in favor of his candidate or it was his Vice President that indeed held more power and influence. Within the political circles, the rumor mill had it that Ruto was literally running the entire state.
Some observers claimed that in private Ruto would brag that he was the one running the state. When this reached the ears of Uhuru it marked the beginning of a bitter fall out between the two.Ruto fell out of favor and Uhuru openly attacked Ruto.
In fact, if it wasn’t for the strict laws and Ruto having been a run mate, Uhuru could sack Ruto as vice present. Even despite the pressure on Ruto to resign, he did not. The win of Ruto has resurrected the debate on whether Uhuru held that much power and influence as president. It is a debate that will go on for some time. But what does Ruto’s win mean for the region. For Uganda Ruto has always been a regular visitor and friend to government.
On several occasions he campaigned for President Yoweri Museveni. With Ruto in charge, the relation between Uganda and Kenya are expected to get better. Ruto has strong background as a businessman and he will see a lot more in terms of trade improve between Uganda and Kenya. We are also likely to see Ruto giving Uhuru an olive branch to bury the hatchet and reconcile. He may appoint him one of his key advisors. I don’t see Ruto going after Uhuru because of the fall out they had.
For Raila Odinga his last chance of becoming president is gone. He will have to consolidate his role as the leader of opposition in Kenya. Also the Alliance might crack soon and we shall see more shifts in political parties. On the international scene, Ruto has the charisma and wit to play good international politics.
In him the West sees a shift from the long family dominated presidency in Kenya to a new face that represents the ordinary Kenyans. All in all, Kenyans must be commended for having conducted peaceful elections against the backdrop of Kenya’s history of electoral violence. The transparency of the IEBC in counting and relaying the results should also be hailed. Unlike the previous elections, the IEBC made all poll results accessible from its server. As soon as the polls closed on Tuesday, all results which were posted electronically, were put in the IEBC server and anyone from anywhere in the world, could access them.
The writer is General Manager TABKEN Consults.