African Press International (API)

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Posted by African Press International on September 20, 2007

kibaki_0709073.jpg<President Mwai Kibaki.

President Kibaki has finally chosen the Party of National Unity (PNU), a conglomeration of parties as the vehicle to run for presidency. His announcement on Sunday 16th September 17, 2007is a culmination of intense activities in the political realm and out of a realization that the days to elections are just numbered.

It is the first time a sitting president in independent Kenya has not sought re-election on the party which brought him to office.
Nonetheless this must also have come after a period of soul-searching.

The experience of the ruling coalition going by the name NARC must have taught the president some hard lessons. Yet still it is apparent that there is no single party which can muster enough votes to win the presidency and sufficient seats in parliament. Yet still no single tribe can win without coalescing with others. This is what has seen the birth of the ODM’s and the PNU.

Kibaki strategy of PNU looks very informed. First, the experience with trying to market NARC Kenya has not been nice. Other parties like FORD Kenya and FORD People were not willing to play ball. Secondly, research shows that there is a highly likelihood of high turnover of MP’s in the current parliament. This means many of them may not make it back to the 10th parliament. Yet still MP’s had re-aligned themselves to ensure almost automatic nomination in strong parties which included NARC Kenya.

The strategy of the MP’s especially those bidding through NARC Kenya would have easily caused the president a loss of a huge constituency especially the one dissatisfied with the sitting MP’s. The PNU strategy will ensure candidates both sitting MP’s and non MP’s will each fight their own battles but ensure the vote to the president.

Thirdly the emergence of many regional say tribal parties, must have wrought a strategy re-think. These parties have and will continue to give various regions a strong bargaining ground. It is then apparent rather than fight them, work with them.

All said Kibaki’s strategy may win him a second term. But a caution though, the going between now and elections will be very tough. This more so coming from the Raila led ODM. Raila’s resource and voters mobilization skills plus the regional (pentagon) strategy is something to keenly watch. The probability of ODM capturing a good number of parliamentary seats can also not be under-estimated.

ikunda1.jpgBy API*APN correspondent,

Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda,
P.O. Box 51806,

Published by API*APN tel +4793299739 or +4763002525

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