Opinion polls in the days before the election suggested that Raila Odinga, a veteran opposition leader making his fifth run for president, would stroll to victory with a lead of six to eight points over William Ruto, the deputy president. Cynical sorts, influenced by Kenya’s history of iffy elections, reckoned that even if Mr Odinga lost, the establishment would fiddle the count in his favor. Both assumptions were wide of the mark.
Collection of all V11 Forms
In 2017 the Kenyan electoral commission muddled things so badly that the Supreme Court ordered a re-run. Chastened, it has conducted this vote admirably. Mindful that delays arouse suspicion, the commission published screenshots of results forms filled in by no less than 81% of its 46,229 voting stations within seven hours of the polls closing. This step has allowed for much greater public scrutiny of the counting process.
A similar scenario took place here in Zimbabwe in the 2018 general elections where political parties failed to collect all the V11 forms that carry the results at polling stations making it impossible for CCC to file a robust case in the constitutional court. Although the argument was being made by then MDC Alliance that its ZEC was responsible for providing these forms, the court put the burden of providing the evidence on Chamisa. Without a proper collection of the V11 forms, any dispute will be impossible to solve as the court is likely going to put the burden of proof on those who will dispute the results.
Diaspora vote is overrated
Kenya has more than 3 million people living in the diaspora, only 12 000 voted in this past election. I for one have a Kenyan friend, we met in South Africa when I was still working there a few years ago. He was heavily invested in the politics of his country but I asked him one question, do you plan to go back home and start a new life? He replied only for retirement. A lot of people in the diaspora are no longer interested in coming back to Zimbabwe to vote even if there are amendments to the constitution few people are likely going to vote. The only way CCC can benefit from the diaspora community is to fundraise and motivate those who are back home to vote for their party. Despite winning 11 out of 12 diaspora constituencies that was not enough to pull Odinga to the finishing line.
God does is not in it
To be clear am not against any religious politics or any form of theocracy whether Islamic or Christian-based form of government. But God doesn’t do politics and when he does he usually doesn’t take sides. If indeed God favors Christian-based political parties, they would win elections in many parts of the world where elections are not usually disputed. Just like Napoleon said, “God favors the largest battalion” he also favors those who are more organized and those who work harder than their opponents in most contests. Just like Ruto was seen by many as the bad guy, someone focused on making money and winning at all costs above all else, God also blessed him.
The church will play a critical role in 2023
The Kenyan elections have proved that it’s more important to focus on the demography that really vote which is usually those between the age of 25 to 65. The young people are proving difficult to motivate to vote and will likely not going to show up on the voting day. That doesn’t mean their votes are not important and should not be fought for. However, it is becoming clear that Zanu PF is focusing much more on winning and aligning with African Initiated Churches like the Apostolic sect, UFI of Makandiwa, and ZCC. All these churches combined make up millions of possible voters hence the reason why president ED has been on a charm offensive trying to get win the hearts and minds of this critical demography. In the case of William Ruto he preached heavily his gospel of street hustle winning the majority of street vendors and young entrepreneurs, he had a specific demographic to target.
Coalition may not produce the best results
When you are on the opposition benches it’s easy to get tempted to form a coalition to try and broaden the tent. But just like Raila Odinga had to learn the hard way, a coalition or endorsement from a former president doesn’t always mean more votes. In 2018 Mugabe voted for Chamisa, despite his bitter relationship with president ED, it was not enough to sway a large number of Zanu PF supporters to vote for Chamisa too. A lot of Odinga’s supporters suffered violence at the hands of president Kenyatta’s supporters. So when the two made a pact to work together and try to dish Odinga his long dream of becoming Kenyan president. A lot of Odinga’s supporters simply did not turn up to vote they felt betrayed by that coalition.