Kenyans and the world at large impatiently await the declaration of the just ended elections, attention is on RailaOdinga the 77-year-old who is on his fifth attempt at being the Kenyan head of state and William Ruto the 55-year-old who only making his first attempt at being the leader of the biggest east African economy. Before the Election the region of Mt Kenya was agreed as the key battlefield if not the deciding region. Here is how it played out in Mt Kenya
The region boasts over approximately 5 million votes, it is predominantly inhabited by the Kikuyu and their cousins the Meru and Embu. In a surprise move the outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta endorsed his long time rival Raila Odinga for the current election, a move which left the current deputy President William Ruto isolated and set him against the country’s two political giants who come from Kenya’s most powerful political families, Kenyatta and Odinga. To many analysts this meant that Ruto was going into the election as an underdog. It is noteworthy that Uhuru Kenyatta had enjoyed tremendous support in Mt Kenya since 2013 his endorsement of Odinga was therefore assumed to translate to Odinga inheriting Uhuru’s support base.
Despite the July survey from Infortrak suggesting growing support for William Ruto in Mt Kenya team Odinga and Uhuru remained confident of maintaining their hold on Mt Kenya. A negative surprise turn of events for the Odinga team and perhaps hard work coupled with the correct choice of a running mate for Ruto seems to be yielding results as early results show Ruto taking Mt Kenya which has tremendous potential to swing the presidential tally in his favour. Much of Ruto’s success in Mt Kenya is attributed to his running mate Rigathi Gachagua a Kikuyu and native of Mt Kenya, despite many controversies it seems he was the perfect man to work the ground for Ruto in the vote rich region. Professor GitileNaitulu argues that there was great miscalculation by Kenyatta and Odinga caused by assuming that the people in Mt Kenya will appreciate the idea of a Kikuyu kingpin, the idea of a tribal leader does not go well with the Kikuyu people they value their autonomy. According to Jeremiah Kioniformer member of the Kenyan National Assembly one mustgive credit to William Samoei Ruto, and it will take time to unravel what he has done.
As of 2pm on Saturday, results pointed at William Ruto’s Alliance taking control of the senate with 24 seats compared to Odinga’s alliance with 23 seats, early results also show Ruto gaining significant seats in the National Assembly.Whichever way the Presidential tally goes this is huge win for William Ruto, who has stood firm with his Hustler nation and put up a tremendous fight. Ruto seems set to control Mt Kenya that coupled with senate control as well as a tightly contested presidential race and his fairly tender age, the current deputy president is almost guaranteed of his turn as the Kenyan Head of State if not this election then definitely the next election. In the meantime, Kenya and the world continue to wait for the final declaration of results while anxiety takes its toll.
Kundai Darlington Vambe is a Political Researcher and a member of The Global Alliance for Justice Education.