Make no mistake: Emilio Mwai Kibaki is well inside the race for the presidency in 2007 and much as many would rather he went home, he is right now best placed to win. Okumu Bulawa examines why.
When Mwai Kibaki came into the Kenyan presidency, he was immensely popular. But then he has been extremely popular in Kenya – even in the 1970s, when his popularity effectively caused the KANU party elections to be postponed for about a decade since 1968, when it was due for them.
The story goes that before independence, James Gichuru, who founded Kenya African Union, the party that was to become KANU, stepped down in favour of Kenyatta for the leadership of the arty in 1946 and after independence, he was awarded the life chairmanship of the party. In the 1968 party elections the young Mwai Kibaki stood for the chairmanship post regardless of this fact and obstinately refused to back down, thereby causing Kenyatta to postpone the elections for many years.
Kenyatta was a tough and autocratic leader in the seventies but he too tolerated the popular minister for Finance
Kenyatta, being who he was at the time – a popular autocrat, so to speak, could easily have dimmed the political future of a young upstart who dared to show such defiance. Not so Kibaki, who was at the time very popular both with the masses and in parliament.
Kibaki’s popularity was to continue to shine when Mzee Kenyatta died and the Kiambu Mafia – Koinange, Karume and others – were trying to ensure that the then docile Vice-president Daniel arap Moi from ascending to power in 1978. Kibaki, then minister for finance and “Sir” Charles Njonjo, then the Attorney General, who has long been nicknamed the “duke of Kabeteshire” worked quickly to ensure that an announcement was made in public in support of Moi.
“The Duke of Kabeteshire” (pictured as he looked in those days, right) was instrumental with Kibaki in instaling Moi as president.
Kibaki quickly issued a press statement at a press conference, where he, on behalf of the cabinet expressed support of Moi as the leader of the nation in the three month interim as Kenya prepared for elections. This action quickly doused the Kiambu Mafia’s attempts.
It is common knowledge that Kibaki was one of the most closely watched ministers in Moi’s government primarily because he was the biggest threat to the presidency at the time and when in he resigned – around this time of the year actually – it was a complete surprise to all, including Moi himself. One week later, on the first week of January 1990, Kibaki announced the new Democratic Party, complete with national offices in every part of the country.
So he was popular and even today, people don’t really have an issue with him as a person. He remains well liked, loved even, by many Kenyans. The problem is, that on several fronts, Kibaki seems to have failed Kenya. Key among these failings is his perceived inability to maintain strong enough control of corruption – especially high end corruption which has been evident in his administration, as well as the uncertainty surrounding his ability to deliver a satisfactory constitution by election time.
This two issues are raw enough to get him to lose, but I submit to you that he will not lose.
My key reasons lie in what his administration has delivered – and it has to be said that for this term, one cannot be optimistic to see much more than that.
First, the economy has improved. The much touted 5.8% growth rate for 2005 may be contested but there has been positive movement in the curve. The key “mwananchi” sectors – agriculture, fishing, tourism and housing have been thriving so far. Goods like macadamia nuts, fruits and horticultural items are doing well, coffee and tea have been thriving and even the local investors are benefiting from these industries – take www.leavesandberries.com, an indigenous tea and coffee packer who is selling tea and coffee outside the usual coffee cartel’s reach through Kenyans in Diaspora especially in the US.
The cooperative societies have been sorted out and they are now functional, while the Kenya Meat Commission is back in the running providing good revenues for the nomadic pastoralists in North Eastern Province.
A quick glance at Nairobi city or Mombasa for example, and one can feel the change in small ways – trees on the side of the road, grass in the parks is well tended, roads are clean and so forth.
Secondly, there is no real opposition.
KANU has recently disintegrated especially with the chairmanship being taken over by much disliked and notorious, Nicholas Biwott. ODM is going strong but, who is its flag bearer? Raila Odinga is on record as running, Kalonzo Musyoka is offering “Mwelekeo Mpya” through his “Vision for a great people” and they are not alone.
The real reason for Kibaki’s win in the next election, is the lack of a true opposition. If things remain as they are, he is unlikely to have any real competition at all!
5 thoughts on “Why Kibaki is likely to win 2007”
kibaki will win because the altrnative (six of the rest) do not provide a viable alternative to leadership. they are despots who only want their potraits on banknotes and supported by a courtier of sychophants who cant tell good leadership if it hit them straight onthe kisser.
To early Kibaki as an individual can win. But kibaki with his team of goofs and loafers won’t win. As matter of fact you analysis are give this race a historical perspective. What you fail to understand there is a big generational gap between Kibaki Inner circle and the voters. There is a big tribal imbalance in his inner circle and then there are lots of green horns who cannot see beyond their political noses.
Having a characters like Kiraitu and mungatana, kiunjuri et al in anyones corner is not an asset but a huge liablitiy.
Remember my dear kenyans that most of incumbent mps will be in the fight for their lifes in their home areas.
Nyeri alone will consume most of Kibakis allies time and efforts just trying to secure mps seats.
Kiambu and Nairobi too will other areas which Kibaki people will have to fight day and nite to win.
It is too early to celebrate.
Remember the wins kibaki had before referendum he won almost every battle after the bomas caucus. he won the Kilifi battle, won the sulementi battle, won the Parliament battle which endorsed wako draft.
Let us wait till May next and thing will unravel.
Further more no one knows what Kibaki with his questionable health may decide to do.
Ignore spelling and grammar i am in a rush
Kibaki will win the next elections in your dreams. The man was LUCKY to have Wamalwa Kijana fronting for him. Not in 2007. Kenyans are not interested in his hands off politics. Kenyans want a President who is in tune and in touch with the realities on the ground!
Insightful thoughts on this article plus a good recap of history. My take is, majority of voters are on the ground and most of Kibaki’s development has been there- on the ground! As mentioned above the developments in agricultural sector. On the health front, Kenyans can access free malaria, TB drugs & ARV’s not mentioning the Insecticide Treated Nets. This is not to say that all demand has been met but a substantial percentage has. The recent poll results are at least indicative of the populations feelings towards his work in the past four years. We can all grouse about the methodology of the research but for pete’s sake let’s be consistent and not only whine when the results don’t favour us.
Take a moment go down to the ground and check what changes have been effected for bettering Kenyan’s lives.