In Summary

  • The elections have on the one hand given Jubilee Party’s President Uhuru Kenyatta another five-year term in office, and on the other totally cut off his main challenger, Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s political ambitions.
  • However, the gamble by Mr Moses Masika Wetang’ula to defend his Senate seat in Bungoma county paid off.  
  • The victories of Joyce Laboso over Isaac Ruto in Bomet and Machakos County Governor Dr Alfred Mutua over Wavinya Ndeti, for instance, are warning shots to Nasa bigwigs, Isaac Ruto and Kalonzo Musyoka.
  • The outcome in Machakos appears to elevate the stature of Governor Mutua at the expense of former Vice-President Musyoka’s career. 

The outcome of the 2017 General Election has ultimately redrawn the political landscape of the country, the allegations of flaws of the electoral process itself notwithstanding.

The elections have on the one hand given Jubilee Party’s President Uhuru Kenyatta another five-year term in office, and on the other totally cut off his main challenger, Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s political ambitions.

The former Prime Minister had indicated ahead of the Tuesday poll that this would be his last time to participate in elective politics.

Also hanging precariously on edge of the political cliff are careers of Mr Odinga’s running mate Kalonzo Musyoka and Pentagon members —  Mr Musalia Mudavadi and outgoing Bomet County Governor Isaac Ruto.

However, the gamble by Mr Moses Masika Wetang’ula to defend his Senate seat in Bungoma county paid off.  

“Since the resurgence of multiparty politics, elections in Kenya are typically marked by allegations of rigging and mismanagement by biased electoral bodies and this one is not any different. Be that as it may, Jubilee has emerged resoundingly victorious in the presidential race as well as winning more seats than Nasa in the National Assembly, Senate and county assemblies – a factor that ushers in a fundamental shift of Kenyan politics,” observes one-time Cabinet minister, Prof Amukowa Anangwe.      

INCUMBENCY

Owing to the advantage of numbers in Parliament, coupled with the power of incumbency and Mr Odinga’s possible absence from the political scene, Prof Anangwe sees a tough ride ahead for the Opposition in the next five years.

“First, the Deputy President (William Ruto), who now views himself as president-in-waiting, will be more explosive and ruthless than ever before because he will be fighting for his own political life against the Opposition. Second, the probable exit of Raila from the scene and lack of a fitting substitute in terms of persona, grit and dynamism will be a major factor of despair,” says Prof Anangwe, who teaches political science at the University of Dodoma in Tanzania.

Prof Anangwe points at a crisis of confidence amongst the electorate in the Nasa zones as a third and key factor that could terribly weaken the Opposition forces – thanks to the likelihood of disenchantment with opposition politics and the temptation to shift support to government side.

On the latter score, the Jubilee duo of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto seemed to have schemed well to spread their wings across the country and lock out potent competition from key rivals.

The victories of Joyce Laboso over Isaac Ruto in Bomet and Machakos County Governor Dr Alfred Mutua over Wavinya Ndeti, for instance, are warning shots to Nasa bigwigs, Isaac Ruto and Kalonzo Musyoka.

Tuesday’s outcome means Isaac Ruto, who has been engaged in a supremacy battle with his namesake, the DP, is now momentarily caged.

GOVERNOR MUTUA

Similarly, the outcome in Machakos appears to elevate the stature of Governor Mutua at the expense of former Vice-President Musyoka’s career. 

And there is also Charity Ngilu, Mr Musyoka’s perennial political foe turned ally, who clinched the Kitui County governor’s seat.

With Dr Mutua and Mrs Ngilu in office, there are chances the ground could shift from Mr Musyoka’s grasp during his absence from elective politics.  

Meanwhile, the outcome of results in western Kenya appears to have further opened the region to political competition ahead of 2022.

The President’s party registered an unlikely win of seven parliamentary seats.

Although Mr Odinga largely won the presidential vote, this development  effectively gives Jubilee some footing in the Opposition-leaning region.

The big losers at parliamentary level in this region are Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) that lost nearly four seats and Mr Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya.

MUSALIA MUDAVADI

The biggest harvest, though, went to Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress.

However, at the gubernatorial level, ODM increased its tally and it is in charge of all the counties in the former western Kenya, except one – Bungoma.

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