In Summary
  • There is always an explanation by a voter on why they are voting for this or that candidate.

  • Party affiliation is not necessarily a major factor in areas outside the stronghold of the party.

Voters are very rational.

This is my conclusion after interviews with many voters in different polling stations and several counties during the polling day last Tuesday.

And they are also hilarious on how they make decisions on whom to vote for.

In one polling station, a young man came, teased by his colleague about the choices he was going to make, replied that he was part of what opinion polls called “undecided”.

Now he was ready to see what Ipsos and Infotrak polling firms would label him because he was decided on who to vote for.

I am of the view that those who usually say they are undecided already have a clear decision but find it difficult to tell the pollsters because they want it to remain secret.

But what is important is that voters generally rationalise the choices they make.


There is always an explanation by a voter on why they are voting for this or that candidate.

Important also is that they have different reasons for the choice of candidates they support for various positions.

They vote for some because of they have a good development record.

They also vote for some because they have “influence” at high levels.

There are still others who get support because they are “humble and ordinary” just like many of the voters.


Party affiliation is not necessarily a major factor in areas outside the stronghold of the party.

Clearly voters are more rational than their political parties and senior leaders.

Voters ignored the “six piece” call in some areas. They have used a “mix and match” approach to elect their leaders.

Indeed this “mix and match” approach has led to election of independent candidates even in the strongholds of the main political parties.

Machakos County is a stronghold of Wiper Democratic Movement party but got only four of the total eight parliamentary seats.

A mix of four other parties won in some of the parliamentary seats. Jubilee won in Machakos town while Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCC) won in Mwala constituency.

The party did not win the governor seat as Dr Alfred Mutua of MCC retained it.


Western Kenya has even more interesting results.

Though a stronghold of the opposition, Jubilee party won four out of eight seats in Bungoma; and 12 seats in Kakamega.

Not a single party can claim dominance in both counties. And even in the strongholds of the party, there are  instances where independent candidates ably beat the party candidate.

Voters in Suna West, and Kisumu East, both in ODM zone, voted for independent candidate and ignored the parties call for a “six piece” voting pattern.

At the Coast, only Kilifi remained pure ODM zone – without a member of any other political party. Other counties adopted a “mix and match” pattern.

This is an indicator that parties do not have a commanding influence on voters.

Voters in many areas are so rational that they may decide to defy the call and demand of the party to vote for a particular line up.

The only exception to this are the Jubilee strongholds. A majority of the constituencies voted for Jubilee candidates.


The only odd constituency is Thika Town.

They voted for an Independent. Interestingly, even Nyeri that has always stood as an odd region by voting MPs in numerous parties, this time voters supported all the Jubilee candidates.

This also points to the failure of party leaders to understand the psychology of their voters. In some areas the political parties conducted the party primaries so badly and yet expected the voters to support candidates emerging from a fraudulent process. The consequences for the party primaries are self evident even in the strongholds of the parties.


Women reps have the highest casualty

Another surprising outcome of the 2017 election is the disastrous loss of woman reps.

Preliminary figures show that only 11 Woman Representatives have been voted back.

Seventy-seven per cent of Woman reps have been voted out.

Those who lost at party primaries and sought to run as independents did not fair any better. They lost again.

The reason for this high turn over is related to what voters think should be the role of woman representatives.

In all areas of the country, voters believe that woman reps should be “providing development”. Many voters did not vote them back because they did not “see anything” that their woman rep has done to deserve another term.


Although as legislators they have the responsibility to oversight, represent and legislate, voters in the counties think they should do more.

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