This time next week, four things are likely to be happening in Kenya.

One, Jubilee Party flag bearer President Uhuru Kenyatta or opposition Nasa frontman Raila Odinga will be toasting to victory in the elections.

Two, one of them will be licking his wounds.

Three, both of them could fail to get the over 50 per cent slice of the vote needed to win the presidency.

And four, if the worst case scenario comes to pass, we shall be hiding under our beds trembling, lights off, as election violence rages down the streets.


But if one leans back to reflect, for all the dramatic things being said, and the loud electoral war drums, at base this is probably the most inconsequential and boring Kenyan election of the last 15 years.

It is nothing on the scale of December 2002.

First, there were quite a few surprises. Daniel arap Moi, who had ruled with a firm hand for 24 years, and was not as far away from a natural democrat as any politician could be, threw in the towel, and oversaw a free vote.

The result was that it was an epochal election. It was the end of an era. It ended independence party Kanu’s 38-year-old run in power. With the opposition’s Mwai Kibaki winning, it was also the first post-independence transition of power to an opposition party at the polls in East Africa.

The victorious National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), also offered up the largest democratic coalition that Africa had seen outside South Africa.

There was talk of a “Second Liberation”. Kenya was to be “rebuilt”. Its “lost glory to be restored”.

There was a lot of institution building to be done. A new enlightened constitution to be written. And Kenya’s place on the global stage to be filled again.

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