Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Saturday, 28 Jan 2017 12:56 EATakipchumba@kenyafreepress.com
Our country's political atmosphere is saturated with effusive rhetoric. With elections around the corner, we entering a season of a cut-throat political contests where dirty cash, which was stolen from the public coffers by the current leadership across the political spectrum, is anticipated to be splashed all over.
As things stand now, there are all feasible indicators that the forthcoming general election has been broadly touted as the mother of all elections in the recent history of our native land Kenya. Politicians, I am certain, will use a myriad strategies to make sure they defend their seats or trounce their rivals. Question is, are the strategies within the confines of the law, taking into proper considerations the inalienable rights of both the voters and their political opponents?
What troubles me to the roots of my existence is the constant temerity of some politicians to spew some incendiary remarks in the political rallies. Others even hire goons to disrupt their rivals' rallies, like what I witnessed some couple of weeks ago at Ziwa centre, Soy constituency in Uasin Gishu County. That was when the incumbent governor Jackson Mandago was allegedly said to have hired some goons who were embroiled in the stirring up of a political storm that saw his closest competitor's convoy attacked at some hotspot area, based on the unfortunate happenings of the bloody 2007/8 post-election violence. The place in question was a flashpoint of the post-poll violence that almost threw this country to the dogs.
Mr Mandago's nightmares are caused by one man: Kiprop Bundotich, popularly known as Buzeki is set to give the incumbent a real run for his money. The county's gubernatorial aspirant is well-heeled. He rolls in money, they say. Meaning, he can finance his campaign comfortably, contrary to what his political arch-rival, Mr Mandago's expectations.
I attended one of his recent rallies across the county and sought opinions from the county voters. All I learnt is, the gentleman has some formidable political force, plus conspicuous charisma that could hit the ground moving. Some of Mr Mandago's strong supporters are beginning to change their allegiance from the governor. With Buzeki in the race, some local pundits are expecting that Mr Mandago will be a hard sell.
Uasin Gishu county is cosmopolitan, with the Nandis being predominant. This, in my opinion, could swing the vote either way. Which implies that any serious candidate worth his/her salt must do all it takes to get support of the Nandi. It must not be forgotten that the party that the people in this county mostly identify with is Jubilee Party.
The business community, other tribes inhabiting the county, and a large section of the predominant Nandi have rallied their support behind Buzeki, the regional business mogul (scantily rumoured to the DP's “project”) who will be seeking the elective post on a Jubilee Party ticket. What this portends is, the incumbent could lose his seat to Mr Buzeki, especially if the varied people's opinion is anything to go by.
Governor Mandago is primarily banking on the predominant community's political back-up to defend his seat. However, the reality on the ground seems to be suggesting a totally different story. His “support base” is enthusiastically and rapturously singing pro-Buzeki songs and openly chanting anti-Mandago slogans. An apparent pointer that the incumbent could face some tough resistance from the electorates; who feel marginalised and excluded by the county government of Mr Mandago.
And yes, this is precisely what emboldened his political competitors desperately salivating for the highly coveted top county leadership position. So, having smelled a waft of wind signalling political defeat in the next poll, the tough-talking and chest-thumping governor is now resorting to disruptive politics, though behind the scenes.
On whether this grotesque and backward tactics will salvage his waning political popularity in the county or not, is yet to be seen. Nonetheless, methinks this style of doing things will work against his quest for re-election; for many electorates consider such primitive tactics as 'premature politics' that have no place in a civilised society. Moreover, this will give his opponents sympathy votes!
Unless the governor changes his political pattern, he stands a slim chance of defending his seat. His opponents for sure are spoiling for a real titanic political contest, which will first be witnessed in the forthcoming party primaries. Mr Jackson Mandago knows pretty well that, “it's not yet over until the fat lady sings”.
Kipchumba is a staff writer/columnist at the Kenya Free Press