Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Friday, 09 Dec 2016 13:52 EATmithikadaniel@gmail.com
Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties must be understood differently towards the 2017 elections. It has been argued severally that there's likelihood of voter apathy in the larger Mt. Kenya region resulting from the disillusionment with the Uhuruto government. That might be true. However, there can also be a total defiance and paradigm shift in voting in 2017.
Mt. Kenya East might vote for opposition leader Raila Odinga in unprecedented numbers in the coming elections. And Mr Odinga’s warm reception in the region that has faithfully voted against him sends jitters to the rivals. There is no amount of explanation from the president and his deputy that might change how the people have perceived them in four years. And the result is obvious; the elderly members of the society will chose not to vote and the youthful voters will vote to demonstrate their defiance against the government, just like the workers. Teachers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, clinicians and many others- their resolve is well known.
Deputy President William Ruto has contributed immensely to the change of mind for the people in Mt. Kenya East. His open animosity towards the governor of Meru Peter Munya, his advocacy for the county headquarters of Tharaka Nithi to move from its rightful place at Kathwana to Chuka and his involvement in the bitter Miraa issue slays the government's standing among the people of Meru.
His war against Mr Munya is seen as an attempt to block the governor from national politics, his endorsement of Chuka town as the headquarters of Tharaka Nithi being interpreted as open favouritism to Hon. Muthomi Njuki, who is running for the Tharaka Nithi governorship in 2017, and discrimination against the Tharaka community.
On the other hand, Mr Odinga seems to understand this situation. Although not all will vote for him, he will help the people of Tharaka Nithi resolve the headquarter issue, and his plea that the youth register as voters in large numbers portrays the proverbial wise fisherman who knows where to spread his fishing net.
In essence, Jubilee must brace for a tougher and more dynamic battle for votes in 2017. The coalition had better learn from Nigeria and America where establishment candidates have lost elections. The replica is possible in Kenya because Mr Odinga has consistently appealed to what the majority of Kenyans identify with in the last four years.
The writer, a graduate of Kenyatta University, is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Meru County.