I have come to learn that statistics are a good and bad thing and even as much as we choose to ignore them for other factors, numbers never lie.
As we approach the next election in Kenya, the numbers paint different scenarios that have left me wondering if they can change the political game in the country.
The big question is whether Kenya is ready and can actually use the numbers to change the country’s political future. The youthful population has the numbers to have a young generation of leaders and so do the women.
Last year, I looked at the new population numbers and discovered that almost six million Kenyans who were too young to vote in 2007 will have attained the voting age of 18 years by the next General Election. These are persons who were between 13 and 17 years old during the last elections. Today, they are between 16 and 20.
The gender population indicates there are 19,192,458 male and 19,417,639 females showing women are slightly more than men by 225,181. Of voting age the 38.61 million people in Kenya, 24.5 million are below 25 years. There are 16-year-olds looking forward to becoming adults of voting age by 2012 are 856,398.
After the 2010 voter registration, the numbers show that 51.25% of the 12 million Kenyans registered are male and 48.75% are female. Going by the population numbers t means that a lesser number of women are registered as voters.
According to the new Constitution, to be elected president requires receiving 50 per cent plus one of the votes cast in an election, and 25 per cent of the vote in half of the 47 counties. If no one meets this threshold, the two best performers will go to a runoff.
The latest polls show that Kenya would go for a presidential run-off if an election were to be held today
However, ethnicity and religious factors always stand in the way of unity among the youth and women, dividing them during elections.
Going back to 2002, Uhuru Kenyatta who, though a youthful candidate compared to the then leader of Official Opposition Mwai Kibaki, failed to galvanise the young generation to vote for him.
Going by the numbers, in 2012, the youth have a chance of placing a younger person in State House. Women too have their chance though their numerical strength has yet to make any impact in the country’s political history.
But even the latest opinion polls paint a different picture. For instant the most popular potential candidate, Raila Odinga, will be 67 in 2012 and is expected to vie for the presidency for the third time.
The second most popular according to the polls is Uhuru will be 51 in 2012. The Deputy Prime Minister is the expected heir apparent to Kibaki in Central Kenya when the Head of State retires in 2012.
The only female politician who has actively declared interest in the presidency is Martha Karua who will be 55 in 2012. Karua has been trailing Raila and Uhuru in most of the opinion polls begging the question if women can really place their votes in one basket.
William Ruto who will be 46 in 2012 and Eugene Wamalwa (mid 40s) are the youngest politicians who have declared interest in the presidency.
Kalonzo Musyoka will be 59 and is expected to take a second stab at the highest political office in the land in 2012 after finishing third after Raila and Kibaki in 2007.
Musalia Mudavadi, who will be 52 in 2012, was Mr Odinga’s running mate in the 2007 elections but s highly expected to go it alone this time round. One of the longest-serving vice-president George Saitoti will be 67 years in 2012.