During the 2007 elections, despite commanding a large following, Kibaki’s PNU lost Kasarani Constituency for failing to adopt “negotiated democracy” which could have helped a void the splitting of votes. PNU carried the Presidential vote with Kibaki getting 63,370 (54%) against Raila (ODM) got 48,431 (42%) but lost the Parliamentary seat after one of the aspirants jumped ship.
Ongoro (ODM) won the seat with 41,342 with Ndirangu who decamped from PNU to Ford People coming in second with 37,256. The PNU candidate who was nominated controversially got 17,698 and came in third. If PNU had tamed the fallout, it is clear that fielding a single Kibaki-friendly candidate could have helped the party secure the seat.
As parties prepare for nominations this week, Uhuru’s TNA seems to be headed to the same pit that PNU fell into. This, in my observation, will deny the party enough Parliamentary seats despite Uhuru looking poised to get a majority of votes in Nairobi and the Mt. Kenya region.
TNA strategists appear to be asleep and seem not bothered to engage their aspirants with the possibility of having some of them drop out in favour of the stronger candidates. I don’t understand why the TNA strategists appear blind to a clear fact that there are too many positions that they can use to have aspirants negotiate and back one of their own instead of having everyone run.
If I was in the TNA leadership, I would gather the parliamentary aspirants and create a strong team that can easily campaign not just for the presidential candidate but also the governorship and senatorial candidates. Given that most of these aspirants are professionals, it would be easy to have an agreement between the designate governor and them that he/she will consider them first for his “cabinet”.
A governor will appointment a maximum of 10 people to the County Executive Committee, once elected. Some of these aspirants fit the bill and TNA would benefit more by having them not run in the elections and instead dedicate their energy, resources and time in campaigning for the party’s governorship candidate.
Word is that ODM and Cord in general has adopted this kind of approach to the elections especially in cosmopolitan areas such as Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa. This is the reason why you do not have a crowded field of aspirants in some of these areas in that side of the political divide.
There are growing indications that Uhuru is poised to win the Presidency but his operatives seem to be blind to the realization that he may be a handicapped President if they so not command the majority in Parliament. TNA appears to have concentrated more on the Presidency and paid little attention to the other positions. On the flip side, Uhuru’s running-mate Ruto’s URP appears more organised if reports from his strongholds are anything to go with.
This, in my opinion and believe other observers would agree, will definitely give Uhuru a head-start in the presidential race but TNA’s lack of focus will weaken his presidency if Jubilee wins.