With less than six months to the 2022 Kenya Presidential Elections, the country has seen various alliances. The most interesting one has been between Ford Kenya boss Moses Wetangula, Amani National Congress Party chief, Musalia Mudavadi and the Deputy President William Ruto, who is the party leader of United Democratic Alliance, most commonly known as UDA. Whereas the ardent UDA followers are celebrating this union, they can be forgiven for not knowing that despite Mudavadi and Wetangula being in UDA, Raila Odinga will still win the Luhya Vote in August 2022 general elections.
Most people will ask how is that possible? Well it has happened before. Whereas Kenyans overwhelmingly vote along tribal lines, there are various examples in the previous elections where that has not been the case. This has happened in the former Western and Nyanza provinces.
For example, whereas Musalia Mudavadi was on the ballot in the 2013 presidential elections, he was expected to win the Luhya vote. But actually, it was Raila Odinga who ended up bagging the voter-rich Western province despite the former being a Luhya himself and the latter being a Luo. To put that into perspective, imagine William Ruto, who hails from the former Rift Valley province. losing the Kalenjin vote! That will be politically fatal for him because politicians are expected to do well in where they hail from. It is like Joe Biden’s performance in the U.S state of Deleware where he comes from or Hilary Clinton (for Governor of New York) winning the presidential vote in his home state of New York. But Mudavadi failed to win the Luhya vote despite being a Luhya himself.
2013 Presidential Election: Raila Odinga Won Luhya Vote
In the 2013 presidential elections, Musalia Mudavadi ran for president under the Amani Coalition Party. This was surprising because on December 5th, 2012, Musalia Mudavadi with his United Democratic Party (UDP) had joined the Jubilee Party headed by Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. But his union only lasted a month as he ejected, teamed up with KANU, United Democratic Forum (UDF) and New Ford Kenya to form the Amani Coalition Party. The Amani Coalition was formed on January 3, 2013, a mere two months before the general elections.
Since Musalia Mudavadi was on the ballot for president, he was expected to perform exceptionally well in Western Kenya, a province which is predominantly inhabited by the Luhya community. But it was actually Raila Odinga who ended up winning the Luhya vote. At some times, he beat Musalia Mudavadi (a Luhya) two to one in Mudavadi’s perceived backyard.
For example in Kakamega County presidential vote, Raila Odinga got 303,120 votes (63% of the vote) while Musalia Mudavadi got only 144,000 votes (30%). In Bungoma County presidential vote, Raila Odinga received 185,149 votes (52.5%) while Mudavadi received only 107,868 votes (30.1%).
In Busia County, it was even disastrous for Musalia Mudavadi as Raila Odinga received more than 189,000 votes (86%) of the vote to Musalia Mudavadi’s palty 18,000 votes (18%). Imagine this is an area where Mudavadi as a Luhya himself should be expected to have an easy ride. But Raila Odinga penetrated the region like a hot knife on butter.
It was only in Vihiga County where Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi performed the same with Mudavadi receiving 82,426 votes (49%) while Raila Odinga getting 72,825 (46% of the vote). In essence, this was a statistical tie.
Based on this historical performance, then it means that the Luhya vote is more likely to go to Raila Odinga in 2022 because they do not have one of their on the ballot for president. This is because if Mudavadi performs dismally in Western Kenya when he is on the ballot, how about when he is campaigning for someone else (William Ruto) in his own backyard? It is very unlikely that the Luhyas will be more willing to vote for someone else other than Raila Odinga when they do not have one of their own on the ballot for president.
It is this reason why Mudavadi and Wetangula’s joining UDA will have no impact on stopping Raila Odinga from winning in Western Kenya. The Luhya vote will clearly go for Raila Odinga despite the propaganda perpetuated by UDA fanatics.
Raila Odinga’s Charm Offensive in Western Kenya
In Western Kenya, Raila Odinga is currently organizing an air-tight campaign that will enable him to deliver a win like he has done in previous elections. The ODM party leader is said to be using high level rapid response team including county governors from Western Kenya, Kisumu and Kisii. This includes the Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Kisumu County governor Anyang Nyong’o and the Kisii County governor James Ong’wae.
Other governors involved in popularising Raila Odinga’s presidential bid includes the Elgeyo Marakwet governor Alex Tolgos, Nakuru County governor Lee Kinyanjui, Kilifi County governor Amason King’i, Nyandarua governor Francis Kimemia and Kitui governor, Charity Ngilu. The Machakos governor Alfred Mutua has also endorsed Raila’s bid to enter State House by joining the Azimio La Umoja outfit.
The most high profile person to ever support Raila presidential run is of course the current occupant of State House, president Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. President Kenyatta formally endorsed Raila Odinga last week and then started reviving his Jubilee Party. He is expected to officially market Raila Odinga for president in Mount Kenya Region during his address from Sagana State Lodge. This event has been dubbed the Sagana III meeting.