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IEBC: When a Runoff Becomes The Proverbial Case of The Last Kicks of A Dying Horse

Updated on March 10, 2013

With every tally of the Kenya Presidential elections that the IEBC announces and projects on the Big Screen at the National Elections Tallying Center at the Bomas of Kenya, the possibility of deciding the 2013 Kenya Presidential elections by a runoff between the two leading presidential contestants becomes more than a mere probability. Everyone's conclusion is that a runoff between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga is inevitable, and the IEBC should brace itself to judge a runoff.

By the time of writing this piece, each candidate has garnered over 25% in more than half of the total counties in Kenya, thus safely mounting the first hurdle in this monumental Kenyan Presidential election. It is the second constitutional provision that is however becoming a hard nut to crack. Whilst Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta seems to have taken a permanent and steady lead over Raila Odinga, garnering the requisite 50 plus 1 percent of the total votes cast has become a problematic hurdle-so far. Thus occasioning the possibility that a runoff is inevitable.

Whilst the two opposing camps have remained cool and mum as the results slowly trickle in at the Bomas of Kenya, there is every indication that they are probably sitting behind their political think-tanks drafting campaign strategies for a second take of the IEBC Presidential campaigns. Most of the inferior competition, who had come to be known as 'donkeys', have already conceded defeat, leaving the two 'horses' to splint the final mile.

It is a mile which however lacks a clear winner at hand, leaving everyone to wonder what are the chances that either Mr. Raila Odinga or Uhuru Kenyatta emerges victorious in case of a runoff. An honest answer from someone who have studied the voting trends would be that Mr. Raila Odinga has very slim and infinitesimal chances of trumping Uhuru Kenyatta during a runoff.

We however do not expect Mr. Raila Odinga to concede defeat without invoking that section of the constitution which requires his opponent to garner 50% plus 1 of the total votes cast. He would rather face it off in a runoff that he is damn sure to lose than let Mr. Uhuru have it the easy way! His decision will mostly be influenced by an ego that makes him myopic as to the reality on the ground, which is a clear win for Mr. Kenyatta. In whichever case, however, his will be a case of the proverbial last kicks of a dying horse.

Mr. Kenyatta has proved that he has a backing of the majority of the population in the country. Nothing is clear evidence to this other than the fact that he has already garnered 25% of the votes in more than 31 of the 47 counties in the country.

It is Mutahi Ngunyi, a media practitioner with one of the leading media houses in Kenya who maybe stands as the star of the moment. Late last February, Mutahi, in a piece carried by the Daily Nation Newspaper had predicted that Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta would win the elections in the first round. He is the proponent of what everyone has come to call the Kenyan Tyranny of Numbers. And though with the possibility of a runoff his theory might not have stood stock-still, it is clear to see why his maths have failed to add up. More than 2 million Kenyans did not participate in this 2013 IEBC presidential elections. There has also been a massive number of spoilt votes in this election; factors which might work to deny Uhuru Kenyatta a first round political knock-out on Raila Odinga.

There are enough reasons as to why Raila should not even think of petitioning this election. Kenyans have decided and they are not going to change their time and chose the Vitendawili man. In fact, in the case of a petition or a runoff, Mr. Odinga will most probably lose some of his supporters in the more neutral states to the strongest 'horse'.


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