Kenya’s Political Arithmetic

Chido Nwangwu writes about the political calculation in Kenya which culminated in the emergence of Vice President William Ruto as President-elect

”We totally without reservation reject the presidential election results…. What we saw yesterday was a travesty and blatant disregard of the constitution,” Kenya’s battle-weary opposition leader Raila Odinga said on August 16, 2022.

He promised to exercise “all constitutional and legal options” after Deputy President, Dr William Sammie Ruto, was declared the winner of the August 9, 2022 election by Kenya’s Elections and Boundaries commission.

The President of Kenya is elected  through a modified two-round system.  According to Article 138 (4)  of the Constitution of Kenya 2010,  to win in the first round, a candidate must receive over 50% of the vote nationally and 25% of the vote in at least 24 of Kenya’s 47 counties.

If there is proof of manipulation of calculations or excess  votes,  will those change the outcome in the announcement made by the controversial election commission?

Kenya’s young and charismatic 55-year-old president-elect, Ruto, has the swag appeal of a social media savvy politician. He’s also controversial arising from war-crimes allegations and charges from the 2007 elections made against him at the International Court of Justice (later dropped).

For the 2022 campaign, Ruto gained substantial support from his knowledge of governance and development strategies.

Second, he campaigned on the mainline advantages of economic progress rather than get fixated on bloody inter-ethnic group conflicts.

Third, he actualized capabilities of the young, poor fellow who overcame poverty to become, realistically, the giant killer of the corruption-ridden ‘politricks’ of the East African nation of 56 million creative people!

Ruto led a remarkable political movement away from the dominance of the two major dynasties/families in political power of Kenya: Jomo Kenyatta (first President of relatively independent Kenya) and Odinga Odinga (first Vice President of relatively independent Kenya).

Remarkably, Jomo’s son, Uhuru Kenyatta, who is finishing his second term in office was an ally of Ruto’s; Uhuru turned his back to support Raila Odinga latest unfulfilled effort to become President of Kenya.

During one of those efforts in the 1990s, Raila visited and discussed Kenya and Africa politics with me at USAfrica’s editorial headquarters in Houston, Texas. 

Now, let’s go the numbers palaver. 4 of the 7 electoral commissioners rejected the result to accuse the chairman of the commission Wafula Chebukati of engaging in a “mathematical absurdity that defies logic”.

Here’s why. The chairman’s math added up to 100.01%.

Meanwhile, sitting President Uhuru Kenyatta has not said anything about the unfolding uncertainty and tension emerging from the calculation and tally of percentages.

I know that Kenya is an important country in the geo-strategic power equation and intelligence interests of the United States.

In nearby Somalia, the radical Islamists al-Shabab remain a material danger to Kenya itself and Somalia.

Recall that almost 10 days after  the publication of the “Pandora Papers” (in October 2021) where it was revealed that Mr. Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, stashed away (with his family) $30 million US dollars in offshore accounts and secret tax havens, Biden hosted the same Kenyatta on Thursday, October 14, 2021.

Kenyatta, therefore, became the first African leader hosted at the White House by Biden.

But in an indirect dig at the controversial Uhuru and his opaque financial dealings, the White House stated, as quoted in, that the two leaders will highlight “the need to bring transparency and accountability to domestic and international financial systems…. discuss efforts to defend democracy and human rights, advance peace and security, accelerate economic growth and tackle climate change.”

You may recall that on November 18, 2021, I wrote a commentary titled, Games Nations Play: U.S, Kenya, Biden, Blinken and Uhuru. By Chido Nwangwu

I analyzed the November 2021 trip by the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to three African countries, namely: Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal. Blinken’s assignment from November 15, started with his first destination being Nairobi, Kenya — where he met with Mr. Kenyatta.

Now, the big question is: will Raila Odinga’s almost 26 years quest to become president of Kenya be collapsed into history by the consequence of a “mathematical absurdity”?

-Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica magazine and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the Internet,

Follow him on Twitter @Chido247

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