Why Western will not be swing vote region in 2022
There is a stampede by presidential candidates for the Western Kenya vote. The former Western Province has, since 1992 been a swing vote region. That is with the exception of 2013.
A swing vote is one that may go to any of a number of candidates in an election. Swing votes are intensely sought after as they play a big role in determining who wins an election.
Kenya is trumpeted as a democracy where the one person, one vote applies. But empirical evidence shows that electoral politics in Kenya is rooted in ethnicity. Tribe is the pendulum in Kenya’s electoral intercourse.
Analysis of the voting patterns by region shows that among the populous communities, only Western, Coast and Kisii-Nyanza regions vote democratically.
At different times, variegated political parties are represented and also practice diverse presidential voting.
However, the glaring reality is that since the dawn of the multiparty era Luo-Nyanza has voted for either a Luo presidential candidate or a candidate endorsed by their leaders.
The exception is the Kikuyu community which has never voted for a non-Kikuyu candidate.
For the Kalenjin, they have only voted for outsider candidates deemed to give them maximum economic favours when they were not voting for President Moi.
With the declaration of Musalia Mudavadi as a presidential candidate in the coming General-Election, Western will have one of its own son as a candidate.
When the call is made this time round, the people of Western Kenya will vote for a candidate who hails from the region.
That vote will not be tribalism but plain pragmatism and seeking to advance the region’s interests.
In any case, why must the people of Western region be held hostage to vote on the democratic tenets of “one man, one woman, one vote” as the currency of voting, while other ethnic blocs vote using the “one community, one vote”, and almost always for their own?
Those who stand on roof tops to shout about nationalism remain the ones who hold their communities on the leash of tribalism.
Western Kenya has demonstrated in the past four general elections that it is democratic to a fault.
It awaits the Kenya of other dominant communities to play catch up. It need not proof any point.
If Mudavadi has the audacity to go all the way to the presidential ballot, then make no mistake, he will sweep all the region’s votes.
The presidential race in Kenya is no picnic and it cannot be a serious contest unless one has the courage, tenacity, self-belief and capacity to put structures, networks and strategies to galvanise the rest of the country.
Money is not everything. It is the vision, the self-belief and relentless application to the cause to clinch the presidency.
Mulembe Nation will have to believe in itself to produce the fifth President of Kenya.
That presidency will never be bequeathed on the region by anyone. It will have to be fought for not just once but many times.
But the gods are smiling on Western region this coming election. Go for it. It is your Constitutional entitlement. — The writer consults with Gravio Africa. The views are his own.