With virtually every match-making exercise complete, the Kenyan political dance now takes on a more structured character as we head into election season proper. We now know that it is a two-horse race between William Ruto and Raila Odinga, each backed by supporting alliances, but with Raila's Azimio openly backed by Uhuru Kenyatta and the state apparatus. With the onboarding of Luhya leaders Mudavadi and Wetang'ula Ruto has strengthened his national credentials and gained a strong base in Western Province, but benefited less than he hoped nationwide. Raila's Azimio alliance has lost the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru but elsewhere has strengthened its position, recently winning over a very reluctant Kalonzo Musyoka. The two alliances are now neck and neck overall, with pretty much every model giving both candidates between 7.5 m and 8.5 m votes each, leaving the end result open. A narrow victory for either party is unlikely to be a comfortable outcome for Kenya.
The model below shows my prediction as to which alliance and presidential candidate will (in my opinion, based on multiple factors) win the presidential election in each county. In most cases, the leading candidate is clear, the final result will be determined by the size of their majority.
Each square is a country, irrespective of size. The layout roughly maintains geography but only roughly.
A political history of the Bukusu Luhya of Western Kenya as told through their political representatives. No 9 in the series
A review of Nairobi politics 1957-2022 from the perspective of their elected representatives.
A regional rather than ethnic study of the political history of the two districts (counties) as told through their politicians, 1961-2022.
#6: A political history of Kenya's Somali community, as told through their elected representatives, 1960-2021
A Political history of Maasailand and Samburu, as told through their elected politicians, 1958-2022.
While deputy president William Ruto lost three of his recent contests with the Azimio la Umoja [unity] alliance of Raila Odinga and lame duck incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta, he will be modestly satisfied with the results, nonetheless.
The strength of the Ruto team in the Kenyan National Assembly was much as expected when they finally pulled everyone in to vote. In a hard-fought, sometimes violent and divisive competition in which the Ruto team faced all the other assembly factions combined, they lost three of the divisions on the Political Parties Amendment Bill (two narrowly) and won one. Without all the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) sub-factions backing Azimio, they would have won all four.
Neither side had marshalled their troops properly for the first contest on 22 December, but after their first defeat and John Mbadi’s excoriating attack:
“If these Members of Parliament had numbers, they would show them. We have been told that about 150 Members are supporting a particular course. When we come to the Floor of this House, you can see the Members are hardly 20. That is why they are making noise. They know they do not have the capacity, the numbers and they do not have even the intellectual capacity to argue their case.”
Ruto’s side were stung and mobilized everyone they could.
Examining the Hansard voting records, available online, there are few surprises apart from the strong support OKA gave to Azimio. Each ethnic heartland voted with their man. A narrow majority of Kikuyu MPs voted with Ruto, but Raila has strengthened his position recently in ex-Central province. As expected, there was a full turnout from able-bodied Luo MPs in Nyanza. Almost all Moi, Kalonzo and Mudavadi supporters voted with Azimio and the Kalonzo Kamba team turned out particularly strongly.
Virtually no-one changed sides during the four votes. Only one MP, John Waluke clearly switched sides, voting Azimio on the first vote and Ruto on the next three. Two MPs (Florence Mutua, Ali Wario) somehow voted twice, once on both sides. The real difficulty was in consistently marshaling MPs to be present and to vote at all (physically or electronically). Several pro-Ruto MPs voted once or twice for their side but missed the other votes. The more diverse Azimio “side” found it even harder to whip consistently and fewer of their MPs voted in all four divisions. More than 15 Azimio supporters on the first vote on 22 December were absent from the second, third and fourth contests on the 29th, which either indicates poor whipping or conflicted loyalties. These voting tallies therefore slightly understate their strength.
A couple of previously closet Ruto allies such as Sakwa Bunyasi (ANC, Nambale) voted with UDA, but more previously pro-Ruto MPs openly changed sides - Paul Katana (ODM Kaloleni), Geoffrey Omuse (ODM, Teso South), Richard Tong’i (Jubilee, Nyaribari Chache) and Jackson Lekumontare (KANU, Samburu East) had all flirted with Ruto in the past year but now voted pro-Azimio. Two openly UDA members who had recently defected to the Ruto side (including Kuria Kimani in Molo) voted Azimio, which was curious.
A few MPs missed the divisions (e.g. Abdul Rahim Dawood, Swarup Mishra, Alfred Sambu) leaving their position unclear, but more than 95% of MPs are now declared and committed.
As predicted in June 2021, Ruto has roughly 130 of the constituency MPs, and a slightly smaller proportion of nominated and women’s representatives, giving him around 45% of the assembly. The Raila/Uhuru Azimio axis has around 118 elected and a few additional nominees (42-3%), and the third way OKA allies 36 (12%) – with Kalonzo allies numbering 18, Mudavadi 10, Gideon Moi 5 and Wetang’ula 3. No one party or alliance controls the house now. All together. Ruto can be beaten but without OKA, Azimio is in the minority.
 December 22, 2021 “NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATES”, p.19.
http://www.parliament.go.ke/sites/default/files/2022-01/Hansard%20Report%20-%20Wednesday%2C%2022nd%20December%202021%20%28A%29%20-%20Special%20Sitting.pdf and http://www.parliament.go.ke/sites/default/files/2022-01/Hansard%20Report%20-%20Wednesday%2C%2029th%20December%202021%20%28A%29%20-%20Special%20Sitting.pdf
Political Alliances of elected Constituency MPs in the Kenya National Assembly, December 2021
Note: One square is one constituency, no matter its geographical size. Counties are kept together and roughly relatively positioned, but creating an equal area map inevitably distorts physical geography significantly.
The fourth instalment in this series, covering the peoples of Embu District
Political history of Ukambani and the Kamba, 1957-2022.
As told through their elected representatives 1957-2021