2022 is fast approaching and the Kenyan political scene is heating up. The past three general elections have been marred with recurrent inconsistencies by the electoral bodies and a widening rift between the political divide. Election fatigue or not, its almost certain that we are gearing up for another battle of wits, intellect and ‘numbers’ come 2022.
Events unfolding since the Uhuru-Raila handshake on March 9th have delicately poised the forthcoming election, with different political heads flexing their might, rubbing shoulders as each day goes by. Lawyer and political analyst Derrick Okelo, 24, sat with the Campus Magazine to provide an insight on the possibilities between now and the election,
“Its one with very interesting twists.” He starts, as we settled down for the chat, at the Chege Kibathi law firm in Nairobi. Okello oozes enthusiasm throught the interview as he made clear the political picture that many Kenyans find blurry.
“The handshake has left many Kenyans with questions. It happened so fast that even politicians already in government at the time were shocked. Maybe it marked the end of the Kenyatta and Odinga dynasties that have dominated the Kenyan scene since we got our independence.” He adds.
The handshake could either be signifying the end of the two dynasties or the formation of a more powerful front that would certainly strongly challenge for state house.
“It might also signify that the two have decided to go into the race as a team.” He continues.
That would mean that the constitution be altered to create new positions and allow for a president to run for a third term. It would be a decision that might not sink well with some politicians and voters allied to either Uhuru or Odinga.
“We are talking about political sides who once fought each other, abused each other and made enemies to the extent of having two Swearing in ceremonies.” Okello says, “who are now forced to agree fundamentally.”
The new friendship between Uhuru and Raila has left one of Uhuru’s most staunch supporters in the 2013 and 2017, William Ruto out in the cold. Or so it seems. A war of words has justified this with Ruto claiming that the handshake is a mockery of what the Jubilee government stands for.
“This is a man who strongly supported Raila in 2007, to the extent of claiming the results were cooked in favour of Mwai Kibaki. He now faces an old ally in a race for the presidency.”
Ruto who has been at the centre of many graft cases, has come out throwing tantrums at the former Prime Minister, who has played the role of whistle blower, being the opposition leader.
“Ruto can never be ignored. He makes a strong case every time his name pops up in the political circles.” Okello affirms. He however shows uncertainty in the support Ruto will receive from Central Kenya, with the inroads he’s been making in the region. This happening amidst a clear disagreement between him and the president, who commands a large following in Central Kenya.
“Its a very challenging situation for him.” Says Okello, “because he will have a hard time picking the right people to trust. People that would spearhead his campaign in an area with a huge political influence”
This quagmire has however not erased the questions that Kenyans have regarding the electoral body that will handle the coming election.
“We have bodies that really have showed no totality in their operations. Samuel Kivuitu, Isak Hassan and Wafula Chebukati have overseen elections that have led to bloodshed, death and even suggestions of secession.” Okello points out.
As much as the political scene is warming up for the race for statehouse come 2022, it still remains to be seen whether the body in charge will defy all odds and actually deliver.
Disrupted school schedules, violence, police brutality, high death rates and tribalism have been the hallmarks of the previous three elections. Kenyans however are optimistic that this will all change in the coming election, and that finally a new dawn will be seen.
“People are hopeful. The youth have learnt their lessons and I believe we are going to pick the right people to lead us into a new era.” Okello concludes.