Major Events leading up to Kenya Elections 2017

The world is aware that Kenyans will be heading for the ballot on August 8th, 2017. Kenya Elections 2017 has been searched a thousand times given the heated rivalry between the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and the opposition stalwart Raila Odinga who is running on his Orange Democratic Party ticket backed by National Super Alliance.

Raila Odinga had taken to court to stop the printing of presidential ballots claiming that there was a plot to rig the election. The court ruled in their favour, a decision that was reversed after IEBC appealed the case.

President Uhuru Kenyatta boycotted presidential debate 2017. This decision by the president left the former prime minister Raila Odinga on his own to sell himself to Kenyans.

The deputy president appeared on the media to claim that they were being blackmailed into debates. Despite the indication that Uhuru would not attend the debate, the presidential debate organising committee went ahead to advertised the debate.

Deputy president also missed the running mates debates. The running coalition passed the opportunity of live coverage with more than 9milion Kenyans watching the debate.

The major events in the 2017 elections also include the military involvement in the 2017 Kenya election which the opposition party opposed. The revelations came in the wake of the claim that Jubilee had plans to rig the elections. The cabinet secretary has played down NASA claims and branded the document presented as fake and fabricated to instil fear in the minds of Kenyans

Kenyans took to social media to condemn printing of extra 1milion presidential ballot papers. Dr Akuro Aukot, running on a less popular third-way alliance called on the IEBC to destroy additional ballots saying it was a recipe for disaster. All social media requests fell on deaf ears.

The murder of ICT director Chris Musando less than ten days to the election raised concerns about the credibility of the elections. The authorities are yet to unravel the mystery on who killed him and why? Many questions are being asked including who stands to benefit from the death of the man in charge of the security of the IEBC voting system.

Kenya Elections 2017. What you Need to Know This Week

Curtains will be coming down on Saturday 5th August for all political aspirants required to halt campaigns as Kenyans head for the ballot on the 8th of August.

Christopher Musando, A senior IEBC official, went missing after television interview last week. He is yet to be found. This happened when the IEBC prepared to test its voting kit. His disappearance raises questions to the credibility of the election given that he is the ICT director at the commission.

The motive behind an intrusion into Deputy President William Ruto’s Sugoi home is yet to be known. The lone attacker held the police to a 19-hour standoff before he was eventually neutralised. It remains unknown whether the attack is related to the forth coming elections.

Fake news continues to reign havoc at a critical time in Kenya. Propagandists have taken advantage of the free social media to instil fear through false news into the mind of voters. Nation Media has published tips to detecting fake news in its local dailies.

Bus Stations have seen a swelling demand for transportation as Nairobi dwellers leave the city with fear of violence before, during and after the elections. However, Nairobi’s ODM gubernatorial candidate who is also the sitting governor pleaded with the town dwellers not to travel insisting that their votes are paramount in bring change to the country. He asked his supporter to adopt bus stations and stop people from moving at this critical time.

It is a week ahead of the start of the 2017/18 premier league season which will be flagged off with a community shield match between FA cup winners Arsenal and the premier league champions Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium. The premier league remains a very popular league in Kenya with top teams enjoying a huge following.

Why Kenya Presidential Debate 2017 Failed. Media Is to Blame

I religiously went home last evening full of hope. I was particularly happy just thinking of how the Kenya presidential debate 2017nwould be. I had this idea in my head that I have an opportunity to make a decision who to vote for.

Unfortunately, Presidential running mates in Kenya just ignored a call to debate even after months of preparation and subsequent communication with respective campaign teams.

Only one little know running mate Eliud Mathiora showed up, took to the podium to tell the country why they have the perfect solution to the Kenya. Kenyans on social media fell in love with him. I think he did well. He may not ascend to power this time, but he will remain in voters minds as one who had the courage to present himself for scrutiny of his agenda.

The lone debater confirmed that there had been consistent communication between the organising committee and the campaign teams

Snubbing the debates began with front runners to the presidential seat boycotting an earlier scheduled debate. President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga cited non-consultation, and they were not privy to the rules of engagement.

However, the organising committee of the Kenya Presidential Debate 2017 refutes the claims and further reiterated that there had been consultations with the respective campaign teams.

It seems politicians are not afraid of what the media can do. They are used to status quo of attending many public rallies and rant false statements and propaganda against each other. The media on the, on the other hand, does not recognise the potential and influence they possess.

Politicians do not want to have a single platform to explain to the entire nation at the same time why they should be elected. They want to stand on a platform in the towns to be cheered as they attack their opponent with meagre propaganda.

The snubbing of the debates can be seen as failed attempt by concerned Kenyans to hold leaders accountable. However, the failed presidential debates are just but the beginning of a new norm.

Candidates can boycott standing in front of the nation to articulate their ideologies to the country, but it won’t be long, they will have to account for every decision they made while in power.

The Shift

The political landscape is changing. Very fast indeed. The rise of social media has placed Kenyans physically apart, but they are closer than ever. Voters can synthesise and discuss issues on social media pages.

Presidential debate failure last night was the beginning of something very great that will shape the leadership of this nation. Leaders will be held into account. I see a country that is headed in the right direction.

The only thing that the organising committee must do is never give up. They should continue offering a platform for Kenyans to know their leaders and be able to make a choice away from tribal, religious or gender affiliations.

Here is the plan

The focus should shift from covering allegations and responses on propaganda and non-issues to focus on what brings change. Weed out “Nasa hawa” and focus on “We’ll bring free improve health for every Kenyan and Free education.”

The media should stop being a conduit for allegation and responses. They should rather focus on national matters that the leaders have in their manifestos. Boycott to report about what Jubilee said about Nasa and focused on what Jubilee said about the people. If allegations are made against either camp, we need journalists pressing these leaders to provide proof. With proof ask the other team to respond with proof.

If the media do some quality reporting and upholding top level reporting, then the politician will be very very afraid of the reporters.

What Kenyans Need to Know Now

Our founding fathers wanted a fair country. A country where everyone, regardless of gender orientation, age or faith, had equal opportunity to pursue and achieve happiness in the lives. They envisioned a stronger future society that would thrive under democratic capitalism and economic equity. They hoped for a community that was empowered to exercise their freedom and constitutional right to decide who governs them.

Every Kenyan has an equal chance to pursue happiness in their lifetime and contribute to improving the livelihood of generations to come. What our freedom fighters would like to see is:

  • A country free of ailments for infants and mothers. that is why we need free access to Medicare
  • A democratic nation guided by national values. They wanted to see citizens who were passionate about their country and ready to defend it.
  • A diverse nation that disagrees to agree. A country of 42 tribes that coexisted peacefully harmoniously
  • A country that presents an equal opportunity for both men and women to compete and pursue their interests without fear

I believe and share in the vision of those who laid the foundation of this great nation. The selflessness of our founders gave us an equal chance to compete on the same level as every active citizen in the entire country.

I have an equal constitutional right to chase my dream of becoming independent and self-sufficient. I have the same opportunity to contribute towards making America comfortable now and even stronger for the generations to come.

For my family and friends, they all have that chance to participate in making the dream a reality. It is the prerogative of everyone who shares the belief and values of the America to take their part in the making of history.

There will be people who do not share the same values and would want to see Kenya fail, but it’s the duty of those of us who believe in the spirit of equity and equality to prove otherwise.

The Kenyan democracy may be the only hope to the realization of the dream through the formation of governments that are inclusive and just and fair to all. We may share varied opinions as regards power, but the ability to accommodate those who differ with and forge ahead as a country is what makes us great.

Although our democracy may seem hijacked by a few selfish and corrupt individuals, our ability to stand up to them and say no is what will make the next generation stronger?

Why 2017 is a Great Year

Decisions are taking a different course. Apparently North Korea is poking USA with missile tests and USA didn’t ask Russia permission to bomb airfields in Syria which wasn’t good taste for the Russians and then there is this tension. Are we heading to WW3? But look at this positively. People are doing whatever they do to secure their interests.

We need to change how we think about power and politics. I am in awe of what has just hapenned the last six months in the political spectrum. From the US trump triumph to France to Brexit and Cameron exit, to the drama in Gambia and DRC and now elections in Kenya. South Koreans ousted their president and she is heading to prison faster than thought.

In 2016, I spent sweet time hating and tweeting hatred about @realdonaldtrump (now @POTUS) the current occupant of the whitehouse I was cock sure he was not going to win. I supported and retweeted every negative sentiment written about trump by the New York Times, huffingtinpost and the wall Street Journal.

Pollsters indicated a landslide win for democrat nominee who was endorsed by the outgoing president. And the Americans said no, they wanted to make America great again. And boom!! 2017 began with Americans handing power to perhaps the most inexperienced businessman who never held a political office before. Democrats, president Obama, New York Times editorial board and me, we were all wrong. Then the democrat, being democratic, conceded defeat and I’m left with my mouth open. “Who concedes defeat in Africa?” I tend to think conceding is unafrican.

Look here, in Gambia the other day, the sitting president was voted out and he conceded defeat and then he changed his mind when he realized he was in Africa. Then he was forcefully removed from office. This is my interpretation, he wanted to buy time to loot and he did.

Kenya is voting in 2017. The second election in the new constitution dispensation. Kenya adopted a new form of leadership and introduced new positions for politicians which I think was a plot to swindle us. And then created counties for equitable resource distribution which I feel was great.  But then there is something new that is developing in the Kenyan political landscape. Having to vie in certain area is like a direct ticket. So the battle ground is slowly shifting from the actual elections to election primaries.

What is being witnessed in 2017 primaries is something unique. I feel democracy is taking shape especially after seeing seasoned political bigwigs floored in their respective offices. Some are still in office but they can’t guarantee themselves a seat in parliament or senate after the next general elections.

Its high time politicians start thinking seriously about the people. The will of the people has the power over ego and wealth and arrogance that has consistently been seen among Kenyan politicians. Kabogo has been shown the door. The wealthy Kiambu Governor won’t be defending his seat on his favourite party. That’s milestone for the people of Kiambu County. We need more counties to take the same action for thieves who have failed in their mandate to the electorate.

Polls Don’t Decide an Election, Kenyan Voters Do.

The whole of 2007,  I worked as an interviewer with the then Steadman. My friend David introduced after he was introduced by another schoolmate who was leaving to join armed forces. This was the year that succeeded my high school, and I wasn’t sure whether I would go to college. Steadman offered me an opportunity to collect data from the field on their behalf, and I obliged. It was a rare opportunity since people complained of the polls saying they have never been interviewed. I had a chance to be on the other side.

It was an incredible journey I must say. The pay was better than my previous job, so I was happy to work for them. Steadman, now Ipsos Synovate, had already become a household name in research and market analysis here in Kenya. Every politician wanted to know what the people thought of them. There was a general feeling that polls swayed votes and possibly, I think, these polls had an effect on the aftermath of the election.

How were samples selected for an interview? No idea but this is how we handled the interviews. We did interviews per household in most cases. On rear occasions, we could target individuals in the families. The work was tiresome with strict rules. It was worse where we had to do structured sampling to interview particular persons with attributes such as gender, age group, and education level. Sometimes I spent the whole day to do only four or five questionnaires.

The number of questions in the survey was dictated by the volume of information needed. Most political polls were accompanied by market studies on particular products with election-related issues embedded in the polls. Here is what you do not know about this job. Much of what we did in the field was never announce to the media. Only political related sections of the questionnaires were published. The other data was directed to the relevant company that sponsored the event. There was no single day we did polls purely without a product embedded in the questionnaires.

The major interviews that I did revolve around market survey such as which media house was dominant! Products that are consumed every day and the other was on mobile phone networks among others. The exercise took two to three days to cover the entire region. Day one I could go to one location, day two to another location soon as colleague also did the same. The locations were predetermined from the head office, and we did not have control where we went to collect data.

This is the time I got to know various places in remote Kwale County where I also met people living lives that you would not want to be associated with. I went to villages that were a couple of miles behind. I remember one village where there was no single toilet in the entire village. If you ask them, they say, we use the nearby bushes.

Exit Poll

After a successful stint with Steadman, it was time to go back home and also consider our choices. It was the usual festive season. You know December holidays and stuff. We were all Kenyans with a constitutional duty to take part in the electoral process. It is a democratic right. Much of what I had in my mind was generous support people had for Raila and the desire and expectation of the populous after that. However, there was another opportunity that showed up; an exit poll for Infotrack this time.

Source: Unknown

The representative from Nairobi called me and asked if I could be available the next day, which was voting day, to do a survey at a remote polling station in Kwale. I readily accepted since I was free. It was a unique type of a study. It was engaging, intense and feedback was required every one hour through a mobile phone. This survey had nothing to do with a market or the market competition and dominance. It was purely what the people had voted. It was like people were voting again after leaving the polling station.

It was highly structured. I had ten questionnaires to fill the whole day. I was required to spend the night in the surrounding area so as to be at the polling station at 6 am, present myself to the presiding officer before stationing myself just outside the gate. The place was remote just like the village I described in the typical morning in a coastal suburb. I had a badge ready prepared for me from Nairobi, and a letter from relevant authorities addressed to electoral commission allowing me to carry out the survey. In case I had challenges, I was a phone call away from my bosses.

I was required to interview the first voter who stepped out of the polling station regardless of the gender and age. After that, I was to interview every fifth citizen. If the first vote was male, then the second respondent was to be a female who should be the fifth vote. After I finish with one, I start counting again. The fifth I was to do a preliminary interview to determine whether they were eligible or not. Now the age came in. It was a tedious exercise.

Before this day, I spent the evening with friends discussing the possibilities of the outcome. One thing was sure. Raila was going to floor Kibaki. The basis of this thinking among my friends was the recent poll results that indicated Raila as a favourite. I was with George, who profoundly thought Raila was going to win one question. What if Raila loses? You can be so sure that he will win. He looked at me and said in a loud voice, “Kenyans are not stupid. This is a definite pass for Raila. Kibaki is heading home” My next question to him was, have you ever had anywhere in Africa a sitting president leaving office before his term? He obviously got emotional and left.

Back to the remote area. I diligently did my work. I initially thought this was easy work. I thought I would be done by 11 a.m. I had done eight questionnaires by 4 p.m. I had two more, and I was tired. The area I went was predominantly Kamba infested. However, out of 10 polls with three candidates on the ballot box, nine questionnaires favoured Raila and only one vote forKalonzo. No one voted Kibaki despite being the sitting president.

My question to you is, “why are you so sure that if you support a particular candidate, everyone is supporting them?” Here are some things I have learned. Constitutionally, a president can only be in office for two terms. I have never seen anyone unseat a sitting president in Africa. We would write history if we sent Uhuru home in 2017. What makes you so sure that he will win? Polls. Raila lost in 2007, and we started destroying our property and life. We cannot afford that this time. Always leave room for the unexpected, be sober and act wisely at all times.

Oooh! Moreover, that marked the end of my interviewer career at Steadman and Infotrack because what happened early 2008 is down in history as the worst election ever witnessed in the country. I lost my job because there was no business anymore.