NASA Inches Closer To Jubilee Voter Number Registration
NASA is doing better in voter registration than reported.
National Super Alliance bastions could have registered slightly more voters than President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee strongholds, closer scrutiny indicates.
However, the numbers can only increase and the momentum be sustained if the four opposition captains stick together and front a joint presidential candidate against Uhuru and DP William Ruto.
IEBC statistics released on Tuesday indicate 2,164,185 voters have registered countrywide in the first three weeks of month-long listing. Central and Rift Valley — Uhuru and Ruto’s political bedrocks — were the best performing.
That means Kenya has about 17.9 million registered voters today, with five more days of registration left. However, adding registered voters in the four NASA strongholds — Nyanza, Western, Coast and Lower Eastern — may give the opposition the ‘tyranny of numbers’.
The four regions give NASA 835,529 registered voters, compared with Jubilee’s 815,840. The difference appears insignificant, 19,689 votes, meaning the two political behemoths could actually be neck and neck.
NASA’s 835,529 votes is arrived at by adding Nyanza’s 248,390, Coast’s 238,499, Western ‘s185,683 and Ukambani’s 162,957 new registrations. Jubilee’s 815,840 is the total of Central’s 318,457, Rift Valley’s 327,751 and Upper Eastern’s (Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Embu) 169,632 votes.
The other regions, including Northeastern and Nairobi that have registered 63,100 and 251,054, respectively are considered battlegrounds by both Jubilee and Cord. Overall, Rift Valley, generally considered to be in DP Ruto’s grip, recorded the highest registered voters at 497,313.
However, six counties in that region — Narok, Kajiado, Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, and Trans Nzoia — are battlegrounds and together have registered 169,562 voters.
The six counties, based on 2013 voting trends, splits its votes about equally between Uhuru and opposition chief Raila Odinga.
The month-long voter listing ends on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day. No more voting will be allowed. This analysis means the presidential contest could be won by whoever claims most of the battleground votes, and by the dynamics among already registered voters. In 2012, 14.3 million voters were registered and in 2014 another 1.5 million.
The race could also be tilted if one candidate eats substantially into the votes in his opponent’s turf. Th ere has been speculation the voter apathy in Cord strongholds has given Uhuru an upper hand in the race and Raila’s allies are fi ghting tooth and nail to correct the narrative.
“From week one, when IEBC released its fi rst report on the progress of voter registration, a narrative popularised is that Jubilee strongholds are doing better than Cord/NASA ones. They’ve thrown around percentages to back this assertion. Th is is only half the story,” ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen told the Star yesterday.
In fact, he says, ODM’s computation of week three reports shows NASA has registered 1,052,773 voter’s against Jubilee’s 893,409. Some 127, 270 voters are in battleground counties, Ong’wen said.
“The narrative that Jubilee is leading is being popularised to justify the intended manipulation of electoral outcomes and to discourage people in opposition areas from registering in an election whose results are already fi xed by the ‘tyranny of numbers’,” he said.
“As we continue to urge our supporters to register in large numbers for an unassailable victory, they need to know that history and victory are on our side.”
On Wednesday, Ruto predicted the ruling party will retain power, citing higher registration of new voters in perceived Jubilee strongholds.
“Our opponents had told Kenyans in 2013 that they would win the election, but they failed. Recently they told us the 2017 general election would be won in 30 days, depending on new voter registration fi gures. And it is now clear who, between the Jubilee Party and them, is leading in voter listing,” Ruto said.
A recent Ipsos poll indicates the only way to defeat Uhuru is to forge and maintain unity by the four opposition chiefs. In addition to Raila, they are Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya boss Moses Wetang’ula. Th e four are yet to agree on who will fl y the opposition fl ag despite an outward show of unity.
The Ipsos survey — containing several questions commissioned by the Star — reveals that a full 61 per cent of respondents are convinced that fronting one candidate, not several, would be the most potent strategy to prevent Jubilee from winning the presidential election in the first round.
In fact, the survey shows that 77 5 per cent of of those who identify with the opposition (either by political party or Cord/NASA) are strongly persuaded a joint candidate is the way to go.
Even a majority of Jubilee supporters at 53 per cent see fronting a single joint candidate as the biggest threat to Jubilee’s continuing grip on power.
The analysis of IEBC registration fi gures could leave Jubilee rethinking its position and approach if Kanu chairman Gideon Moi joins NASA.
The independence Party is yet to make public its political direction, although secretary general Nick Salat has been hobnobbing with the NASA bosses. Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto, another Jubilee critic, also appears keen to shepherd the South Rift toward NASA.
Last week he hosted a major opposition rally in his backyard. A Governor Rutto and Gideon combination could take away substantial votes from the Rift Valley, leaving Jubilee vulnerable. But Uhuru is not complacent.
The head of state has been trying to make inroads at the Coast, in Kisii and Ukambani to divide opposition bastions. Many politicians, including Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s deputy Hazel Katana.
NASA Inches Closer To Jubilee Voter Number Registration