The intrigues surrounding Jubilee victory

Jubilee's William Ruto (Left) and President elect Uhuru Kenyatta (Right) at the Catholic University on March 9, 2013. Photo/DIANA NGILA (NAIROBI)

What you need to know:

  • Kenyatta appears to have learnt from the mistakes of Kibaki and put measures in place to secure a win

Marshalling home ground support, strict party discipline and reaching out to political allies with massive influence on voters was a strategy President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta employed to win the State House race.

Slap in a little bit of arm-twisting members of fringe parties in Mt Kenya region, occasional cajoling and drawing vocal supporters of opponents to his side while keeping a close eye on his rival worked perfectly for the man who is set to officially take over as Kenya’s fourth President on March 26.

Mr Kenyatta, it seems, learnt a lesson from the chaotic and last minute crafting of President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity in 2007 and did not want to take any chances with his own State House bid. That, perhaps, explains why he did not take over one of the numerous political parties after ditching Kanu.

At his disposal was PNU, which unfortunately was firmly in the hands of the late Internal Security minister George Saitoti. He could also have chosen from the United Democratic Forum or the Alliance Party of Kenya that were established by his allies.

As he bid his time, he teamed up with Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, former Eldoret North MP William Ruto, who was revitalising the United Democratic Movement (UDM), and former Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa who was looking for an exit from Ford Kenya under the amorphous grouping of G7 Alliance.

The aim of the alliance was to rally Kenyans behind their team and agree on one presidential candidate to face off against Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader.

According to Mr Ruto, who is the deputy President-elect, each of the leaders in the alliance was to form his own political outfit, carve out parts of the country and take control of voters. Mr Ruto took over UDM, Mr Musyoka brought on board the Wiper Democratic Party, Mr Wamalwa gained control of New Ford Kenya as Mr Kenyatta crafted The National Alliance (TNA).

“Each one of us has to go out there and market his party in a region where he has influence. At the end, we will come to a round table, empty the votes we have in our baskets and agree on who should be our flag bearer. We want to have enough votes in our basket to win the elections in the first round,” he during an interviews at his Trans National Bank offices.

And out they went. Mr Kenyatta targeted the Mt Kenya region with a message to voters that they should never repeat the mistake of 2007 when they put their “eggs in different baskets” which nearly cost the region the presidency.

Instead, he urged leaders of small parties to wind them up and join TNA. Some heeded his call to join the dove party while others like APK and GNU of Mwangi Kiunjuri opted to run their own campaigns but agreed to support his bid.

Mr Kenyatta chose to work with youthful politicians who were not MPs to avoid hardline positions of seasoned politicians. He finally conquered the region, leaving little room for Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua and Kenya National Congress’ Peter Kenneth.

Mr Ruto targeted the Rift Valley, pulling them away from Mr Odinga’s ODM. He also targeted pastoralist communities in the North Rift, North Eastern Kenya and the Coast. These areas became his constituency. Mr Musyoka concentrated his efforts in Ukambani while Mr Wamalwa took charge of Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties.

“Those areas are adequate to make one of the leaders in G7 a president of this country. For you to win the next elections, your coalition must at least master 7 million votes,” said Mr Moses Kuria, one of the aides of Mr Kenyatta.

However, Mr Ruto’s control of UDM ran into difficulties in December 2011 and he founded the United Republican Party. Mr Kenyatta launched TNA in May last year and said that was the vehicle he would use to launch his presidential bid.

But the alliance was soon rattled with internal wars pitting Mr Musyoka against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto who, in their private moments, raised questions about his commitment and contribution to their cause. It was just a matter of time before the alliance split.

Between June and September last year, the rain started beating the alliance. They had just embarked on informal talks about power sharing if they were to go to the polls as a team.

Given the support they had marshalled, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were categorical that they hold primaries and whoever won would become the flag bearer and the loser the running mate.

They offered Mr Musyoka the position of Majority Leader in Parliament and floated Speaker position to Mr Wamalwa. But the two men termed the developments as a slap in the face and threatened to walk away. And they did so in a huff.

Mr Musyoka teamed up with Mr Odinga under the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy as running mate while Mr Wamalwa joined the Amani Coalition of deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi.

Mr Kenyatta took all this in stride and started talks with Mr Ruto with the aim of forming a pre-election coalition and they finally succeeded in October last year under the Jubilee Coalition. Mr Kenyatta became the coalition’s presidential candidate with Mr Ruto as the running mate.

Some sections of the Kalenjin community resisted at first but the tenacious Ruto won over them later. This alliance guaranteed Mr Kenyatta votes in Mt Kenya, the vote rich Rift Valley, most parts of NEP and parts of the Coast. These areas alone are estimated to hold at least 6 million of the 14.3 million registered voters.

With the International Criminal Court (ICC) question hanging over their heads, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto sought out Mr Mudavadi in December 2012, in an arrangement that fizzled after Mr Kenyatta disowned a deal to support Mr Mudavadi for the presidency and forged ahead on their own.

The Jubilee Alliance then advanced a theme of ‘digital vs analog’ generations in a bid to lure millions of youth votes to their side. They were categorical that time had come for politicians born before Independence (analogue) to retire to pave way for the post-Independence generation (digital).

These campaign efforts appear to have yielded fruit, giving Mr Kenyatta more than 6 million votes and setting him on the way to becoming Kenya’s fourth president.