Determinant issues in Kenya’s 2007 elections

General elections in Kenya elicit a wide range of emotions. 2007 will not be different and a variety of issues will come to play. It is a decisive moment for Kenya. Some of the issues that will determine 2007 elections include:

  • Will Emilio Mwai Kibaki, the incumbent president, seek a second term in office - Kibaki is widely expected to run even though he has not publicly stated as such. A decision not to run or his inability to run could shift the political stakes.
  • Will Kibaki be re-elected or will Kenya have a fourth president - If Kibaki decides to run, his chances are uncertain as the confusion caused by the government loss in the constitution referendum and the subsequent opinion polls that has shown a steady rise in his popularity.
  • Who will be ODM-Kenya, the dominant opposition political party’s presidential candidate - This has not been seen as a significant factor as long as the party stays united. But the appeal of the party could change with different luminaries in the driver’s seat.
  • Will ODM-Kenya stay together after nominating their presidential candidate or will individual ambitions tear the party apart - A united opposition has been taunted as a sure win regardless of its presidential candidate. ODM-Kenya opponents have predicted that it will not hold after they nominate their candidate coupled by mistrust among the luminaries.
  • Will there be minimum reforms to guarantee a free and fair elections - The constitution debate has undergone a complete metamorphosis since NARC promised a new constitution in a hundred days. Calls for minimum reforms were met by promises of maximum reforms and the constitution making process stalled again. Whether there will be time to make any changes will have a bearing to this year’s election.
  • Will there be a snap elections or will elections be held as per the traditional end of December - There have been whispers of a pending snap election. The strategy is credited to the government out to outwit the opposition before it organizes itself. Does Kibaki have the guts to do this and will it necessarily work out to his advantage or is it an early trip to the gallows?
  • Is the ethnic and regional voting pattern era over - Kenyans are prone to vote along tribal/regional lines depending on the political lineups of competing parties. 2002 shown that Kenyans can vote above ethnic lines. Will Kenyans sustain this trend or will they vote according to the bargains of their tribal chieftains.
  • Will it really be a two-horse race? - The political landscape today is more of a competition between ODM-K and Narc-K. Is there a chance for a third political conglomerate? What if Kibaki abandons NARC-K for NARC or a fall-out occurs in ODM-K?
  • Will Kibaki’s good and bad record in office count? - The bad will definitely be a liability. Issues regarding loss in anti-corruption war, persistent unemployment, dishonoring MOU and IPPG deals could cost him his re-election. Will he be credited for his good economic record, free education and revival of some key industries?

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