Issues and personalities to watch: Central

The Kikuyu bashing campaign that was kicked off by some leaders in LDP in 2003 when Kibaki refused to honour the Narc pre-election agreement set off a pervasive sense of paranoia in Central Province that will influence the forthcoming polls. So heavy is the fear that like in 1992 elections, the parties that aspirants get nomination in will determine whether they win or not.

During the referendum campaigns which were marked by reckless utterances from politicians on the government side and the opposition, the sense of insecurity among the Kikuyu heightened as the contest took a purely ethnic angle.

As politicians hit the road on the campaigns in the plebiscite, in certain areas of Rift Valley, people were told that the Kikuyu were planning to use the draft to dispossess the locals of their land. On the same note, pro-government elements urged Kikuyu voters to vote for the draft because those who were campaigning against the draft were actually against the community.

Among the Kikuyu, ODM, being the principle mover of the campaign against the draft constitution, took on the shape of the symbol of anti-Kikuyuism and therefore became an object of fear. Raila did not make matters better for ODM when at an Uhuru Park rally after the referendum he referred Uhuru Kenyatta and Justin Muturi as "the only good ones from among the enemies."

In the coming polls, this sense of paranoia will determine the party that will sweep the parliamentary seats in the province. As things stand now, ODM will have an uphill task in the province. The best example of what awaits ODM in Central is the fury that greeted the formation of the Charles Njonjo-Raila Odinga backed Central Kenya Initiative.

It did not take long after CKI was launched at a city hotel for politicians and ordinary citizens to take on the initiative's key movers' among them Njonjo.

But ODM's fortunes in the province could improve if Uhuru clinches the party's nomination as the presidential candidate. Uhuru could be the reassurance that will wipe out the negative image of the party in the province.

Bookmark the permalink.