A year and half years ago Kibaki was nearly a write-off in terms of re-election. Chances of Kibaki re-election keep getting a boost each passing day. The promising budget and economic performance of the country will be his main campaign platform. He has done well and this will be the one thing his critics will not counter successfully.
Quite unnoticed was his near-triumphant entry to Luo Nyanza last week after a successful tour of the North Rift last month. Luo-Nyanza is considered the bedrock of anti-Kibaki leadership and Kibaki has avoided touring the region like a plague since the defeat in 2005 constitution referendum. His visit was devoid of the expected jeering and booing and instead was cheering and respectful welcome. The presumed Luo-Nyanza kingpin, Raila Odinga was at hand with other regional leaders to welcome the president to their turf and some were even quoted praising Kibaki's leadership.
Kibaki has a lot of patching up to do on some key areas that may cost him a second term:
- Insecurity esp in his bedrock support of central Kenya. This region for the last two months have been terrorized and traumatised by the Mungiki adherents. Emerging clashes in other areas such as Mt. Elgon need to be cut in the bud for the Kibaki team to convince the residents that Kibaki is worth their votes.
- Arrogant and high-headedness among his generals. His key cabinet figures like Michuki and Karume is no secret that they bring more wrath than votes. Being octogenarian is a non-issue but inflexibility, dictator-tendencies, dishonesty, sleaze and such vice is unacceptable. Why would such liabilities like Kiraitu be seen to be Kibaki's key campaigners.
- Slow Infrastructural developments. Despite improvements in building infrastructure and huge budgetary allocations in this area, no secret that Kenyans are disillusioned at the slow pace of rehabilitating key road networks all over the country.
- Inconclusive anti-corruption measures: Despite the low levels of bribing taking place in public service amenities like passport applications, ID cards, chiefs, police etc the corruption perception is still high. The fact that Goldenberg and anglo-leasing theft was not dealt with conclusively is a minus for Kibaki
- DP/Narc/Narc Kenya squabbles: These are key parties linked to Kibaki's past, present and future. Even if party affiliation is deemed insignificant by Kibaki peers, it is the only vehicle that political management is enforced by Kenyans. If you are a good contractor, ability to make other people's residents magnificent, yet yours is in shambles, leaking and stinking is telling. Charity begins at home.
- Ignoring constitutional reforms. Kibaki had the golden opportunity to write Kenya's history in golden letters like the late Kijana Wamalwa would have put it. Calls for constitutional reforms were not stupid. They were grounded on a great urge to re-correct the path that Kenya as a country was taking in terms of governance, political and economic management, social needs and to reflect the ordinary Kenyans wish of how they intend to be ruled. Just because Moi was out did not mean all the constitutional needs were adequately addressed. Viewing constitutional based opposition as empty debes was wrong. Debate that Kenyans rejected the Wako draft did not necessarily mean that Kenyans said NO to comprehensive constitutional reforms. Kibaki had the chance to rise above all individual, political and sectarian interests and spearhead a conclusive and Kenyan friend constitutional reforms. In their victory, the nay-sayers of the 2005 referendum indicated acceptance of Kibaki's leadership in spearheading the reform process. He had the political and religious goodwill which he burnt up under the Mugumo tree.
- I have a feeling that Kibaki has lost touch of the ordinary mwananchi, the mwananchi's needs, worries, fears, expectations and hopes are not in his mind. Economic prosperity is a smokescreen that has deluded Kibaki and his team that all is well. They are in seven heavens forgetting that there are a myriad hells down here that need to be addressed as well.