April 2017

Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu and incumbent Kiambu Governor William Kabogo.Waititu (Baba Yao). Waititu garnered 353,604 votes against Kabogo’s 69,916 votes in the just concluded Jubilee Primaries.
In the aftermath of the just concluded party primaries, there are lots and lots of lessons we have learnt as Kenyans. The ensuing results were both surprising and unexpected.

Majority of the outcomes signaled a generational and ideological realignment in the Kenyan political scene. In one way or another, the end product highlighted some fundamental truths about the Kenyan voter, lessons that political leaders should heed beyond these primaries.

Even though the primaries had their own issues of electoral malpractices and at times outright rigging, the people’s general will prevailed in most of these cases.

Amongst the lessons we need to carry with us include:-

1. Wanjiku is unforgiving and never forgets.

Politicians fond of playing games with Wanjiku have to brace themselves for her ‘nyaunyo’ when her time to make decision comes. Wanjiku this time showed us that she can be very ruthless towards politicians known to cheat on her, disrespect or mishandle her.

As a politician, always mind your language. Always match your actions with your words because when the people say no, nothing can change that.

2. Never lose touch with Wanjiku.                    

The primaries also taught us that one can never afford to lose touch with Wanjiku. Wanjiku needs to ‘feel’ you even when you aint there. These primaries can be viewed as a form of protest vote, a kind of whip to punish the ‘wrong doers’.

The vote was Wanjiku’s language to declare who is boss and those who had lost touch with the electorate were humiliated and shown the door.

Candidates who were able to captivate their audience’s attention and achieve an emotional connection with the electorate carried the day.

Politicians must resonate with Wanjiku. Politicians must be there to share her triumphs and her pains. Wanjiku wants politicians who are part of their lives.

(Related story: Wanjiku’s Wrath! Thika ‘Broom’ Sweeps All MCAs Except One.)

3. It is possible.

The primaries saw so many political big shots floored by very little known aspirants despite of their political and financial muscle. 

However much these political bigwigs tried to hold ground, it was apparent that the ground couldn’t hold.

You can make it only if you try.

4. Never underestimate your opposition.

Among the renown politicians who lost in the just concluded nominations did underestimate the strengths of their opposition. Some of the newcomers were taken to be meek and very harmless by being greenhorns in the political arena.

However, having been aware of their shortcomings, the newcomers presented themselves directly to the electorate and sold their ideas one on one. They endeared themselves to Wanjiku and ended up being a darling to the electorate.

Always keep your ears on the ground and never lose focus. You may not know what hit you in the first place.

5. Know the demographics of your area.

Politicians who generalised issues during their campaigns lost ground in some areas as each region is unique in its own rights.

Candidates who scored most were those who were very conversant with the challenges and needs of their electorate. Things worked so well especially for those who used locals to spearhead the agenda in each area. By ignoring or failing to address social issues meant that they lost touch with the disgruntled locals.

At times politicians got rejected by the electorate just for the mere reason that those leading their campaigns in a particular area were considered ‘foreigners’ or were the ‘enemies’ of the locals.

In politics, there is nothing like one-size-fits-all. Every place is unique in its own right and politicians need to address these uniqueness wherever they go out to campaign. They must also adjust their content to their audience’s preferences and interests.

6. It's no longer business as usual.

Another strong message that Wanjiku relayed to politicians is that she was no longer ready to be taken for granted. The era when politicians wooed the electorate with stupid goodies is long gone. 

Wanjiku wants someone who will bring forth permanent solutions to her woes.

For the first time we have seen politicians starting to sell their candidature through manifestos. We have also witnessed them trying to outdo each other in development projects and programmes aimed at empowering Wanjiku.

This is just but a beginning of a new era where issue-based politics will start taking centre stage in campaigns. People are more or less not getting carried away by propaganda and rhetoric. They are simply demanding to know what the politicians can deliver.

It may not be time yet but Kenyan politics are on the verge of being issue-based.

7. People are yearning for real change.

For many years now, party nominations were never taken seriously by majority of Kenyans and were left to a handful of ‘idlers’ to decide on who takes the mantle to run on particular party ticket in the General Elections.

This year, things were different and very many people turned up to nominate candidates to fly their parties’ tickets. The turnout was rather so high just like in the general elections. This was a clear message that people were tired of others making important decisions on their behalf. It was a demonstration that they were tired of the status quo and were determined to correct all errors committed in previous regimes.

This became evident as results started streaming. Majority of the incumbents and those perceived to be forced into people’s throats were shown the door.

Every vote counts. Party primaries are what determine the future. By failing to participate in the nominations, you assist the wrong people to get into office. Everyone must participate in the primaries as this will be the only way to get the change you want.

(See Also: Thika Decides: Mama Tano Tena.)

8. The elite are our worst enemies.

Thousands of the elites did cast their vote. They were very busy following the proceedings online, in bars or offices as ‘analysed’ the results by either cursing the people for the outcome or praising them for ‘punishing’ those they didn’t like.

As Wanjiku spent the whole day in the scorching sun waiting for her chance to nominate their favourite candidates, the elite were busy lazing around, too proud to be seen lining up with ‘hawa ma-idlers’.

Eventually, their inaction led to one or two bad leaders sneak through the primaries thereby enhancing their chances of being elected as the next set of leaders. This was so unpatriotic of them.

Bad people are voted into office by those who don’t vote. As much as we demonise the commoners for voting in the wrong people, we are equally wrong (if not worse) for not participating in bringing in the right leaders.

9. Social Media is powerful stuff.

The primaries this year were in a very great extent influenced by the political wars staged online. Social media dictated what was actually debated offline by the general public and it is through the same platform that some of the political bigwigs lost in the primaries.

Politicians who emerged most potent online reigned supreme as their message spread so fast and was easily disseminated offline to the traditional ‘analogue’ populace.

Social media is a lethal weapon whose power cannot be underestimate. If well taken advantage of, it may be your ticket to victory.

10. Generation Y factor in elections.

Youth born in the late 80s and early 90s had a very significant impact in the just concluded party primaries.

This is a generation generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media and digital technologies. Their upbringing is marked by an increase in a liberal approach to issues including politics and economics. They are no pushovers and they will make decisions out of what they deem right for them and not what the older generation wish them to.

In a departure from past voting patterns, these millennials were so keen on candidates they resonated well with — those they perceived to understand them better regardless of what the other generations thought about their choice.

Due to this ‘civic-mindedness’, they were attracted to candidates who had a strong sense of community and those they deemed smarter and prudent. 

The millennials will continue pulling surprises in the coming elections and politicians should expect them to rebel on common trends associated with their predecessor. Anyone wanting to succeed in politics must resonate with this generation. Please note, the electorate are getting younger by day.

11. Our politics are messier than we thought.

However much the political parties try to portray the picture that their primaries were free and fair, so much underhand dealings messed the whole exercise, much of which was perpetrated from the party headquarters as well as by the candidates themselves.

There were cases of winners being denied their victory through double voting, manipulation of results and also intimidation of voters, agents and the candidates themselves. Rules governing the exercise were also breached and used selectively in favour of certain candidates.

For instance, voters believed to be supporting certain candidates were allowed to vote using their ID cards even though their names did not appear in the register of the polling station. This loophole was used by the perpetrators to vote more than once and in more than one polling station.

On the contrary, voters thought to be supporting the unfavoured candidates got turned away whenever their names failed to appear in the register. In a few cases, the clerks would deliberately deny people a chance to vote, claiming that their names were missing in the register.

(Related Story: How The ‘System’, Goons Were Used To Rob Me Of My Victory – Wainaina.)

We still have a long way to go in terms of political fairness and integrity among those mandated to execute serious exercises such as an election. Some of our leaders, even at the helm of the national leadership, preach water but take wine. We need to watch them very carefully.

12. Fake Opinion Polls

Predictive analytics is usually lauded as a crystal ball to guide people with data necessary to make certain choices. But if what we witnessed with majority of these polls, Kenyans now take each poll with a pinch of salt. They now regard predictive analytics to be a waste of time.

Some of the candidates polled to be ‘winning by a landslide’ ended up losing dismally.
Is it possible that people lie to pollsters? Or do some people fear share their loyalties with pollsters? Or is it a case of ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune?’

The same can be said of the media houses in Kenya. Majority of them act in tune with the highest bidder.

We need to rethink the laws that govern opinion polls as they seem to be abused by unscrupulous people and greedy pollsters. There is also a need to keep regulating what the media houses relay to the general public lest they end up being recipe to chaos and bloodshed.

The wave of change has swept the populous Thika Town Constituency after voters of the Jubilee Party sent home all the sitting MCAs except one during the just concluded party primaries.

Among the 5 MCAs who constitute Thika Town Constituency, only Gatuanyaga Ward Representative Cecilia Wamaitha survived the primaries in the race that saw her colleagues given a vote of no confidence.

Wamaitha won the seat after garnering 2,337 votes to beat all her competitors.
Township MCA Kennedy Mwangi (Kentams) lost to Andrew Ndirangu who had 3,635 votes against the incumbent’s 1,300 votes who was followed closely by Joseph Minyaru with 1,064 votes.

Things in the neighbouring Hospital Ward were not so different after incumbent Mwangi Wamwangi (J BEE) also suffered the same fate after a Dunson Mburu turned out victorious with 2,375 votes.

In Kamenu Ward, Raphael Chege’s with 4, 627 votes were enough to end Elizabeth Muthoni Hussein’s 25 –year tenure in office. Robert Gitonga came second with 1,674 votes with Muthoni coming a distant third with 914 votes.

Joakim Mwangi beat all storm to emerge victorious in Ngoliba Ward by garnering 2,369 votes. The incumbent Gerrishon Ngige was nowhere near the prize as he was ranked among the last in the polls with less than a hundred votes.

It all started with Kiambu Governor William Kabogo who was handed a humiliating defeat in the hands of Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu (Baba Yao) who garnered 353,604 votes against Kabogo’s 69,916 votes.

The same axe nearly fell on the Thika Town MP Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a to Thika-based businessman Patrick Wainaina Wa jungle in their disputed duel. Alice slightly beat Wainaina by 1,149 votes after garnering 15,880 votes against Wa Jungle’s 14,731.

From left to right - MKU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stanley Waudo, Chairman MKU University Council Prof. David Serem, Jane Nyutu (Member of MKU Board of Directors) and the Chief Guest Dr David Thuku, CEO Family Bank. 
Graduates have been reminded that university education was no longer geared towards preparing them for white collar jobs but rather to initiate them into being job creators.

Speaking at the Mount Kenya University Thika Campus on Thursday while commissioning the second cohort of apprentices of the Graduate Enterprise Academy (GEA), Dr. David Thuku, the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Family Bank Limited praised this great program saying that it had produced graduates who would go out to create employment.

He reminded the graduands that they were now entering a new chapter in life full of challenges and opportunities and they needed to play their part in helping communities improve their quality of life. 

He added that he was most impressed with the progress the academy had made in the past two years to churn out young people from different and diverse backgrounds who would redefine the narrative of the society, the country and be vibrant positive influencers.

“The days when we educated our youth to go ye forth and venture primarily into white collar jobs is long gone. I have great admiration for the emphasis the Academy places on job creation rather than being preoccupied with job seeking, as well as life-long learning development and developing leadership skills. I’m greatly encouraged to note that the knowledge and skills you have acquired is going to be put to some good use in the different business ventures you are going to pursue,” said Dr. Thuku.

While addressing the same gathering, the chairman of the University Council Prof. David K. Serem encouraged the private sector and academia to embrace partnerships with the government saying that this would create synergy that would be very active in ensuring that the next generation of Kenyans is productive, a people with a strong vision for themselves and for the society at large and hence responsible heirs of this country.

Prof. Serem reckoned that there was great the need for youth empowerment in Kenya and in Africa in general because of the large numbers of unemployed or underemployed youth in Africa who were on record of being misused to cause civil unrests that destabilise countries and undermine efforts to build more stable, prosperous societies.

“Through GEA, MKU should view herself as a prime institution that inculcates skills and knowledge on innovation and entrepreneurship, equips students with a set of skills, enabling them identify viable business ideas and providing them with a practical approach to entrepreneurship. In this way, MKU stimulates attitudes and behaviour that promote the capacity for collaboration, creativity and innovation in job and wealth creation,” he said.

MKU Vice Chancellor Prof. Stanley W. Waudo reminded the audience that universities all over the world were facilitators and catalysts in seeking solutions to the challenges in the society including inculcation of entrepreneurial culture among the students. He added that GEA was a facilitator and a catalyst of creating an entrepreneurial culture.

To the 14 apprentices, Prof. Waudo said:  “Take time to decide which opportunities are really good and which ones definitely won’t work. And even in the worst case scenario, remember that nothing is absolute. Life is a giant game of trial and error, so don’t get blogged down in errors.”

What is GEA?                                                                                              
In the year 2014, the Chairman Board of Trustees Dr. Simon Gicharu launched an Enterprise Academy program targeting MKU Alumni with business ideas. A total of 9 graduates joined a residential entrepreneurship training program between February and May 2014 and successfully completed the program, received seed capital and are currently in the market with their own enterprises. Since last year, he has taken a strategic decision to establish the GEA as a spinoff of Mount Kenya University and Equip Africa Institute.

Graduates apply and send descriptions of their startups, are short listed, interviewed and trained through a combination of 3 weekend’s boot camps and 3 months of virtual incubation. They are networked with funding organisations and mentors for greater prosperity of their businesses.

Witeithie residents demonstrating against the decision of Jubilee Party to declare to winners for the same seat. John Thungu (inset) was initially declared the winner before this decision was overturned under  very unclear circumstances.
Confusion and outrage has engulfed Juja residents after Jubilee Party election officials announced parallel results, with two MCA candidates being declared winners on Wednesday in a span of half an hour at the Mang’u High School tallying centre.  

Supporters John Thungu Muniu protested the declaration of Julius Macharia Taki as the winner of Jubilee Witeithie Ward polls.

According to Joseph Kabui who was Thungu’s agent, trouble started when Juja MP Francis Munyua Waititu disputed the results and said that they were not reflective of the wishes of the people of Witeithie Ward, thereby demanding for a recount.

The initial results had declared Thungu the winner with 1,171 votes against Taki’s 1,115 votes. 30 minutes later, those results were reversed with the returning officer handing Taki the win announcing that he had garnered 1,390 votes. Thungu was then ranked second with 1,338 votes.

The announcement ignited the wrath of the residents who threatened to disrupt the whole exercise. Thungu’s agents protested to the returning officer arguing that those results had been doctored to favour Taki but their pleas landed on deaf ears. 

“I was an agent at Muthara Primary School polling station when the results were announced, my candidate (Thungu) had garnered 454 votes. All the agents signed the forms declaring the tally in that polling station. But upon arriving at Mang’u High School, a different form, with only three signatures was produced, indicating that Thungu had garnered 404 votes. My signature as well as that of the rest of the agents at the polling station were not in the new form shown at the tallying centre,” said Kabui.

The residents therefore demanded a comprehensive analysis of how the officials arrive d at the new vote tallies which by the time they left the centre, they had not gotten any feedback.

There were claims also that one of the vehicles used to transport the ballots and the officers manning these primaries to the tallying centre belonged to Taki who was a candidate in the primaries, more reason that there might have been some underhand dealings that transpired between when the votes left the polling centre to when they arrived at the tallying centre.

They demanded a rerun of the primaries warning that if their will was not respected, they had numerous options at their disposal.

Talking to the press after arriving back from the Jubilee Party Headquarters in Pangani Nairobi, Thungu said that he would pursue the laid down mechanisms in the party to seek justice. Otherwise, he warned that if justice did not prevail, he would go back to the people of Witeithie ward to seek their advice on the way forward.

He blamed the party for the mess, adding that the exercise was not free and fair.

Eng. Patrick Wainaina Wa Jungle addressing a press conference on Wednesday when he announced his defection from Jubilee Party and his resolve to vie as an independent candidate come August 8.
Powerful officials at the Jubilee Party (JP) Headquarters, Thika security personnel and some goons were some of the people responsible for the loss of Eng. Patrick Wainaina Wa Jungle in his bid to clinch the prestigious Thika Town Constituency JP ticket for the August 8 General Elections.

Addressed a press conference at a Thika Hotel on Wednesday, Eng. Wainaina complained of blatant vote stealing and rigging in the repeat party nominations in majority of the polling centres especially those that were more inclined to the sitting MP Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a.

1. Powerful people at JP HQs       
Wainaina lamented that some powerful individuals at the JP HQs in Pangani manipulated the process through unfairly favouring the incumbent and using the county administration to rig the elections.

He said that after realising some anomalies in the failed primaries held last Friday, Wainaina went to the JP HQs to lodge his complaints. Among his grievances were some returning officers and clerks who were said to be favouring the incumbent in most polling stations.

“I raised my concerns at JP HQs on Monday and they have a memorandum of the issues we raised but it was very clear from the word go that someone at the wanted me out and was determined to achieve this unfairly. Even after they promised me that they would reshuffle the clerks, all those clerks who supervised last Friday’s failed elections assumed their roles in the stations. When my team complained of the same on Tuesday morning at The Thika Town Hall, they were harassed and intimidated by the police and other agents of my competitor,” said Wainaina.

Wainaina said that in some polling centres where Alice had strong following, she was allowed to have as many agents inside the voting hall as she wanted, with her opponents forced to make do with only one per polling station.

He added that the 15 among those who presided over the exercise people well known to sympathetic to the incumbent.

“Some of these people worked at the C.D.F. office under the current MP. There were others who on Friday, acted as her agents at various polling stations across the constituency. How do you become the judge and the bench in your own case? It was very evident that the jury was leaning towards the incumbent and there was no way they could be expected to deliver a just verdict,” he lamented.

2. Tampering of results.
Wainaina complained that there were a few cases the Returning Officers deliberately altered the results in favour of the sitting MP. He said that whenever concerns were raised by his agents, they got thrown out in the full glare of police officers. He added that after the exercise, some of these people could be heard bragging about the malpractices along the streets and within the polling station themselves.

Wainaina also claimed that there were videos going round on social media showing cases of elections malpractices as well as agents and opposition supporters being harassed or beaten by both the police and Alice’s supporters.

He noted that such malpractices were more so perpetrated deep in the night in the polling station where polling went beyond midnight.

“Just to say the least, these results were a sham and it is very painful when the vote of any vote fail to count. This was not rigging but direct robbery,” he said.

3. Security forces, administration aided rigging.
The aspirant noted that from the beginning of the campaigns last years, aspirants have been complaining of interference of the administration in favour of the incumbent. He said that all through, their grievances fell on deaf ears as decisions made by the authorities have always been skewed to favour the sitting MP.

Last Tuesday, according to Wainaina, this bias became so evident among some police officers and chiefs who sided with the incumbent’s agents and supporters to intimidate Wainaina’s supporters and agents. In some cases, the security forces intimidated returning officers who were not willing to cooperate.

“There was a direct intimidation in polling stations where my competitor was very strong and in areas that the race for votes was tight. The local administration openly favoured the incumbent in all the decisions they made to contain the situation irrespective of who was in the wrong. In some of these polling stations, my agents were intimidated and ejected as the MP’s activists took over polling stations. You had no idea who was voting and who wasn’t, or even what transpired within these polling stations in the absence of my agents. Unfortunately for me, it was really hard to control what they were doing as the administration was on their side,” he said.

4. Stuffed photocopied ballots for MP.
The use of photocopied ballot papers by the JP leadership was the most unfortunate decision the JP HQs made in these primaries, noted Wainaina. He pointed out that some supporters of the incumbent went and photocopied ballots meant for the MP and pre-marked them in favour of the sitting MP. 

Those voters known to support the incumbent were said to have stuffed these illegal ballots within their clothing and stuffed them into the ballot boxes meant to for the MP.

“A group of the incumbent’s supporters went round the constituency distributing the photocopied ballots and assisted them to smuggle ballot papers into the boxes. That explains why the total votes cast for the MPs did not tally with any of the other seats. Those for the MPs way exceeded those of the MCAs, Senators, Women Reps and the governors,” said Maina Theuri, the chairman of Wainaina’s campaign team.

He also noted that people known to be supporters of his opponent were allowed to vote using an ID card and their names written down in an exercise book whenever their names missed in the IEBC/Party registers. These privileges  were not accorded to supporters of Wa Jungle or Morris Mburu for they were all turned away.

Vie as an Independent Candidate.
All in all, said that he would not seek redress from the party leadership as it was now evident to him that they had a preferred candidate. He therefore officially resigned from Jubilee Party and would seek election as an independent candidate. He exuded confidence that he would beat all the odds and emerge triumphant come August 8 despite having to work against the forces behind his ouster from the party.

“Well, besides all what they did to rig themselves in, they only managed to beat me with barely a thousand votes. I refuse to concede defeat. So, let’s meet on August 8 and may the will of Thika people prevail. Otherwise, I thank all of you for the support you accorded me. Alluta Continua,” said Wainaina.

Support President Uhuru.

He said that he was in of support President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reelection bid and would seeks votes for him and his deputy as he solicited for his own votes for MP. He added that his mission to transform Thika was still in course and none of his programmes would stop. 

Thika Town MP Alice Ng'ang'a celebrates her victory with supporters after being declared winner for the Jubilee Party primaries on Wednesday.
Tens of thousands of Thika residents streamed to the polls on Tuesday to bring to a close after one of the fiercest campaigns in history.

As dusk fell, there were long lines in front of polling stations in many areas, despite pundits suggesting that the region suffered some voter apathy and were not enthused to participate in the repeat Jubilee Party nominations after the botched Friday primaries.

After a grueling 24 hour exercise, Jubilee Party’s Constituency Returning Officer Ann Kamiti announced the results of the for all the seats.

It was jubilation at Thika Town hall tally centre after area MP Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a was declared winner of the Jubilee Party primaries for Thika Town parliamentary seat.

She was declared at around 11 am having polled 15,880 votes against her closest rival Patrick Wainaina Wa Jungle who garnered 14, 731 votes.

Morris Mburu came third with 3,127 votes.

Addressing her supporters after the exercise, Ms. Alice thanked the residents of Thika for endorsing her for a second term adding that her focus now would be turned towards ensuring that President Uhuru Kenyatta get re-elected for his final term.

“I am extremely humbled by the kind of confidence the people of Thika have shown me in nominating me in the Jubilee Party primaries. Now that I have cleared that hurdle, my focus is now one, to fight the opposition’s quest to derail the government’s development agenda,” said Hon. Alice.

She said that her win and that of Ferdinand Waititu as the gubernatorial candidate for Kiambu would guarantee harmony in the area, translating into development for the people of Thika and Kiambu in general.

She appealed to her competitors to shelve their quests and come together for the good of the residents of Thika.

Other results announced included a win for Andrew Ndirangu as the Township Ward MCA Jubilee candidate with 3,635, Dunson Mburu (Hospital) with 2,375 votes, Raphael Chege (Kamenu) with 4, 627 votes, Cecilia Wamaitha (Gatuanyaga) with 2,369 and Joakim Mwangi (Ngoliba) with 2,369 votes.

Ferdinand Waititu beat William Kabogo for the gubernatorial ticket with 27,739 votes and 6,070 votes respectively.

Karungo Wa Thang’wa garnered 13,773 votes to beat Paul Kimani Wamatangi (12,271) and Stephen Ndichu (3,364) for the senatorial ticket within the constituency.

In the Women Representative race, Gathoni Wa Muchomba garnered 28,720 votes, Anne Nyokabi 2,262, June Koinange 1,703 and Gladys Chania 1,357.

Some of the scenes in Thika's polling centres on Tuesday during the repeat Jubilee Party Primaries.
Jubilee Party repeat primaries kicked off in all polling stations across Thika Town Constituency with minimal incidences having been reported.

Jubilee seems to have learnt its lesson from last Friday’s confusion and disorder as the process went on swiftly in majority of the centres. Most of them were already opened by 7am with long queues already formed.

Delays and confusion marred the exercise in several stations. The morning session was characterised with complaints ranging from attempted stealing of ballots to delays in starting the process that were construed to mean sleight of hand as Kenyan public are conditioned to believe any deviation from their expectations is informed by mischief.

There were cases of some political brokers hovering around the polling stations trying to influence the voting pattern by whispering the names of their preferred candidates to would be voters. This scheme was more so at the gates to the polling centres and as the voters were heading to cast the votes as the perpetrators pretended to ‘assist’ them.

However, voters who spoke to Thika Town Today lauded the process saying the will of the people, “will prevail.”

“There is order unlike last time. No party member is being turned away,” said one voter in Township Ward as he cast his vote a Thika Stadium polling station.

Kiambu senator, Paul Kimani Wamatangi thanked the Jubilee Party for the organisation of the repeat primaries, hoping that the will of the people would prevail. He was also happy that the party had increased the number of people handling the exercise.

However, he pleaded for patience among the electorate saying that failure to do so would mean a few people deciding their fate for the next five years.

“Let’s not mind the length of time we wait here to exercise your fundamental right to choose your leaders. You better waste this one day that loss the entire five years having allowed the wrong leaders be voted into office by a few people,” said Wamatangi.

Security was beefed up just in case some people decided to cause chaos.

By the time the doors to most polling stations were closed at 6pm, long queues were still visible with people still patient to wait for their turn to cast their vote.

Former Gatundu North MP Hon. Clement Kung’u Waibara (extreme right) receiving his Man of The Month Trophy for February 2017 from MAWE Chairperson Nderitu Njoka. With them is Kennedy Mwaura, who is an executive member of MAWE.
Men’s rights activist Nderitu Njoka has made a passionate appeal to the Jubilee Government to create a Family Affairs Ministry in order to ensure a more comprehensive and participatory approach to tackling the country’s social challenges and create programmes that will help to address social justice for both men and women.

This ministry, according to Mr. Njoka, who is Maendeleo ya Wanaume Organisation's (MAWE) chairperson, is supposed to play a coordinating role in the legislative process to promote the ideal family in which the father was the head of the family and the wife an assistant to her husband.

Mr. Njoka said that the current framework in the laws and government programming was skewed in favour of the woman and the girl-child, totally discriminating the man as the head of the family as well as the boy-child.

He added that part of the reasons why the family institution was at crossroads was the disempowerment of the man in the family.

Speaking while launching their inaugural ‘Man of the Month Award’ ceremony in Thika, Njoka said that studies done in the country this year indicated a steep rise in violence against men and the boy-child especially from their female counterparts. He reckoned that part of the reason was that the woman had been so empowered both financially and by law to the disadvantage of the man, leaving the man at the mercy of the wives.

“The government has instituted so many laws that impact negatively to the well-being of the man. They have also initiated various funds to empower the woman and the girl-child but none for the men. Who said that all men above the age of 35 years are rich? This is the reason why men are being violently attacked by their wives at home because of their financial incapability,” said Njoka.

The MAWE chairperson said that his organisation would continue advocating for gender equity and programmes that enhanced male gender empowerment.

“We are also going to demand for the disbandment of the UWEZO and Women Funds and in their place we have a Family Fund that will cater for all the members of the family including the man as the head of the family,” he added.

Kennedy Mwaura, who is an executive member of MAWE, said that it was the high time the system stopped to look down on the male gender. He said that the society had been made to believe that it was okay when a woman hit a man thus encouraged more violence against the male gender.

“It is big news when a man hits a woman, but everyone has treated it as comedy when a woman physically violates the man. This is unacceptable and we cannot allow that,” warned Mwaura.   

It is in this same vein that the organisation introduced the ‘Man of the Month Award’ to acknowledge men who have made a significant contribution to the general welfare of the man and the boy-child.

In this regard, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta won the first award for this year (January) for his exemplary efforts to alleviate the status of the boy-child and male gender by fighting illicit alcohol and drug abuse.

According to MAWE, President Uhuru saved over 2 million male young men from extinction when he rescued them from the scourge.

The nominee for the month of February 2017 is former Gatundu North MP Hon. Clement Kung’u Waibara who used his personal resources to help a 5 year old boy who was assaulted by his class teacher causing severe genital mutilation that landed him in hospital.

Waibara helped to raise over sh. 300,000 to see him through treatment in both St. Mulumba Mission and the Aga Khan hospitals. The boy’s bill has now amounted to over sh. 1.5 million.

Daniel Ndambuki aka Churchill or Mwalimu King’ang’i is the third nominee for the MAWE ‘Man of the Month Award’. Mwalimu King’ang’i won the hearts of the judges for his noble contribution in mentoring the youth and in particular the boy-child through comedy as a lifestyle career via his Churchill Laugh Industry’s TV programme.

Both the president and Churchill were awarded in absentia due to other prior commitments.

While receiving his trophy and the MAWE gold life membership certificate, Hon. Waibara promised, if elected as the next Gatundu North MP, to legislate a law in Parliament to protect the boy-child from any form of discrimination. He also said that he would lobby for the scrapping of the women representative position in the constitution as this was one of the ways used to discriminate against men.

AFC Leopards has edged out Thika United 2-1 in a Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clash on Sunday at Thika Sub-County Stadium.

Goals from Ghanaian forward Gilbert Fyamenyo and Whyvonne Isuza were enough to secure three points for AFC Leopards.

Ingwe came into the match aiming at collecting maximum points to move to the second position after managing to garner 10 points from the initial five matches of the league.

It was the hosts who showed intention of winning early on, trying to go for an opener in the fifth minute, as they won a free-kick taken by Eugene Mukangula, however it was cleared by the AFC Leopards defense.

AFC Leopards reacted by attacking more often, winning several corners that unfortunately bore no fruits as Thika United defenders cleared the dangers. The 12-times league champions increased the tempo which the hosts struggled to cope with; and they resorted to play cautiously.

A dominant AFC Leopards made their intentions clear early in the match after Whyvonne Isuza pressured the Thika United defense, forcing an error from Dennis Odhiambo who in turn released a feeble back pass but Isuza’s final shot did not trouble Eliud Emase in the Thika goal.

The hosts had their fair share of chances with Eugene Mukangula getting his first attempt on goal with a curling free-kick that did not trouble Ian in goal.

In the 37th minute, Gilbert Fiamenyo picked a pass from Isuza in the edge of the box, left several Thika United defenders for the dead before firing past Emase from a tight angle to send the match into the break with Ingwe in the driver’s seat.

Despite regular pressure from Ingwe, the hosts held on to ensure they do not concede more goals in the first half.

On resumption, a better looking Thika United side in a bid to restore parity piled pressure from the onset with Nigerian forward Chibueze Longinus making a solo run but the resultant shot went wide. Katerrega was at it again, dribbling on his favorite left foot before sending in a low cross that Isuza superbly slotted in with a full stretch for Leopards’ second in the 69th minute.

In a much balanced affair, a series of end to end attacks ensued with the hosts stringing beautiful passes with nothing to show for but Mzee Salim would try an ambitious shot from yards out which flew over the bar. Dancun Otieno could have added a third goal for Leopards late into the second stanza after playing nice give and go passes with Fyamenyo, but his shot went straight to the keeper.

Thika United were reduced to ten men after defender Christopher Oruchum was sent off with five minutes left on the clock after an infringement on Katerrega that earned him a second yellow.

However, that did not affect the team as Salim pulled one back for Thika deep into stoppage time with a fine shot that came from a melee inside the area.

The hosts' quest to clinch a point from the tie, piled pressure on the Leopards but their efforts did not yield fruit. Fyamenyo would have killed off the game minutes later with a thumping header from an in swinger from substitute Nyakha, his effort missing the target by a whisker.

The result means that AFC Leopards go second in the standings with 13 points. Thika United remains 14th with 6 points.

Some of the dramatic scenes that characterised polling in Thika during Friday's Jubilee Party nominations.
Friday evening Jubilee Party annulled all its primaries countrywide and rescheduled the voting for Monday and Tuesday this week, citing inadequate preparations for the high voter turnout. The nominations were marred by chaos, long delays, insufficient ballot papers, missing names and general confusion.

At stake are hundreds of MP races, county assembly seats and governorships.

In Thika, police on Friday fired in the air and tear lobbed tear-gas canisters to disperse rowdy crowds angered by delays in the start of Jubilee nominations among other irregularities. Youth shouting and wailing stormed various school polling centres disrupting the whole exercise after it became apparent that there were no more ballots.

Even though more than 60,000 officials had worked to prepare for Friday’s primaries, the process kicked off to a stormy start, the exercise was much disorganised and had to start very late. In all polling stations, ballot papers were very few. Those who had recently registered as voters during the mass voter registration or recently transferred to other polling centres found their names missing in the register.

So, what went wrong?
According to sources privy to Jubilee Headquarters in Pangani, internal differences among those responsible for the exercise plus individual business interests were some of the reasons that caused the mess in the nominations.

It is said that after changes were made at the secretariat, previous arrangements for the polls were altered and budgets reviewed downwards with some things either discarded or whittled down significantly. These movements unsettled the original plans a great deal at a time the party was bogged down by a myriad of issues including the smart cards fiasco.

For instance, the original plan was to print out a total of 29,093,240 ballots all the five positions.  In the ensuing changes, ballots papers were reduced from 90% of the 2013 voters to 50% of the current voter estimates which were later scaled down to 40%.

The number of clerks originally planned at 6 per polling stations were reduced to 3. Vehicles which were to be hired to distribute the materials from the county offices were also axed from the list, leaving a vacuum. A lot more drastic cuts were made on provisions for fuel, ballot boxes, projectors, stationary, transport personnel and coordinators among others.

In general, the carefully planned total budget of Sh. 543,318,420 covering stationery, ballots, personnel, machines was scaled down to Sh. 232,745,920. The reductions significantly changed the dynamics of the primaries as candidates of the five positions on offer whipped huge voter turn-outs in their areas. In the revised plan, most polling centres received 40% what they were originally supposed to get.

Scramble for printing tenders.
Top party officials with patronage of senior Jubilee leadership were also said to battle over the ballot printing tenders until the Office of DP reportedly took over to salvage the situation. Deputy President William Ruto will oversee the repeat of Jubilee Party primaries scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

President’s Intervention.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the party leader, yesterday apologised to party voters in a speech at State House, blaming high turnout for the irregularities.

“To the millions of party faithful who turned out to vote, and to the thousands of party aspirants who turned out to compete for party tickets, we unreservedly apologise for our under-preparedness for the magnitude of the nominations exercise,” said Kenyatta.

After discussions, the party came out to explain that they had learnt from their lesson and they would explore all possible solutions included getting the latest IEBC register in its raw format.

A two-hour crisis meeting held at the party’s Pangani offices headed by DP Ruto resolved that ballot papers to cover the 8 million registered members would be printed afresh. To add on that more transport companies will be hired to ensure smooth distribution. The party said that they will use the party register and the IEBC roll.

Thika Parliamentary aspirant Eng. Patrick Wainaina Wa Jungle has rubbished claims going round social media platforms that he has aligned himself to certain leaders in the county.

Wainaina sought to calm anxiety among aspirants and Thika electorate with assurances that he had endorsed neither incumbent Governor William Kabogo nor his main rival Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu saying that he had let the people of Thika to decide who they really wanted as their leaders.

Speaking briefly after a church service in Thika, Wainaina said that he at no any given time endorsed anyone and that Thika residents were free to vote for any candidate whom they deemed right for them. Wainaina cited that those spreading the said propaganda were pursuing their personal interests and were out to tarnish his name and create enmity among the people and leaders in the constituency.

“It is quite unfortunate that any leader can propagate falsehoods with an intent to discredit my candidature. I have no preferred candidate for any other seat. The only candidate I have ever endorsed is President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to defend their seats in the 2017 general election,” said Wainaina.

“Let me emphasise that I will work with the leaders that the people of Thika elect and together we shall present to the county our shared vision and agenda,” he added.

He encouraged leaders to focus more on the interests of the voters and work towards improving their livelihoods instead of concentrating on the negatives that would not add food on the table. 

The aspirant said that he was hoping for a free fair and democratic repeat nomination process on Tuesday and expressed confidence that he would clinch the Thika Parliamentary seat.

He appealed to the residents to once again turn up in large numbers to vote in the primaries on Tuesday adding the he was the best bet for Thika Town Constituency.

However, he hoped that the Jubilee Party would this time round be more organised and provide enough elections material so that the will of the people of Thika prevailed.

He called on the people to exercise utmost tolerance in the exercise adding that everyone should respect the rights of each citizen to vote for the candidates of their choice.

“I want to tell the people of Thika that I am a peace loving leader who will not accept anyone to disrupt the nomination exercise through violence. I am privy to information that some people are planning to cause chaos due to the fact that they have already sensed defeat. Elections will come and go but the country shall remain. Our country is bigger than any individual and for that matter, it is paramount to have peace,” said Wainaina.

One of the best things that will happen in the Jubilee Party primaries (and the General Elections in August) is that the choices of the Kenyan voters will be upheld. It does not matter who wins, as long as every vote will count. That will be great.

But the menace of election rigging has been entrenched into the Kenyan DNA and has almost become a ‘sure’ route to electoral victory, subverting freedom and fairness in the process.

Mediocre election rigging tactics involve ballot box snatching and stuffing, conflict between party agents and electoral staff, illegal printing and usage of voters’ card, falsification of results as well as tampering with the voters register as witnessed in the ongoing primaries.

But those who are smart have always devised sophisticated methods to seal election victory by ‘remote control’. Some of these tactics do not involve the actual voting process inside the polling booth but actually happens in discreet outside the polling stations themselves.

The following tactics constitute some of the methods used by sly politicians as gathered by our Thika Town Today (3T) team.

Propaganda of defection or stepping down.
This is the most commonly used ploy to hoodwink voters. Between now and voting time, you will hear so many cases of candidates defecting and others stepping down for their opponents. This is a ploy to help sway the voters in a particular manner in favour of the architects of the said propaganda.

Bribery of voters.
The political class have always taken advantage of the desperate citizens living in this sorry state by offering them meagre amounts of money to dupe them into voting for them. This is usually done days before the actual polling or on the material day before they enter the polling station.

On the material day however, the riggers will position their people in strategic places, most possibly about 100-200 metres from the polling stations. Here, they identify ‘potential victims’ and convince them to vote for their man. To soften their stand, the voters are bribed with between sh. 200 and sh. 500 depending on the nature and status of the voter.

This seems good and true to the poor masses hence they trade their votes in that manner arguing that it’s better that candidate for they have given them ‘something’.

They are those who will also collect voters’ cards from poor people for some cash and confiscate them till the exercise is over. This is usually done in areas where they do not have good support.

Vote and Collect Money.
During accreditation when voters are on the line, the riggers will whisper it to people. A voter collects his ballot, enters the boot, thumbprints, but before dropping it into the box, he will hold it as if blowing it for the ink to dry so that the guy handing out the cash will see it. After voting, he goes to the corner and get paid.

In the same vein, others will demand the voter take a photo of the marked ballot paper using their mobile phones as prove that they have voted for their candidate. After voting, the voter show the photo image in their phone to earn their money.

Casual debates
The Kenyan politician have realised that Kenyan voters are usually an ignorant lot. They will go to a polling station with the slightest idea of who they are going to vote for. It is not uncommon to hear people on the lines asking “Huku MCA/MP mnachagua nani?” etc. There is also the notion among voters that ‘sitaki kupoteza kura yangu’ so they will only vote for a candidate they think will win.

With this in mind, the sly politician will plant their supporters at various spots in and outside the polling stations, more so to trigger such a discussion. Here, one of the hired debaters will pretend to be naïve and ask the question. Another of the same group will forward the name of their candidate, pretending that they do not know him/her so well but ‘according to what they have gathered from the mood on the ground, this candidate seems so popular’. In that way, they are able to convince the undecided voters into voting for their candidate.

The hired debaters will do so in a manner that their message reaches as many people as possible.

Triggering violence within the polling stations.
Some politicians use violence to intimidate or coerce voters to act against their wish. This is usually done in areas they perceive to be their opponents’ strongholds.

The trick here is that, their supporters will wake up very early and be among the first in the queue. This means that they will be among the first people to cast their ballots. Guaranteed that their side have voted, one of them will create a narrative of rigging and may be accuse some people of being behind the vice or being transported to vote for their rival.

They will then cause commotion and eventually disrupt the whole exercise to ensure that voting does not go on. Eventually, a good number of voters will flee and will not come back to vote.

Supplying alcohol to voters.
One trick used by weak candidates is that of preparing a bash, especially on the evening prior to the voting day. Here people perceived to be supporting an opponent are invited to the bash where they dine till dawn. Towards the break of morning, more beer and alcohol is supplied to ensure that the ‘revelers’ blackout into not being in a position to go and cast their votes.

This denies their opponents a substantial number of voters, thereby tilting the odds.

Raising unnecessary queries to attract sympathy votes.               
Sly politicians will always play the victim card to win sympathy votes. They will always seek for loopholes and cause a scene to attract the attention of the voters on the queue. By doing so, they will shout about an imaginary rigging plot and claim that their win is being stolen.

After causing some mayhem they will pretend that things are now sorted and walk out shouting about how their victory was about to be stolen. This way, they manage to win some sympathy votes plus some of the undecided voters who sympathise with their plight.

Corrupting officials and agents.
Moneyed politicians will always corrupt their way into winning elections. They will pour irresistible money offers to both the officials and agents of the opponents within a certain polling station to ensure they all give a blind eye to vote theft.

Vote rigging will start by officials and agents ‘assisting’ voters to cast their ballots and in the process cast votes to their preferred candidates.

Officials may also opt to frustrate the voters through unnecessary delays, logistics and complicating the voting process. In this way, some of the voters get annoyed into resigning back to their homes without voting.

With majority of the voters tired and eager to finish up the exercise and go home, the officials grab that opportunity to stuff votes and allow others to double vote. Names not appear on the voters' roll are also allowed to vote.

Transporting foreigners to vote.
Some politicians have already imported voters from other areas to use them to win the nominations. They will bring them to the polling stations very early in the morning in buses and matatus.

After voting, these people will be ferried back home and given a ‘token of appreciation’ for job well done.

Ensuring scarcity of voting material.
In an event the preferred candidate is in the good books of the system, one of the methods used to steal elections is causing a hitch in the mechanism or supplying less election materials. This interferes with the whole exercise and at times the candidates use this opportunity to unleashed mayhem and harass supporters of the opponents so as to disrupt the process.

Names of voters will at times deliberately miss with intent to interfere with the entire process, thus denying legible voters their right to vote.

All in all, the bottom line here is not who wins that matters. A successful transition with us remaining intact is more important than any candidate. We are deeply worried about threats of any kind by politicians desperate for power at all costs. It is this desperation that fuels all sorts of electoral malfeasance, particularly that thing they call “election rigging. Furthermore, without peace, there will be no elections, let alone economic prosperity.

Let’s preach peace and vote wisely.

God Bless Kenya.


One of the most apt descriptors of a voter in Kenya is perhaps a statement by political philosopher Jean- Jacques Rousseau: “man is born free, and everywhere is in chains.”

Since the last general elections in 2013, we have witnessed Kenyans’ discontent with the leaders we put in office in all forms: quiet grumbling, street demonstrations and the now very popular hashtags on social media. For the last 5yrs, we have complained about misappropriation of funds by our leaders, lack of accountability and shameless plunder of public resources. Broken health and education systems, poor infrastructure as well as limited opportunities for economic growth in the counties are a daily feature in our conversations so much so that one would be forgiven for thinking the leaders in question are an amorphous sort of donation we got from one of the more developed countries. Yet, we stood in line, patiently and made certain we voted these leaders into office. We freely, chose the chains that have bound us for the last 5 years. But that’s water under the bridge: fast -forward to 2017.

The affair:
The 2017 political campaigns have so far been as dramatic and entertaining as can be expected. We have seen the lone Member of County Assembly (MCA) aspirant who, armed with only a dream and the vitality of youth, walks from door-to- door speaking to voters and sharing his vision. For such an aspirant, there has been no thronging crowds, ululations or vernacular songs hurriedly composed in his praise. He has no financial muscle and therefore holds little appeal to would-be voters. Our affair with him has been relegated to mere curiosity and comments on how “an empty hand cannot be kissed”.

We forget that, like a majority of the youth, he’s yet to accumulate the largesse that we expect to be splashed by more mature politicians. Often times, we have dismissed him and his vision altogether.

The campaign terrain morphs into a different trajectory from the level of Member of Parliament (MP) upwards. The stakes are higher, the power games more intricate and players more hardened. This is attributable to the fact that the sphere of influence of MPs, Senators and Governors has far-reaching and multi-faceted impact on local, national and even foreign policy.

The aspirants of these positions have treated us to the usual displays of campaign showmanship; some of them sophisticated and well strategized, while others can only be described as tacky and desperate attempts at hoodwinking voters. Substantial amounts of money have been spent on campaign messaging, merchandise, teams and logistics by these aspirants. There have been allegations of money being dished in varying denominations in an attempt to make an impression on voters.

Now, whether you got fifty, one hundred shillings from all aspirants or nothing is neither here nor there: that “gifting affair” should have ended that same day. It will not count in the next 5 years. The only thing that will matter is who is representing your interests, and how his being in office will affect your life.

The nomination checklist:
After this phase of political campaigns and maneuvering quiets, nominations are the first critical stage in creating Kenya’s outlook for the next five years. Political Party nominations give voters the privilege of shortlisting the leaders they want elected into office: sinners or saints, thugs or custodians of public resources, doers or noisemakers. The nominations must therefore, be carried out rationally and with great foresight.

Here is a checklist that voters should consider “minimum expected” in the men and women we shortlist in the nominations:

1. Representation:
Think of this along the lines of selecting a defense lawyer in a murder case. This, in all intent and purposes, is a matter of life and death. You want the best and most qualified because you can’t afford to gamble with your own life, your future. You will not choose this lawyer based on friendship or association or how rich he is: you want someone who can get the job done and done expeditiously and thoroughly because there cannot be room for error. There is too much at stake.

This is the same selection process that we ought to follow during nominations and voting: we cannot afford to gamble with the future of our country, county or Wards because some politician gave you cash. Go for the person who will represent you with everything they’ve got, at every level. They must be qualified, have a thorough understanding of the issues affecting Kenya and have the diplomacy and tact to present your case successfully at every fora.

2. Character, compassion, commitment:
Character, compassion and commitment is what will make a leader stay true to the promises made and doing the right thing. A leader with the right moral compass will be committed to alleviating the suffering of not just his people, but humanity as a whole. Great leaders embody humility, courage and a high sense of accountability. You know you can count on them no matter what or how long it takes.

These are the kind of leaders who put a premium value on people and communities. Ask yourself if you can leave your little baby with the person you want to put in office. If you can’t, then do not nominate or vote for them.

3. Security and peace:
Security and peace are fundamental to sustainable development. Leaders who have been misguided to imagine that violence and chaos are fashionable need to be shut out of all governance positions. These are leaders who thrive on verbal and physical attacks and lack the capacity to persistently pursue goals that promote the wellbeing of their electorates. Their modus operandi is to respond to every mosquito bite with a hammer. They lack the basic understanding that security and peace is the conducive environment for growth in infrastructure, education, profitable businesses and job creation.

If you cannot trust a leader with a nuclear bomb code, then you have no business putting them in any public office.

3. Ability to plan, manage resources and collaborate with others:
A lot of the development challenges that we face in Kenya can be resolved through diligent management of available resources and corroborative effort. This takes a keen ability to prioritize and match development projects with the needs of the people. In this instance, it’s important to look at a candidate‘s track record: are they the kind that looks at one million shillings with a “what-can- a-million-shillings-do” retort , or are they likely to see a refurbished school library out of that one million? Do they have a sense of accountability? Are they good managers? Can they work well with other elected leaders, across the political divide?

4. Reality versus idealism:
A common and long running joke is that politicians will promise boats even in deserts. Kenya continues to face challenges that range from high unemployment rate, food insecurity to widening inequalities between the rich and the poor. Aspirants come with lofty promises and campaign manifestos that sometimes raise more fear than assurances of implementation. Nominate candidates whose skills set and track record shows they can make reality of their promises to provide sustainable solutions to the problems that we face.

5. Visionary Leaders:
Every general election gives us an opportunity for a fresh start: it’s an opportunity to give our country leadership that can generate impetus into stalled growth and turbo-charge our aspirations as a people: it’s another chance at self-determination. As we head to the nominations, it is our duty as citizens, patriots and nationalists to make certain that the woman or man we will endorse for the party ticket shares a vision for a better, united and more prosperous Kenya.

Our vote will determine whether Kenya is economically steadfast, hunger stricken or ravaged by war in the next five years. Your nominee is the face of Kenya: do not gamble with the future of Kenya.

An elderly man casting his vote for senator during the last General Elections.
By all standards, Friday’s Jubilee Party nominations will be the ‘Final before the finale’ for the 2017 General elections especially in the Mt. Kenya Region.

The hour of reckoning is nigh for the 8,012 aspirants seeking elective positions on Jubilee Party tickets as the dreaded primaries kick off. The looming nominations are causing jitters as the party grapples with logistical and security nightmares.

Friday 21st April (and some 24th and 25th) marks an important milestone in the 2017 election calendar as Jubilee Party picks candidates for various seats ahead of the final showdown on August 8. The fight for these seats across the counties is expected to be fierce as incumbents seek to retain their jobs against other political heavyweights in what promises to be a cut-throat race.

Jubilee Party is the biggest prize today for any candidate in this region. For the aspirants, winning the party’s ticket, (depending on the way the party will handle them) is as good as winning the elections. It will definitely guarantee the nominees a 99% chance of being the next MCA, MP, Women Representative, Senator or Governor.

That explains why the stakes are so high in the Jubilee primaries and if make a mistake at these primaries, it will definitely be a grave one. The ability to vote allows you to express your opinion and choice on a variety of issues. 

The elite amongst us represents the smartest brains but unfortunately that intellect does not equal enthusiasm to make the changes we always complain about. It has been a tendency among the elites, especially in the urban areas, to treat the voting day as a day of rest or to strike business deals. 

Voting is your only way to back the issues you care about and the representatives you think can best effect the changes you want to see.  It is a civic duty and the desire of people who care about public affairs to express themselves.

Why it’s a must for you to vote in the primaries.

1. It will give you the power to create change you desire.
Previously, the elite and business people have always ignored party primaries and reserved their votes for the main elections, in the argument that they were not really important.

The end product has always been having to be ruled by the wrong leaders who, in most cases, have bought their way into nominations. Their stake has always been decided by a handful of ‘paid up hooligans’ who really do not care what culminates after the exercise.

That explains why corrupt leaders have been having it easy as compared to the straight and honest ones who would have otherwise been the best options.

Considering that whoever wins on Friday might be as well your next leader, participating in these primaries will give you the power to decide how you want to be governed by nominating the candidate who best suits your views and will best represent your views at both the local and national level.

If you really think that a certain leader in office is not performing their duties satisfactorily, you can only show them the door by voting against them. Refraining from doing so can result in the same people or a worse one, being elected for the next five years.

Therefore, if you don't vote in these primaries, please don’t complain about who wins or the wrongs these leaders will instigate in the next five years.

2. Elections are not just about the President.
Other than the President, there are many other positions that definitely way in the future of Kenya and your local area. Through voting you have the opportunity to influence the government and governance from the local level up to the national level.

How much the next president can do will definitely depend on the people we will offer to him to constitute his government. If you allow dunderheads to get into power, be lest assured that you be faced with another five years of total agony. The consequences of ignoring such important exercise can reverberate for years.

If you let in opportunists and corrupt leaders get their way through the backdoor, just expect them to cripple the President’s agenda, both in the National Assembly and in the counties. 

3. The margin of victory is very important.
Any voter might feel that a single vote does not make any difference. However, the balance tilts when this becomes a ward, constituency or national attitude, resulting to thousands of votes not cast.

By casting their vote, citizens may not necessarily be able to get the best candidate elected, politics being what it is, but by avoiding casting their vote they improve the chances of the unsuitable ones winning the polls. At the end, it is only you the voter who has to suffer through poor governance.

One vote, especially in a competitive election is very crucial. You may assume that it is ‘just one vote’ and cannot make the difference, but all you have to bear in mind there are so many other people like you who are thinking  the same way as you. In the end, that translates to hundreds or even thousands of uncast votes which may be the reason your candidate loses.

You must vote because even if the candidate you loathe is destined to win in a landslide, you can make a dent in their margin of victory. That limits how much of a ‘mandate’ they can claim once in office, encouraging them to promote more moderate policies so as not to jeopardise their re-election. Remember, people elected in squeakers are reminded of it constantly for the people would not let them forget they were not elected by a plurality.

Conversely, even if your preferred candidate is poised to win, adding to their margin of victory can only help their advance their agenda in office.

4. A vote for a third force can have an impact.
In an election where there are two very strong candidates, there are possibilities that the outcome would be decided by a third force.

Some undecided voters might sway towards a neutral candidate, thus reducing the chances for each of the two frontrunners. In such a scenario, every vote counts and your vote might be the difference between the loss and the win for your preferred candidate.

5. Leaders tend to respond to people who bother to show up.
Elected leaders in most instances respond to voters’ policy preferences and award a greater chunk of public resources to the people who bothered to vote them in. that is why in some cases you find leaders neglecting certain areas they perceive never voted for them.

While it is true that the outcome of elections is seldom predictable, by not casting your vote, you are simply giving up on the chance of getting heard.

In conclusion, we cannot deny that Kenyans have been time and again being disappointed by the people they elect into office. For the past five decades, we have been struggling with rampant corruption, unsure economy and other uncertainties. Election after election has seen ineffective governments come to power that have done more harm than good.

However, not casting one's vote will only worsen the condition. It is our duty as responsible citizens of to make informed decisions and choose the best candidates from those presented. Moreover, with the context of the 2010 Constitution, it wouldn't be long before the system of elections is improved. 

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