Ruto’s Mt Kenya popularity in decline – survey


Deputy President William Ruto

By: Kamande Muchiri  @MountKenyaTimes

Worth Noting:

  • Ruto has been the single biggest beneficiary of the vote-rich region, but Raila’s entry will complicate his 2022 political matrix.
  • Political analysts argue that the vote-rich region will determine political destiny of the country after August next year, a view Kiriba echoed.
  • “Mt. Kenya region is going to play a cardinal role in deciding who becomes the president of this country next year,” said Mizani Africa CEO.
  • The poll respondents of over 18 years of age was conducted from 1 October to 13 October through questionnaires distributed to 5,000 individuals in the region, including the capital, Nairobi.

Deputy President William Ruto is still leading as the preferred presidential candidate of choice in Mt Kenya region, a new survey has shown.

The survey carried out in 11 counties by Mizani Africa, a Pan-African research firm, shows that Ruto enjoys 58.2 per cent support.

The Deputy President was closely followed by ODM leader Raila Odinga at 27.1 per cent.

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi is third with 5.2 percent.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua is listed at 3.1 percent followed by Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka who has 2.5 percent.

“Considering some of these aspirants such as Raila and Mudavadi have just started, there might be much more that we can expect. This is a scenario that we can look forward to next year,” Haron Kiriba, Chief Executive Officer of Mizani Africa said while announcing the research findings yesterday.

The research institute had previously conducted an opinion poll in 2019 that revealed Ruto was leading as a presidential candidate with 76 percent as compared to Raila with 5.4 percent and Mudavadi with 1.2 percent.

According to the latest findings, DP Ruto even though ahead of the pack in Mt Kenya region, he has lost 17.8 percent support in the last two years with his closest competitor, Raila gaining 21.9 percent over the same time.

The sharp increase in Raila’s popularity in the region follows a series of meetings he has been having in the region with various stakeholders including the youth, various politicians, and the business community.

Ruto has been the single biggest beneficiary of the vote-rich region, but Raila’s entry will complicate his 2022 political matrix.

Political analysts argue that the vote-rich region will determine political destiny of the country after August next year, a view Kiriba echoed.

“Mt. Kenya region is going to play a cardinal role in deciding who becomes the president of this country next year,” said Mizani Africa CEO.

The poll respondents of over 18 years of age was conducted from 1 October to 13 October through questionnaires distributed to 5,000 individuals in the region, including the capital, Nairobi.

The research institute further commented that the region was one that would play a cardinal role in the upcoming elections due to the high number of voters registered in the region.

Mt Kenya has lately become the theatre of the 2022 presidential election due to its high number of voters who are seen as a deciding factor in the election.

Key aspirants, Ruto, Odinga, Mudavadi, Kalonzo and others are working to impress the region for support amid divisions blamed of a formidable spokesperson.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is on his second and final term in office, was considered the supreme leader of the region, but his exit from office leaves his followers without a king.

The Head of State is yet to officially declare his preferred successor, but has urged his backyard to “be wary of politicians seeking their support through the window”, asking politicians to court Mt Kenya through “the front door”.

An analysis of the 2013 presidential elections shows 92 percent of the voters from Mt Kenya gave President Uhuru 1,895,075 votes while Raila only got 84,010 votes.

The results show that Raila defeated Kenyatta in five out of the eight former provincial regions. But the Jubilee candidate opened a huge margin especially in Central and Rift Valley, which saw him declared winner with about 800,000 more votes.

A similar vote pattern was replicated in the 2017 elections.

Raila has, however, started to gain popularity in the region after his handshake with President Uhuru.

Since the handshake, Raila has rebranded his image in Mt Kenya from a political villain to a hero.

In the last few months, Raila has been making roads within Mt Kenya spreading his Azimio La Umoja initiative as he tries to convince the voters from the region that he is the best man to lead the country come 2022.

Already tycoons from the region under the Mt Kenya Forum umbrella have been meeting Odinga and One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals Mudavadi, Kalonzo, Gideon Moi (KANU) and Moses Wetangula of Ford Kenya but they are yet to announce their preferred candidate.

It is however, understood that they highly favour Raila whom they wanted to be supported by the rest.

DP Ruto has dismissed the group and their initiative, saying “Kenya’s future cannot be decided by a few.

Raila has not personally declared his intention to succeed President Kenyatta, but his supporters have declared him a contender.

The ODM leader has, however, exploited the Handshake to rebrand himself to Central Kenya where in 2013 and 2017 he was sold as a political enemy of the community.

Even as he woos the region, Raila’s perceived strongholds have the largest bloc (9.3 million) of potential new voters who could influence the outcome of the 2022 presidential election.

By getting a chunk of Mt Kenya votes, the former prime minister will add onto his traditional strongholds of Nyanza, Western and Coast, as well as Turkana, which have overwhelmingly voted for him in the past.

Earlier this month, DP Ruto declared Mt Kenya region as his stronghold, describing his political rivals, who are now touring the area, as “newcomers”.

“He is looking for Google Maps to guide him on the way to the region. While he was away, we built roads, railways and technical institutions. The region is a UDA stronghold,” Ruto said on October 9.

In a rejoinder a day later Raila dismissed Ruto’s claims saying he climbed the mountain 20 years ago.

“I first climbed the mountain first when I said ‘Kibaki Tosha. I knew he was from the mountain, but still campaigned for him, he won and was sworn in on a wheelchair. Where were they then?” he said while addressing residents of Nyahururu and Subukia.

Mt Kenya votes crucial 

Analysts believe Ruto’s dream of succeeding President Kenyatta is increasingly becoming hinged on how Mt Kenya votes next year.

In the last four years, the country’s second in command has literally camped in Mt Kenya as he seeks to win residents’ hearts.

If he is not on the campaign trail in Mt Kenya, the DP is hosting delegations from the region at his official residence in Karen, Nairobi County.

In his efforts to win the region, however, the DP has faced huge demands from voters and politicians, key being the running mate position.

Running mate.

 The DP’s Mt Kenya lieutenants have argued that their support for him is unconditional, but it’s obvious they have set their sights on the Deputy President slot should he become Head of State.

However, choosing a running mate from Mt Kenya will have far-reaching effects that could affect his chances in other regions.

Having run with incumbent Kenyatta in 2013 and 2017, it may not please voters in other regions if he appoints a person from the mountain as running mate.

Analysts argue, DP Ruto picking running mate from Mt Kenya region will equally be viewed as controlling the government interchangeably by two ethnic communities.

On August 4, the DP admitted that he considers the region crucial to his bid for the presidency, but called for patience in regard to naming a running mate.

“We will walk this journey together. This process is competitive, considering what is at play. But you can bet that my government will be made in Mt Kenya,” the DP said in an interview with Inooro FM.

“These things require tact since revealing too much of ourselves to competition is a technically flawed strategy.”

Saying he would select a running mate “at the right time”, he told the region that it would have a major stake should he form the government next year.

“Be patient; my government will mostly belong to you as Mt Kenya. Much the more that it will be a government for the Republic of Kenya, it will be your government,” the DP said.

Pundits say the DP needs at least 90 per cent of Mt Kenya votes in a near-100 per cent turnout to clinch the presidency come next year August.

They argue that DP Ruto needs to replicate the Jubilee victories in Mt Kenya in 2017 if he needs to win the presidency.

In the popularity ranking of candidates preferred for Deputy President, NARC Kenya party leader Martha Karua has emerged as the best choice for Deputy President in the Mt Kenya region.

Karua was ranked the most likely female candidate to deputise the president with a popularity ranking of 34.8%.

Karua is closely followed by Agnes Kagure and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru with a popularity ranking of 31.9 and 14.9 per cent respectively.

In September, Mizani Africa also named Karua as the most influential politician from the Mount Kenya region followed by governor Waiguru.

According to the September polls, Karua led with 35.3 per cent followed by Waiguru who gathered a popularity score of 18.7%.

Karua’s latest popularity score comes after she was announced as the Mount Kenya Forum spokesperson over seven political parties.

Party preference

Shockingly, ODM has beaten the Jubilee party as the most preferred political party among the electorates in the Mt Kenya region.

The survey by Mizani Africa also revealed that the Raila-led party is the most popular party compared to President Uhuru’s Jubilee party.

The study found out that 22.4% of voters from Mt Kenya are likely to vote for an ODM candidate if the elections were held today. Jubilee on the other side would only get 10.2% of the votes.

According to the poll, DP Ruto’s UDA party is the most popular political party in the region with 61.7% of voters ready to vote for it, ANC with 2.0 percent and WIPER with 1.0%.

Previous Kenya borrows Shs.3.4 billion every 24 hours
Next International Land Coalition Africa stresses the centrality of partnerships in protecting land rights and users

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *