February 18, 2022 - 5 minutes read

As deadlines loom, so do familiar problems

By John Ngirachu

Raila Odinga returned from a 10-day tour to an opinion poll saying that Peter Kenneth would be his best bet for running mate. 

On the other hand, according to a poll by The Star, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua is the right man for Deputy President William Ruto. 

Even as the deadlines ahead of the next General Election continue to pass – all civil servants who are seeking elective positions have resigned – the running mate dilemma for both leading candidates persists. 

That they will have to deal with squarely when the nomination deadline is closer, but they are both facing familiar problems now. 

For the coalition that he hopes to lead, Mr Odinga has come up against a familiar issue – whether to have parties in his coalition field candidates jointly or allow the constituent parties to each have their own. 

In the Western region, the differences between his allies and local leaders threaten to lock out the likes of Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, whose political influence has increased over the last nine years. Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo has apparently also been annoyed at being left out of meetings in his backyard, where he would expect that he would naturally be in the lead. 

Mr Odinga’s spokesman has downplayed the situation, stating that the strategy is to have different groups spread out across the country and to tailor their messages to the audiences. 

This has resulted in the establishment of campaign teams for women, youth, and the regions, a strategy that is probably as old as multiparty politics in the country. 

Mr Odinga has previously seen the solution to this as the establishment of a campaign team that is structured like a corporate, which would mean that decisions are made in an organized and strategic manner. The idea is yet to take root, as the competing interests of his family, the Jubilee Party (read the President’s men), his political allies and the political party compete against each other. 

The situation could result in a realization that better organization is needed, and action would then be taken, or his campaign fails to work. 

Another familiar problem comes from a familiar place – the nominations to determine  candidates. 

MPs left open the option of going independent after the nominations, which gives many aspirants lifelines. 

For both presidential candidates, the end result could be that they would have to woo these independents to their side after elections, which would mean that a lot of work is due.

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