Seven factors that will decide next year’s election
Kenyans are bracing for one of the most gruelling elections in the country’s history.
The countdown begins in earnest slightly under one year to the election scheduled for the second Tuesday of August 2022.
Analysts have identified seven key issues that voters and candidates for the six elective positions – presidential, gubernatorial and the legislative positions for MPs, senators, Woman Reps and MCAs face.
The first hinges on constitutional integrity, with all eyes fixed on the upcoming ruling of the Court of Appeal on the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2020 after a High Court ruling rocked the political scene.
A five-judge bench declared the proposed amendments to the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative null and void, leading to a protracted legal battle that has transfixed the nation.
As the political players bite their nails over the court’s decision, well aware that it will shape the 2022 election, they are already crafting their agenda and campaign platforms.
It has emerged that the leading candidates in the presidential race have realised that after the constitutional dispensation, the economy is turning out to be the second most important issue to voters.
That is why the frontrunners are shaping their platforms on “politics of development” spawning catch phrases revolving around the economy, and not without good reason.
The Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged the economy, with severe repercussion on lives and livelihoods.
At the same time, the government is grappling with a huge public debt, a yawning budget deficit and huge loan repayments.
Millions of jobs have been lost and the informal sector has been has been grossly affected.
Higher taxation and the rising cost of food has aggravated the situation. To put it plainly, the economy is on its knees.
The third issue that voters will have to contend relates to the traditional realignments that often take place ahead of every election.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s fractured Jubilee Party is mulling a potential coalition with Raila Odinga’s ODM while wooing the nascent One Kenya Alliance of Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula and Gideon Moi.
Should this union materialise, it faces the United Democratic Alliance buoyed by the influence and financial muscle of Deputy President William Ruto. This will certainly end up in an epic political battle.
Tied to these political realignments is the fifth issue of demographics. When the final voter register is compiled, it will show that more than 50 per cent of the voters will be youth aged between 18 and 35.
Whoever will appeal to this significant base will reap a massive demographic dividend at the ballot. However, this will depend on whether the youth actually cast their votes.
The sixth issue is ethnicity. Will the majority voters, especially the youth, be swayed by ethnic inclinations or the constitutional and economic factors?
Finally, the seventh and probably the most important issue that will determine the outcome of the 2022 General Election, especially the presidential race is electoral justice.
With very limited time to deal with procurement, voter electronic identification and results transmission requiring maximum and timely support from the government, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has a monumental task ahead of it. Kenyans are watching. — [email protected]