Having an executive president makes the stakes in the race for presidency necessarily high. The stakes are made even higher by the impending cases against DPM Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP, William Ruto, at International Criminal Court, and what either of the two winning the presidential seat would mean for the cases.
Voting patterns in the country coalitions mean that coalitions may be necessary component for winning the elections. The election threshold for president as provided for in the Constitution states that, “a person shall be declared duly elected President if he or she is the only candidate nominated for election.” Of course this is unlikely given that several aspirants have already declared their intention to run for president (see their credentials here).
In the alternate the constitution also provides that a person can become president if they, attain more than half of the votes cast in the election plus of 25 per cent of votes cast in more than half of the 47 counties. However as a consequence of our motivations for voting and voting patterns it is unlikely that any presidential candidate running alone can attain this threshold.
Hence the rush we saw the week before last by political parties to form coalitions to meet the requirement that coalition agreements entered into before the election be deposited with the Registrar at least three months before the election.
Ideally coalitions are supposed to be an agreement for cooperation between different political parties on a common political agenda. However from the leadership squabbles emerging from the coalitions formed less than two weeks ago it is difficult to figure out whether the coalitions were formed with a coherent political agenda other than winning in mind.
Even if we give coalitions the benefit of the doubt and presume that they were formed on the basis of a common political ideology/agenda, it is at this juncture difficult to tell what that agenda is. As it stands neither of the two coalitions that have emerged as the forerunners, Jubilee Coalition and CORD (if not in fact, then certainly in terms of press coverage) have articulated a coherent policy agenda with regards to the issues that a majority of Kenyans care about i.e. security or the economy.
In fact from the disputes over presidential candidature, it becomes ever more evident that the main purpose of political coalitions is to clear the election threshold i.e. garner the minimum percentage required votes nationally to win.
However whether coalitions formed will hold until March 4, 2013, remains to be seen, particularly where ‘dark forces are at play’.