Over the past couple of months, Kenya has been on a roller coaster of emotions. There was joy on the part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s supporters when he won at the initial polls in August. That joy was quickly turned to sadness and anger when Kenya’s Supreme court cancelled the results and called for Kenya’s rerun election.
Supporters of the opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, then had the chance to celebrate themselves at what seemed like a confirmation of their doubts about the vote. That joy was soon to be dampened again when Raila Odinga suddenly dropped out of the race to the reruns.
Such a roller-coaster ride would be enough to tire out most people and the low voter turnout for Kenya’s rerun elections on October 26th, 2017 was certainly a pointer to that fatigue. Election officials in Kenya said that only one-third of the 19.6 million registered voters cast their ballots on the day of Kenya’s rerun elections.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has once again been declared the winner of the controversial Kenya rerun election although the re-run was suspended in 25 constituencies because of security fears. There are, however, wider implications for Kenya as a whole after all this election drama and some of these implications turn up a new perspective on further winners and losers.
The Real Winners And Losers Of Kenya’s Rerun Election
President Uhuru Kenyatta
According to the election commission, President Kenyatta won 98% of the vote with the turnout at just under 39% with less than half of the votes he recorded in August’s vote.
Despite all the controversy surrounding his victory, he has another 5 years to be the President of Kenya with all the benefits related to the position.
It is hard to consider Raila Odinga a loser when you consider all he was actually able to achieve from contesting, successfully, the result of a Presidential election to convincing many Kenyans to actually boycott the rerun after he dropped out.
Odinga managed to increase his political clout in Kenya and although he may have disappointed some of his followers, he got out while he was ahead and proved that he still had some followers or, at least, some people who were angry at the other option.
Kenya’s Election Commission
One of the big losers in Kenya’s rerun election is the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Raila Odinga and his supporters had called into question the integrity of the body both before and after the August elections. The body has now proved them right in a lot of ways. Before Kenya’s rerun election, the IEBC chairman publicly stated that he did not know if the poll would be credible.
The citizens displayed their lack of trust in the system when they refused to come out in their expected mass to vote this time around. The IEBC will now have a lot of work to do to clean up its image both in Kenya and internationally.
Kenya was probably the biggest loser in this entire election fiasco. Ever since President Kenyatta was declared as the winner in the August elections, over 50 people have been reported dead as a result of violence.
After Kenya’s rerun election there were protests, looting, arson, and killing of civilians across the country. It was a reminder of the 2008 post-election violence that led to the death of over 1500 people.
Since only one-third of the electorate actually voted, there is little reason for a bulk of people to respect the results. Still a fear of a repeat of 2008 may see the result go through although that is a far cry from it actually being the will of the people which is the major point of a democracy.
One can only hope that President Uhuru Kenyatta does better this time and the people of Kenya are able to forge a real path of growth for themselves that will make them winners in the end.