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Why Kimani Ichungwa Will Lose War Against DP Gachagua

4 mins read

In the run-up to the 2022 election, I constantly warned our side of politics to develop a “competing narrative” to the then evolving Tangatanga versus Kieleweke narratives that were the [then] ONLY points of political discussions in Kenya.

Now the country is being forced again to endure another round of Mt. Kenya centric discourse pitting the so called “one man one vote one shilling” against the so called “one country one flag one people”.

The latter group – the one country one flag one people adherents – do not stand a chance and I am saddened by it because another emergent group of moderate Mt. Kenya politicians are about to be bludgeoned into oblivion.

The Hon. Kimani Ichungwah, whatever his newfound nationalism, will not win, eventhough he is right.

Rigathi Gachagua and his henchman Kahiga Mutahi represent the “ground thinking” of Mt. Kenya people, particularly the Kikuyu, who form the base of the ethnic jingoistic superstructure upon which Mt. Kenya fears and hopes now rest.

In principle, I am not opposed to one man one shilling one vote. I come from Ndhiwa, which is one of the most populous constituencies in Kenya, and also among the most under-resourced. There are more people in Ndhiwa than in Lamu County, yet Ndhiwa’s CDF is the same as Lamu West Constituency’s CDF, and nothing more. That means, Ndhiwa will benefit from the “one man one shilling”.

When proponents of this formula pursue it, they seem to assume that only Mt. Kenya is populous. This is not true. Kakamega can comfortably check Kiambu numbers man to man, woman to woman and child to child. The rest of Mt. Kenya has average population numbers. There’s no much difference between Muranga numbers and Siaya numbers. Siaya’s only problem is that the people don’t register to vote, or, when they, do, for some reason, they don’t properly turn up to vote.

In a future election mobilized on the terms of 2007, Mt Kenya knows they stand no chance.

I said earlier that I am not opposed to Mt. Kenya’s formula. What I quarrel with in that formula is the “one vote”.

The struggle in Kenya today is the struggle to properly count the vote. “One vote” does not mean the same thing in every region in Kenya. Elections are rigged here. So is census. The numbers in the election register and the census book are fake numbers.

From 2007, Kenya’s voter register is a game of power, so we may never know the true numbers in the register. This was revealed most profoundly during the 2017 repeat polls, when Uhuru had to literally cook the numbers anew when the country boycotted the election.

“One vote”’s other problem is its very definition. Is it the “cast vote”, the “registered vote” or what? And even if it is a cast vote, to whom was it cast?

Because of these contradictions, that formula can only serve Kenya if the country finally resolves the question of the sanctity of the vote.

Be that as it may, the failure by those outside these Mt. Kenya centric permutations to develop their own formulas has narrowed the debate, making the country oscillate between two absurdities.

It is sad.

Dikembe Disembe is a political researcher and writer

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