By Kenyan Report Correspondent
December 5, 2017
Last week’s swearing in of Uhuru Kenyatta for a second term in office, despite the issues raised by the National Super Alliance (NASA), ostensibly set the stage for his own succession both in Jubilee and as Kenya’s next president.
While the NASA house does not have an authentic candidate for the 2022 (if none is held before then) elections, Jubilee at least for now seems to have a candidate in the name of Uhuru’s Deputy, William Samoei Ruto. He has been assured of support from the Mt. Kenya region as an appreciation for standing by Uhuru and helping deliver victory in the last two elections. Whether the pact will come to fruition is a wait and see matter but as at today, the DP remains the heir apparent.
While Regional politics have not affected much of how local country elections have been handled, it is expected that the countries within the Eastern Africa bloc and by extension the entire African continent will have a hand in the elections of the member states. This new found interest in neighboring countries’ political affairs can be traced back to Kenya. Soon after Uhuru took over in 2013, he and his deputy had to face crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
The duo traversed the continent seeking support from their peers in fighting off the ICC, a battle front that brought some kind of unity of purpose. With the intense lobbying and subsequent decisions made at the AU summit later on, African leaders realized that they could count on each other in facing both internal and external conflicts.
So when Ruto (if he will fly the Jubilee flag) and whoever will be the opposition candidate in 2022 will be facing off, who are some of the African leaders that will be at the helms of Kenya’s traditional allies and the other players that the candidates may be looking at courting?
In Tanzania, the next presidential elections will be held in 2020, two years before Kenyans go to polls. President John Pombe Magufuli will be expected to run for a second term in office. In the last election, he beat opposition candidate Edward Lowassa to clinch the seat and it is not clear whether the two will face each other again but pundits believe that Tanzanians will go with their tradition of giving their presidents their full two terms in office.
A bosom buddy of Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga, a Magufuli presidency in Tanzania when Kenya will be voting in 2022 may prove a hard nut to crack for William Ruto. The frosty relationship between Uhuru and Magufuli is an open secret and to boot, The Chama Cha Uzalendo party leader skipped last Tuesday’s coronation of Uhuru for a second term. Incidentally, Edward Lowassa graced the occasion.
Ugandans are looking forward to another election in 2021, a year after Tanzania and a year before Kenya. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is expected to bully his way back to power, after his supporters engineered a constitutional amendment that allows him to run for re election. His main challenger, battle hardened Dr. Kiza Besigye is equally expected to mount another challenge.
Unless a Zimbabwe like coup detat takes place in Uganda, when Kenya will be voting in 2022, Yoweri will still be in charge. His relationship with Kenya’s leadership is easy except for the small rocky Lake Victoria Island of Migingo which incidentally is yet to put Nairobi and Kampala in any diplomatic tiff. Museveni is likely to play ball from the Jubilee corner as he is widely believed to have little time for Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Rwanda’s Paul Kagame will also likely be at the helm of his country’s leadership while his neighbors, Pierre Nkurunzinza of Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila have their reigns seeming to come to an end.
When Kenya gets to 2022, it will be critical to know who the neighbors are and who could be courted for whatever support.