How William Ruto may win the 2022 Presidential Election
Two days ago I wrote the article predicting Raila’s win in the 2022 Presidential Election with 51% of the votes cast. In that article, I concluded that there is a likelihood of a run-off and that the possibility of Ruto winning isn’t ruled out. In this article, therefore, I want to present the scenarios under which Ruto may emerge as the winner.
The starting point for William Ruto’s possible win is the voters’ register. According to the number of registered voters, Raila Odinga starts with 10.5 million votes in his strongholds together with counties leaning towards him, whereas Ruto starts with 8.6 million votes in his strongholds and in counties leaning towards him. Right from the onset, we see that Raila is already commanding a 47.3 per cent lead as Ruto follows closely at 38.9 per cent, a difference that Ruto must bridge and surpass for him to emerge the winner.
There are thus three things that Ruto must hope for in order to emerge the winner in the 2022 presidential election:
- That he makes a substantial raid of Raila’s votes in Raila’s second tire strongholds without Raila making such inroads on his own second tire strongholds. Second tire strongholds are strongholds outside the core strongholds where either of them expects to get more than 80% of the vote. For example, Western Kenya and Coast are second tire strongholds for Raila while Mt. Kenya is a second tire stronghold for Ruto.
- That he achieves a higher voter turnout in his strongholds but Raila’s strongholds develop voter apathy.
- That elections be truly free and fair, and if not, the rigging to be done in his favour.
Raiding Raila’s second tire strongholds
Going back to Ruto’s campaigns, particularly from the time Raila launched the Azimio movement in August last year, you’ll see that Ruto has had an aggressive strategy aimed at capturing a substantial following in Western Kenya and the Coastal regions. This aggressive strategy culminated with Ruto acquiring the support of Musalia Mudavavi, Moses Wetengula, Aisha Jumwa, and Amason Kingi to be his point persons in the two regions. We must therefore expect that Ruto has acquired a significant following from these two regions that will eat into Raila’s votes. The question now is, how many votes has Ruto acquired from Raila’s second tire strongholds? Do they amount to the 1.9 million votes difference between him and Raila? Assuming that Ruto can garner 50% of coastal votes and 40% of Western votes, how many votes are these?
50 per cent of coastal votes amount to 0.7 million votes. If you take these votes out of Raila’s votes and add them to Ruto’s votes, you end up with Raila having 9.8 million votes as Ruto’s votes increase to 9.3 million. The next step is to do the same arithmetic for Western votes where we’ll assume Ruto is able to garner up to 40 per cent of Western votes (if not then we can assume he’ll make some significant inroads in Kisii and Nyamira to top up the Western percentage). 40 per cent of Western votes (including Transzoia), amounts to 1 million votes. Taking these votes from Raila’s remaining votes leaves Raila with 8.8 million votes and propels Ruto to 10.3 million votes. If turnout in both Ruto’s strongholds and Raila’s strongholds are equal at a national average of 78%, then we should expect Ruto to now be ahead of Raila with 1.1 million votes.
The next question is, can Raila bridge the gap of 1.1 million votes he is trailing Ruto with by garnering enough votes in Mt. Kenya? Now, the total votes registered in Mt. Kenya which includes Nakuru, Laikipia, Nyandarua, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a and Kiambu is 5.8 million votes. Assuming a turnout of 78 per cent in these counties, the votes that are up for grabs is 4.5 million votes, of which the 1.1 million votes that Raila must obtain from this region in order to overtake Ruto comes to 24 per cent. We know that 27 per cent is the popularity that the opinion polls have given Raila in Mt. Kenya. If it happens that Raila gets the 27 per cent from Mt. Kenya, then Raila gets propelled from 6.9 million votes (40.5 per cent of 17 million turnout) to 8.1 million which will be 47.6 per cent of the total votes cast. Ruto on the other hand shall have lost 1.2 million to be left with 6.8 million total votes to stand at 40 per cent of the votes. According to further arithmetic, Raila getting anything above 10 per cent of Mt. Kenya votes will still put Raila in the lead.
Apparently, the only way Ruto can win under the hope of raiding Raila’s second tire strongholds is for Ruto to win the 50 per cent coastal vote together with at least 40 per cent Western votes, but for Raila to not get anything above 10 per cent of Mt. Kenya votes. I do not see Ruto getting anything close to 50 per cent from the entire coast plus 40 per cent in the entire Western region and Raila getting anything less than 20 per cent in Mt. Kenya.
Higher turnout in Kalenjin and Mt. Kenya as Luo Nyanza, Western Kenya and coastal regions develop voter apathy
Because it is close to impossible for Raila to get less than 20 per cent in Mt. Kenya as Ruto gets close to 50 per cent in the coastal region and at least 40 per cent in Western, the next hope Ruto has is for him to achieve close to 100 per cent voter turnout in both Kalenjin nation and Mt. Kenya, as Raila’s supporters in Nyanza, Western and coast slumber. Ruto achieving above 80 per cent voter turnout in Kalenjin nation is expected, but the same cannot be said for Mt. Kenya. This is because, in this election, Mt. Kenya doesn’t have the do-or-die situation given that they don’t have a presidential candidate (well, we can’t really count Mwaure), and both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio have fronted one of their own as a running mate. That means they will be okay with whichever political formation wins.
On Raila’s side, we can expect that the high voter turnout from the Kalenjin nation will be neutralized by the high voter turnout in Luo Nyanza. The question Ruto must therefore ask himself is if Western and coast will have a much lower voter turnout compared to the low voter turnout one may expect from Mt. Kenya. To me, it appears that it will be highly unlikely for voter turnout to be so low in Western and coast as to undo the potential 1.2 million votes Raila is expecting to get from Mt. Kenya.
Though the calculations based on voter turnout may give Ruto some hope given the traditional expectation that Raila voters usually don’t show up in large numbers (could be because of voter suppression rigging scheme – which if true then it is Ruto who must worry about voter turnout), the fact that Mt. Kenya isn’t as highly motivated to turnout should neutralise any low voter turnout in Raila’s strongholds.
In conclusion, therefore, voter turnout isn’t likely to give Ruto the much-needed edge for him to win this 2022 presidential election.
If the first and the second hopes are to work in Ruto’s favour, then Ruto must also hope for a truly free and fair 2022 presidential election. Is this truly possible? There are several ways one can rig an election starting from suppressing voter turnout in certain regions (Ruto is already crying foul about his voters being suppressed by the use of threats and other schemes), ensuring those who do not turn out to vote in the competition’s regions are voted for by returning officers and party agents (should explain why Raila has insisted on the use of manual registers as voting for those who haven’t turned up to vote is very easy by the use of a manual register), manipulating numbers that are in the KIMS kits (the government is more likely to do this than the opposition), and manipulating the numbers that have arrived at the IEBC servers (again the government is more likely to achieve this than the opposition).
Rigging is therefore very likely to happen, but in 2022 whoever decides to rig the election using whatever means must do so very carefully so as to not leave evidence behind that can be presented before the supreme court. The rigging that will likely happen is likely going to be in favour of Raila Odinga.
Going through the scenarios presented above, one is forced to make only one conclusion; that even though Ruto has a very slim chance of winning the 2022 presidential election, he must overcome insurmountable barriers in order to win. Now that the state is not on his side, overcoming these barriers is extremely hard, almost next to impossible. Thus, although I won’t be surprised if William Ruto wins, I will possibly consider such a win a miracle.