High profile defectors from Nasa to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee were disappointed following the low voter turnout in their regions during Thursday’s repeat presidential election.
The defectors, including both current and former governors and senators as well as losers in the August 8 elections, had decamped to the Jubilee Party in high-profile functions attended by President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, promising to ensure Jubilee had a sweeping win in their backyards.
From Ukambani region, they included former Kitui senator David Musila who lost the gubernatorial seat to Ms Charity Ngilu while in neighbouring Coast, they included former Mombasa senator Hassan Omar, current Taita-Taveta governor Granton Samboja and his predecessor John Mruttu as well as Nyali MP Mohammed Ali.
In Western Kenya, the defectors included former Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, former Vihiga governor Moses Akaranga, former Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu and former Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba.
Others included former speaker Kenneth Marende and former minister Chris Okemo.
In Gusii land, they were led by former Kisii senator Chris Obure, former MPs Joseph Kiangoi, James Gesami and Walter Nyambati among others.
Since the repeat election, Mr Kenyatta’s campaigners in Ukambani have come under attack from Wiper Party for the poor showing at the ballot despite having been facilitated with huge campaign resources by the President.
Based on the assurances he got from his foot soldiers in the region during the campaigns, the President had hoped to increase his vote score from what he garnered in the August elections.
But the figures went significantly down, even with the withdrawal of his main rival from the race.
According to the presidential election results posted on the IEBC public portal, out of the 1.5 million votes from Ukambani region, Mr Kenyatta garnered 122,484 votes across the three counties of Kitui, Machakos and Makueni down from the 175,189 he got in the August elections.
Mr Musila’s defection to the Jubilee camp was seen as a big catch for the President because he had been a key ally of Nasa principal Kalonzo Musyoka.
The former senator had pledged to mobilise support for Jubilee saying the repeat election ordered by the Supreme Court was a blessing in disguise for the Kamba community to chart a different political course.
Mr Musila hoped to bring to Mr Kenyatta’s basket the 114,000 votes he garnered as governor candidate and his defection was highly publicised as a morale booster to younger Jubilee MPs in the opposition stronghold.
This did not go down well with voters as it was interpreted as a case of sour grapes rather than objective ideology.
For instance, in his backyard of Mwingi West constituency which has 51,849 registered voters, only 3,926 people turned out to vote with Mr Kenyatta getting 3,503 votes, representing a 6.7 per cent score.
The boycott trend was replicated in almost all the 22 Ukambani constituencies except Kitui South and Mavoko constituencies which registered a voter turnout of 16.7 per cent and 13.8 per cent respectively.
Mbooni Constituency with 85,876 registered voters had the worst score with 3.6 per cent turnout after only 3,168 people voted. Mr Kenyatta got 2,931 votes.
In Makueni County where campaigns were led by Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu, out of the 423,310 registered voters, only 18,146 people voted, meaning the massive resources invested in the area yielded an average of 4.2 per cent turnout.
Kitui senator Enoch Wambua and his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said the election results were a sad indictment on Jubilee leaders in the region as they had exposed all the assurances they gave the President as lies.
The two senators said since 2013, the Kamba community’s voice had been consistent, loud and clear and the results showed that the President had been misled by people who lacked support on the ground.
“I think President Kenyatta should surcharge these people for giving him a false impression every election and the campaign resources he spends on them,” said Mr Wambua.
In Western Kenya, the turnout was poorest in Kakamega, Vihiga and Busia counties with the Jubilee camp blaming it on intimidation from Nasa supporters.
Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka who along with Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa spearheaded campaigns for the President’s re-election in Bungoma and Trans-Nzoia counties said things had not gone as planned.