Cablegate: Kenya Elections: Projected Voters
DE RUEHNR #3897/01 2741351
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011351Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2637
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9549
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5468
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 4846
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2284
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1497
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2401
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2330
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 003897
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KE PGOV PHUM
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: PROJECTED VOTERS
REF: NAIROBI 3609 AND PREVIOUS
1. (SBU) Summary: Using recent and historic voter
registration, voter turnout and population data, we have
projected likely voters by region and ethnic community.
Kibaki's Kikuyu/Meru/Embu base accounts for at least 30
percent of projected voters. Raila Odinga's Luo base and
Maasai/Samburu allies account for 15 percent of projected
voters. The Kalenjin and Luhya communities, who both sides
are courting intensely, account for 17 and 10 percent of
projected voters respectively. An Odinga victory would
require a collapse of Moi's influence among the Kalenjin (Moi
supports Kibaki) and a united Luhya vote against fellow Bantu
Kibaki (the Luhya consist of 16 distinct groups that
historically have formed diverse political alliances). Odinga
has a track record as a brilliant campaign tactician, but
overcoming Kenya's traditional ethnic political alignments
will be a tall order. End Summary.
2. (SBU) An analysis of raw voter registration data from the
Electoral Commission of Kenya as of 28 May 2007, of voter
turnout data from the November 2005 draft constitution
referendum and of data extrapolated from the 1999 census
reveals the following insights:
Kibaki Camp: Kikuyu/Embu/Meru: 30 percent of projected
Odinga Camp: Luo: 12 percent, Maasai/Samburu: 3 percent.
Musyoka Camp: Kamba: 8 percent.
Swing Votes: Kalenjin & Turkana: 17 percent; Luhya: 10
percent, Kisii & Kuria: 4 percent, Mijikenda: 3 percent,
Somali: 1 percent.
Mixed constituencies & others: 13 percent.
Turnout Rates per 11/2005:
Kibaki Camp: Kikuyu/Embu/Meru: 60 percent turnout.
Odinga Camp: Luo: 65 percent, Maasai/Samburu: 60 percent.
Musyoka Camp: Kamba: 51 percent.
Swing Votes: Kalenjin & Turkana: 70 percent; Luhya: 47
percent, Kisii & Kuria: 43 percent, Mijikenda: 35 percent,
Somali: 24 percent.
Mixed constituencies: 44 percent.
Registered Voters as Share of Voting Age Population:
Densely populated Central and Western provinces have the
highest rates of registered voters. Underpopulated, remote
and infrastructure-starved Northeast province has the lowest
rate. (Note: Only relative rates are available as the
population data is based on an unreliable extrapolation of
1999 census data. End Note.)
Comment: Actual Voters Decide Elections
3. (SBU) The 2005 referendum on the draft constitution was a
hard fought, high profile campaign. The level of turnout in
that exercise should approximate turnout in this year's
presidential and parliamentary contest. High voter
registration rates in the president's home province (Central)
and the Vice-President's home province (Western) are
reasonable given the population density of those regions and
the relatively good road networks found there. Conversely,
low population density and poor to non-existent road networks
explain the relatively low voter registration figures and
exceptionally low voter turnout figures from Northeast
province. Traditional attitudes of alienation from the
central government may also account for these figures in
ethnic Somali Northeastern Province. The Kalenjin had the
NAIROBI 00003897 002 OF 002
highest rate of voter turnout in 2005 due to their history of
intense political mobilization during the Moi era. These
rates may wane this year as Moi's influence lessens.
4. (SBU) The battleground for this election will be the
Kalenjin districts of Rift Valley Province, ethnic Luhya
Western Province and Coast Province. At some point in the
campaign, Musyoka may offer up his ethnic-Kamba supporters (8
percent of projected voters) to the highest bidder, although
given Kibaki's high poll numbers and Odinga's low poll
numbers in Kambaland, a Musyoka/Odinga alliance would be a
5. (SBU) In light of the recent spate of contradictory
public opinion polls on the presidential race, it is useful
to recall that actual voters determine the outcome of
elections, hence the attempt here to project the ethnic
identities of likely voters given available data. An Odinga
victory would require a collapse of Moi's influence among the
Kalenjin (Moi supports Kibaki) and a united Luhya vote
against fellow Bantu Kibaki (the Luhya consist of 16 distinct
groups that historically have formed diverse political
alliances). Odinga has a track record as a brilliant campaign
tactician, and he has widespread anti-Kikuyu resentment on
his side, but overcoming Kenya's traditional ethnic political
alignments will be a tall order.