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Cablegate: Kenya Elections: Countdown 5: 9 Days Away

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #4803/01 3521240
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181240Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3941
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9745
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5629
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 4963
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2457
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1749
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2505
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2430
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS NAIROBI 004803

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PREL KE
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: COUNTDOWN 5: 9 DAYS AWAY

REF: NAIROBI 4759 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The latest opinion polls show Odinga in
the lead. All three major candidates express public
confidence, while some of their prominent supporters express
private gloom. There exists a theoretical possibility that
Odinga or Kibaki could win the national vote while still
failing to qualify for presidential office due to failure to
win election to parliament (Odinga) or failure to clear the
hurdle of at least 25 percent support in five of the eight
provinces (Kibaki). END SUMMARY.

Three Polls Show Odinga in the Lead
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) On Saturday, 15 December The Nation newspaper
published polls from three firms: INFOTRAK Harris (IH),
Strategic Research (SR) and Consumer Insight (CI). All three
show ODM's Raila Odinga in the lead, although the Consumer
Insight poll shows that lead as within the margin for error.
The results are as follows:

Raila Odinga (ODM): 45.8 (IH), 46 (SR), 42.5 (CI); AVG: 44.7
Mwai Kibaki (PNU): 35.9 (IH), 36 (SR), 40.8 (CI); AVG: 37.5
Kalonzo Musyoka (ODM-K): 16.4 (IH), 17 (SR), 15.1 (CI); AVG:
16.1

As regards momentum, Odinga is up 1.5 percent (averaging the
three polls) over the previous week. Kibaki is down 1.5
percent. Musyoka is static.

Public Confidence, Private Gloom, Complex Scenarios
--------------------------------------------- ------

3. (SBU) All three first tier candidates are confidently
predicting victory in public. Party insiders have expressed
private doubts to us. ODM insiders worry that blowback from
the mishandled party nomination exercises may cost them
support in recently won regions like Kisii where they had
previously made important gains, but where that support was
shallow. ODMers also express concern that they may have
peaked too early in Rift Valley Province. There are signs
that the ODM wave there is beginning to recede. A few ODMers
also worry about the possibility Odinga could lose his
parliamentary seat in Nairobi's Langata constituency, though
most scoff at the idea. The Kenyan constitution requires
election to Parliament to qualify for presidential office.

4. (SBU) While some PNU insiders have marshaled facts and
figures to prove they will win on turnout, others say they
have turned their attention to preserving their individual
interests in an Odinga-ruled Kenya. PNUers also express
concern that Kibaki could theoretically win the national vote
on the strength of turnout in his native Mount Kenya region
(Central Province and the Meru/Embu districts of Eastern
Province), but still fail to win at least 25 percent in five
of the eight provinces (a constitutional requirement to win
the presidency). Kibaki's poll numbers are dangerously low
in Nyanza (principally Luo), Western (Luhya), Northeastern
(Somali), and Coast provinces (fifty percent Muslim). In the
event Kibaki won the national vote but failed to clear the 25
percent support rule, there would be a runoff between himself
and the next placed finisher (presumably Odinga). In this
scenario, Musyoka's ethnic Kamba base would likely determine
the outcome, probably in Kibaki's favor. (The Kamba are
culturally, linguistically and historically close to the
Kikuyu, but not to the same extent as the Meru and Embu.
Kibaki consistently polls as the second most popular
politician in Kambaland, after native son Musyoka.)

5. (SBU) Musyoka continues to insist publicly that he will
remain in the race to the end, and that he will win. We
believe he knows better. In the event that Odinga loses his
constituency, and so is eliminated from the race (unlikely,
but possible), then the candidate with the next highest vote
count, presumably Kibaki, becomes President. If however, the
candidate with the second highest vote count (Kibaki) does
not clear the hurdle of 25 percent support in five of the
eight provinces, then a runoff would be held between the two
candidates who got the highest number of votes AND/AND won
their constituency races (presumably Kibaki and Musyoka). In
such an eventuality (however unlikely), then Musyoka would
probably receive most of Odinga's support, and so win the
presidency. More likely, Musyoka will seek a post-election
parliamentary alliance with the first-round winner, exacting
the best price he can get. Intriguingly, Kibaki has not
named a running mate, unlike Odinga and Musyoka.

RANNEBERGER

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