Cablegate: Kenya Elections: Presumptive Ethnic Alignments
DE RUEHNR #3581/01 2531222
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R 101222Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2172
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9518
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5440
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 4821
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2239
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1443
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2379
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 003581
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KE PGOV PHUM
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: PRESUMPTIVE ETHNIC ALIGNMENTS
REF: A. ANDRE/AF-E EMAIL DATED 07SEP07
B. 06 NAIROBI 5393
1. (SBU) Summary: Analysis of raw voter registration data
reveals the approximate ethnic composition of the electorate,
which differs somewhat from that of the general population.
Given current ethnic voting bloc political alignments and
assuming no major disparities in voter turnout, this data
implies that the campaign season will open with President
Mwai Kibaki favored by 52 percent of the electorate, Raila
Odinga favored by 27 percent, and Kalonzo Musyoka favored by
9 percent. End Summary.
2. (SBU) The U.S. Mission obtained raw voter registration
data from the Electoral Commission of Kenya as of 28 May 2007
(Ref A). Our analysis of the data (Ref A) provides the
following ethnic portrait of the Kenyan electorate. Septels
will examine gender and religious identification aspects of
the electorate as well as implications for the future
composition of parliament.
Share of Electorate of Ethnic Voting Blocs
3. (SBU) While this Mission and Kenyan civil society leaders
warn Kenyan voters of the ills from ethnic bloc voting, the
reality is that Kenyan politics continues to revolve around
ethic identity rather than issues or the probity of political
leaders. Ref C contains an in-depth treatment of Kenya's
ethnic voting blocs, including the estimated share of the
population for each bloc. Our analysis of voter registration
data provides the share of the electorate for each major
voting bloc. We determined the majority ethnic community for
each of Kenya's 210 constituencies, assigning some
constituencies "mixed" status. The results are provided
below in descending order.
4. (SBU) GEMA (Kikuyu and close linguistic cousins and
traditional political allies the Meru and Embu): Estimated
share of the general population: 32 percent. Share of
registered voters: 28 percent. Number of GEMA majority
constituencies: 49 out of 210 (23 percent). Constituency
distribution: Nairobi: 2, Eastern: 13, Central: 30, Rift
5. (SBU) Our methodology undercounts GEMA because Kikuyu, to
a greater extent than other Kenyan comunities, often live
outside their majority areas. Also, Kikuyu are a significant
component of several large Nairobi "mixed" constituencies.
6. (SBU) Kalenjin/Turkana: General Population: 10 percent.
Electorate: 13%. Consituencies: 33 out of 210 (15%).
Distribution: Rift Valley: 32. Western: 1.
7. (SBU) "Kalenjin," like "Luhya" and "Mijikenda," is a name
given to a loose collection of several distict communities.
The Turkana are not considered Kalenjin, but vote with them.
The Kalenjin voted as one during the reign of fellow Kalenjin
President Daniel arap Moi, but are now losing their political
8. (SBU) Luo: General population: 12 percent. Electorate:
10 percent. Constituencies: 22 out of 210 (10 percent).
Constituency Distribution: Nairobi: 1, Nyanza: 21.
9. (SBU) Luo are numerous in several Nairobi mixed
constiuencies and make up a clear majority in one.
Therefore, our methodology somewhat undercounts Luos, but to
a lesser degree than GEMA voters.
10. (SBU) Luhya: General Population: 12 percent. Electorate:
10 percent. Constituencies: 23 out of 210 (11 percent).
Distribution: All Western Province.
11. (SBU) Comment: The Luhya consist of sixteen distinct
groups, speaking different languages and having different
traditional political alliances. Luhya leaders often urge
"Luhya Unity," but in fact the Luhya do not behave as a
unified voting bloc. End Comment.
12. (SBU) Kamba: General Population: 11 percent. Electorate:
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9 percent. Constituencies: 17 out of 210 (8 percent).
Distribution: all Eastern Province.
13. (SBU) Mixed: 12 percent of the electorate live in
ethnically mixed constituencies where no one group
predominates. Several of these constituencies have suffered
significant political violence in the past. Septel on
election "hot spots" will review these constituencies.
Constituencies: 17 out 0f 210 (8 percent).
14. (SBU) Other small groups:
-- The Kisii and Kuria (the two minority communities in
Luo-dominated Nyanza province) together account for 5 percent
of the national electorate. They usually vote in opposition
to the Luo.
-- The Mijikenda, a collection of nine coastal ethnic
communities, also account for 5 percent of the electorate.
They are only a semi-cohesive voting bloc.
-- The Maasai and their Samburu cousins account for 3 percent
of the electorate. They tend to vote in opposition to the
Kikuyu due to land competition concerns.
-- The Somalis account for 2 percent of the electorate, but
nearly all of the population of Northeastern Province. They
tend to identify with KANU, but also tend to support the
government of the day. Under current political allignments,
that means pro-Kibaki.
-- The Borana (Oromo; northern half of Eastern province),
Taita (Coast province on Tanzania border), Pokomos (Tana
River, Coast Province) and Swahili/Arab/Bajuns (Coast
Province) are each under 1 percent of the electorate, but
dominate certain constituencies and so generally have
representation in parliament.
Presumptive Presidential Electoral Alignments
15. (SBU) According to conventional wisdom and traditional
ethnic voting patterns, the campaign season will begin with
the following presumptive ethnic voting bloc alignments,
assuming a continued KANU/Kibaki alliance. Of course,
campaigning can influence these alignments, as can political
deals with ethnic/political leaders during the course of the
campaign. Ultimately, it is voters who vote that determine
the outcome. This data cannot predict actual voter turnout.
Mwai Kibaki (party not yet declared): GEMA (28 percent),
KANU-aligned elements of Kalenjin (7 percent), supporters of
pro-Kibaki parties active in Western Province (5 percent),
Kuria & Kisii (5 percent), supporters of pro-Kibaki parties
active in Coast Province (half of Mijikenda, Taitas, Pokomos
-- 4 percent), Somalis & Boranas (3 percent). TOTAL: 52
percent. (NOTE: Kibaki scored 45 percent in the latest
credible candidate preference poll. END NOTE.)
Raila Odinga (Orange Democratic Movement): Luo (10 percent),
Kalenjin (6 percent), Luhya (5 percent), Coast Province (half
of Mijikendas, Swahilis/Bajuns/Arabs -- 3 percent), Maasai &
Samburu (3 percent). TOTAL: 27 percent. (NOTE: Odinga
scored 25 percent in the latest credible candidate preference
poll. END NOTE.)
Kalonzo Musyoka (Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya): Kamba (9
percent). (NOTE: Musyoka scored 11 percent in the latest
credible candidate preference poll. END NOTE.)
16. (SBU) The remaining 12 percent of the electorate are
registered in "mixed" constituencies. To win the presidency,
a candidate need only obtain a plurality of the vote and at
least 25 percent in five of the eight provinces.