Kenyans, vote not by emotions but rational analysis of issues

Given the heightened election temperatures, I searched for studies that can guide how I’m going to vote.

Those interested may read Drew Westen’s book, The political brain: The role of emotion in deciding the fate of the nation.

There is sufficient proof that, when it comes to voting, emotions are stronger than rationality. And Kenya is no exception.

Politicians win by activating voters’ emotions with phrases like “mtu wetu” (our kin) and “punda amechoka” (the donkey is tired).

It’s on these convictions that supporters rationalise how to vote, by saying things like “Jubilee has done 1, 2, 3” or “Nasa will do 1, 2, 3”.


If you have decided how to vote based on emotions, don’t waste your time reading the rest of this article: It’s meant for those who may want to vote based on rationality.

Any intelligent, rational Kenyan voter by now knows that the presidential election will be won by either Nasa or Jubilee.

Besides several public opinions polls, David Ndii (of Nasa), in a recent rejoinder to Mutahi Ngunyi’s (Jubilee) “tyranny of numbers” theory, leads to that very conclusion.

The election result will depend on many factors, if and buts, that it’s not possible to determine a straight winner.

In essence, any Kenyan who votes for either Jubilee or Nasa has a 50 per cent chance.


This is how I plan to improve on my 50 per cent. I will vote looking beyond the results of Tuesday’s elections.

I’m asking myself the following simple questions: What is likely to happen to my family, friends or country if Jubilee or Nasa win?

Which outcome is likely to lead to no or less violence, create a balanced but not too powerful a government, peaceful 2022 polls?

I’m aware there are voters—certainly a minority—whose questions go like, “Which government will give me more contracts, will not prosecute me for past or future corruption deals?”

Which questions will you use to decide how to vote? My rational advice is that you vote by thinking beyond August 8, 2017 and listen to your conscience.

Or do you want to remain an emotional slave to proponents of “mtu wetu” or “punda amechoka”? Your choice.


* * *

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru’s threat to shut down media houses that announce Tuesday’s election results is unconstitutional and misguided.

Article 35, under the freedom of the Press, gives media houses the power to disseminate any news content that is of public interest.

There is a difference between “announcing” and “declaring” results; he should not limit media’s right to transmit or tally results.

Media houses are our gatekeepers and we must be updated since we have a right to information.


Most politicians tirelessly lure voters to help them to rise to those posts so that they can loot public resources for selfish gain.

This time, let’s vote prudently.


barry salil

Leaders must not destroy Judiciary