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13 Key battlegrounds that Ruto, Raila must win to secure presidency in August

by Amos Khaemba

With 144 days remaining to the General Election, the battle for numbers has shifted to 13 swing-vote areas, that will determine who clinches the Presidency.

All facts remaining constant, 13 counties hold key to State House for Raila Odinga of Azimio and William Ruto for the yet-to-be registered Kenya Kwanza alliance.

According to updated records by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the 13 counties have a combined 5,661,176 registered voters.

These counties are, Nairobi (2,505,199), Tana River (137,661), Lamu (79,157), Garissa (207,435), Wajir (196,466), Marsabit (164,864), Turkana (241,583), West Pokot (214,574), Samburu (98,081), Narok (397,618), Kajiado (463,546), Kisii (638,603) and Nyamira (316,389).

According to political pundits, both the ODM leader and the deputy president are much in control of their backyards.

Assuming that the former prime minister retains his traditional voting bloc of 18 counties, he garners 8,450,380 voters.

The 18 counties that have previously supported Raila are Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Mandera, Isiolo, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Trans Nzoia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia,Siaya Kisumu, Homa Bay, and Migor.

On the hand, DP Ruto is expected to take Mt Kenya counties and the majority of Rift Valley counties that have a combined voting base of 8, 040,885 votes.

Even though DP Ruto is leading in Mt Kenya, political pundits opine that the region will also be a battleground for the August presidential poll contenders.

“Ruto has an advantage in Mt Kenya so far but we don’t know how that is going to change when they finally pick their running mates,” Wolf an analyst with TIFA research told Daily Nation.

Raila Odinga’s campaign team is banking on the influence of President Uhuru Kenyatta to get a significant portion of Mt Kenya votes.

“Kenyatta is a voter and remains the most significant leader in Mt Kenya. His entry into the campaigns will definitely boost our prospects in the region,”  Makau Mutua, head of Raila’s Think Tank told The Daily Nation.

According to the recent polls by Mizani Africa, the ODM leader is leading in the counties of Nairobi, Kisii, Turkana, Garissa, Lamu, Nyamira, with a popularity rate of 49.9%, 62.3% 52.4%,51.1% 55.5%, and 57.5% respectively.

While DP Ruto has 36.7%, 36.4 %, 40.6% 48.1%, 37.8% and 39.1% in those counties respectively.

In the previous elections, Raila Odinga performed well in counties of Nairobi, Kisii, Nyamira,Turkana, Narok, Kajiado and Lamu when he was competing against UhuRuto ticket.

For example, in 2017, Raila led in Nairobi garnering 828,826 votes against president Uhuru who got 791,291 votes.

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