The Beginnings of the Campaign & the Party Primaries
Once the registration process had finished and the registers were opened in August, President Moi was free to go to the polls at any time. Parliament, supposedly composed entirely of KANU MPs, remained in session, but infiltrated by opposition sympathisers. Everyone knew that the elections were close, but no official announcement appeared. With FORD's formal division into two hostile parts in October 1992, however, KANU moved swiftly onto the offensive.
The campaign that followed was divided into two parts. From 21 October to 9 December, the parties marshalled their forces and nominated their candidates, while the campaign proper ran from 9 December to 29 December. This period was governed by a certain historical inevitability as politics returned to its traditional patterns of ethnic appeals, personal alliances and unprincipled calculations of self-interest. A combination of KANU's regional tactics and the opposition's inability to build stable, national factional coalitions meant that what had begun as a national movement for self-renewal, liberation and democracy gradually turned into bitter, ethnically oriented trench warfare. The opposition did keep some of its moral advantage, but it was severely weakened by internal conflict, and by its willingness to accept even the most compromised KANU die-hards. For KANU, the campaign and the election itself were a triumph. No political party that was so unpopular among such a large proportion of the population could have won an outright victory under such difficult circumstances without luck, planning and some electoral manipulation. The government walked a tightrope throughout. Facing Western pressure and widespread domestic discontent they had to hold an election, which they were unable blatantly to rig but could not afford to lose. They had to win, but with enough finesse for the West to give them the benefit of the doubt.
With the Provincial Administration and the police biased in favour of the ruling party, the opposition parties always faced a difficult contest.