Why KANU Won
KANU's decisive victory in the 1992 elections was a product of three independent factors. First, the opposition failed to present a united front; second, the election was fought regionally, and KANU had the edge in a sufficient number of regions, especially the less-populated but over- represented ones; and third, the state's bias and electoral malpractice were sufficient to swing the balance in crucial contested areas.
The most frequent explanation given for the opposition's defeat was that it was divided and had 'shot itself in the foot'.1 The splits between the DP and FORD, then within FORD, and finally within FORD-Asili divided their strength, allowing KANU to win on a minority of both the Presidential and the Parliamentary polls. Too much effort was expended on internal in-fighting which could have been put to use against the common enemy; by promoting an image of disunity and weakness, the opposition's endemic factionalism also persuaded doubters to return to KANU. Simple arithmetic suggests that a united opposition or an electoral pact between any two parties would have out-polled President Moi and probably won the Presidential election. The opposition collectively received 63 per cent of the Presidential votes, which appears to suggest that either a DP/FORD- Asili alliance or a united FORD would have won an overall majority and 25 per cent in five Provinces, and therefore triumphed completely. In the Parliamentary election, if the opposition had fielded only a single candidate against KANU, assuming that 25 per cent of the voters who voted for the party running third would have returned to KANU, the government would have won only 87 seats, the opposition 101.
The reality, however, is somewhat different. FORD's disunity damaged its chances, but unity might not have been enough to alter the overall result. Whoever the Presidential candidate had been, once bitterness had begun to build up after May 1992, it would have reduced dramatically the turnout from the ethnic homelands of the other. If Odinga had been the candidate of a united FORD, many Kikuyu would have voted for the DP