One of my favourite columnists, Makau Mutua, floats the idea of Mr. Abdikadir Hussein Mohammed pulling off an Obama in Kenya. Its a great leap for well read intellectual heavyweights to float the idea of a Somali becoming Kenya's president but can Kenya pull off an 'America'? Despite the many parallels Abdikadir's rise has with that of Obama, the former doesn't possess Obama's soaring rhetorical skills and his celebrity persona. What he lacks in grandiose and flowery rhetoric, he makes up for in unparalleled statesmanship.
I think a certain number of issues will work against him;
Kenya's political system is one underlined by tribal allegiances and class divide. Political power always belongs to the upper class of the 'big five' who are at the heart of the Kenyan aristocracy.
Somalis, for all their new found wealth, have not joined the rotund corporate fat cats of Kenya and have not formed any powerful lobby groups that might assist with funding, campaign donations, etc
If figures from the census are to be believed, the Muslim vote in this nation is about 10 percent of the whole electorate. That lowers Mr. Abdikadir's voter base to a small subset of the larger population.
Here is what I think will work to Mr. Abdikadir's advantage in 2012;
The young educated class in this nation who do not buy into the whole tribe issue, as shown by the election of defrauder-in-chief, Mike Sonko to the National Assembly will certainly be willing to vote for a tested visionary leader.
The emerging professional class of cosmopolitan cities like Nairobi and Mombasa are willing to change Kenya's image from an archaic tribal fiefdom into a place where anyone with solid credentials can make it to the top
The new constitution and the requirement that the winner garner 51% of the vote will make it hard for any of the big five to do it on their own. Even if Mr. Abdikadir fails to win the first round, he is set to gain a big bargaining chip if he galvanizes the aforementioned subsets of our electorate. (Muslims, Minority tribes & young professionals)
Also, a lot of minority tribes who have never had representation in State House will certainly welcome one of them making it to the top as It will mean an end to the big five dictatorship.
It will also be a nice break from the violence that rocks this nation every election cycle since no one will feel that their arch enemy's win is a doom for their tribes ventures.
Enough with my pseudo-political scientist analysis, here is the real article by Makau Mutua.