It’s already been a big year for elections in the Caribbean, but Wednesday will add at least a minor coda to elections in Grenada and Barbados earlier this February.
Though the Cayman Islands are a British overseas territory, not independent, they function much like an independent state with the British monarch as a head of state and the prime minister as a head of government. Though it has just 57,000 people, it has its own currency, a robust economy as a world offshore financial center and its own Legislative Assembly, as codified in a 2009 constitution promulgated by the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom.
Traditionally, Caymanian politics has been a two-party affair, the United Democratic Party and the People’s Progressive Movement.
But the December 2012 arrest of premier McKeeva Bush changed that — the result of a nearly decade-long investigation into financial corruption, theft, and abuse of office. He was ousted in a vote of no confidence, and his former deputy Julianna O’Connor-Connolly succeeded him.
Despite his legal troubles, Bush continued to lead the UDM in the election, though O’Connor-Connolly led the offshoot People’s National Alliance.
The split among UDM figures has led to what looks like it will be an impressive victory for the PPM, which is on target to form a government in the 18-member Legislative Assembly under its leader Alden McLaughlin.
In a field of eight candidates, and with the two frontrunners — Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga — currently in a dead heat by most objective measures in the race to become Kenya’s fourth post-independence president, it seems more unlikely than ever that a candidate will win the 50%-plus majority necessary to win the presidency outright on March 4.
That means that the man likely to place third in Monday’s presidential election, Musalia Mudavadi (pictured above), could well emerge as the kingmaker in a runoff.
Mudavadi, though he’s only making his first run for president, is certainly no stranger to the elite of Kenyan politics, and he is one of the half-dozen or so top politicians that have emerged following the quarter-center rule of former president Daniel arap Moi. Mudavadi has allied in the past with both Kenyatta and Odinga, however, which makes it unclear who he would back in the event of a runoff. Furthermore, his ethnic group (Luhya), a Bantu group that comprises around 14% of Kenya’s population, mostly concentrated in Western Province north of Lake Victoria in Kenya’s southwest, is somewhat of a ‘swing’ group as well.
Mudavadi served as finance minister in the mid-1990s under arap Moi and as Kenya’s vice president for less than two months in the final days of the arap Moi administration, and his father, Moses Mudavadi, was until his death in 1989 a key minister in the arap Moi administration. He has arap Moi’s support in the 2013 presidential election, and he is sometimes viewed pejoratively as arap Moi’s ‘project’ — in other words, a bit of a dupe that arap Moi is using to regain power behind the scenes. Continue reading Mudavadi likely to become kingmaker in Kenya presidential runoff