The PM is combining three strategies borrowed from American politics - the Southern Strategy, which has been known to disable majority vote blocs at key points in electioneering; Dog-whistle politics, coded language on the campaign trail that appears to mean one thing to the general public but has more specific resonance for subgroups; and the Bradley Effect, which has seen poll tally projections evaporate into thin air inside the secret ballot voting booth on Election Day
On the fifth anniversary of the Kiambaa Church massacre, one of the most iconic atrocities of the post-election violence of 2007-08 in Kenya, the East African Bureau Chief of the Financial Times of London, Katrina Manson, wrote from Kenya, "On New Year's day in 2008, as Kikuyus in western Kenya prayed inside a church in Kiambaa, a town in the Kalenjin heartlands, thugs set them alight. Mary Wandia, 45, heard the screams of her daughter Joyce as the two-year-old was burnt alive along with 30 worshippers.
"Ms Wandia spent months in hospital. Her face is scarred and her right hand deformed and unwieldy. She cannot cook or wash and still needs a skin graft. She says she will never go back to live in Kiambaa.
"I will never trust these people [Kalenjin] again; they were pretending to be very friendly but they're so secretive and you cannot tell what they might be planning," says Wandia.
"You can only forgive someone if they seek forgiveness, but nobody has even come to seek forgiveness. There's been no progress at all."
Given the present background narrative of an electoral pact between the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin whose sheer force of numbers gives Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta a head start like no other candidate's bar Prime Minister Raila Odinga's, Wandia's sentiments are a stark reminder of one of the deepest divides of Kenya politics.
But there are other complex narratives unfolding contemporaneously with Uhuru and running mate William Ruto's bold gamble of uniting the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin vote blocs on one presidential ticket and which also apply to them.
For instance, there comes a point in the lives of all political leaders when they no longer know what their grassroots supporters want. This point can occur as early as mid-career or as late as the end of a decades' long, life-long career.
It can also teach a versatile leader lessons that had better be rapidly internalised and acted upon. When it occurs, this point is both unexpected and unmistakable and leaves even the most cunning and sly of operatives - and his or her closest handlers and observers, both friend and foe - wondering whether they are still up to the task of digesting the fruit of intelligence.
Such a point occurred for Prime Minister Raila Odinga beginning with the all-party nominations of December 18, 2012, and culminating in his campaign tour of Luo Nyanza at the end of January 2013.
Lessons of the 'Homa Bay Uprising':
The volcanic eruption of grassroots discontent that confronted Raila, rejecting his preferred candidates for a number of elective seats below the presidency, including relatives and close associates, was a sight to behold.
In Homa Bay, Raila sat dejectedly on the VIP dais as ministers, aides and bodyguards provided human shields from an enraged crowd ready to throw missiles. Sections of the media even hooted about a "Homa Bay Uprising".
Given the fanatical Luo Nyanza support for Raila and the Odinga brand of politics generally, this eruption of the grassroots was indeed surprising. Their support for his presidential ambitions is implicit.
But the Luo grassroots will no longer be given authoritative direction from the top on how to vote for the five other elective offices on offer at the general election under the new rules in the constitution - governor, senator, MP, county rep and women's rep. They want these decisions to be their own.
Raila's total control of the Luo vote in the decade, 1997-2007 is clearly a thing of the past and the loss of it has gathered momentum in the period since the last general election when he missed becoming President by a whisker.
It was a decade of carefully plotted progression, rising from a Mickey Mouse presidential candidature in December 1997 in which he had only the Luo vote to the Kibaki Tosha king-making of October-December 2002 that broke Kanu's back to the four-million-plus vote challenger of December 2007.
In the violent aftermath of 2007, Raila rose to become only the second person to be Prime Minister of Kenya, after Mzee Jomo Kenyatta in 1963-64. Now, more than ever before, as far as Raila and his supporters are concerned, the only way to go is up.
All other leaders of ethnic vote blocs must have looked at Raila's predicament and its timing and wondered about the state of mind of their own grassroots and what nasty surprises lurk there that could surface with the worst possible timing and impacts.
And nowhere is this question more moot in the run-up to March 4 than in the Jubilee Coalition's Deputy President candidate Ruto's Rift Valley grassroots of Kalenjinland.
For the last couple of years, Ruto's main political narrative has been to the effect that he is the engineer of one of the most remarkable political stratagems in the history of Kenyan electioneering - an unprecedented vote pact between the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin, two of the biggest blocs in the land and the only communities to have produced presidents of Kenya in the first 49 years of Independence.
Greatest gamble of Kenyan elections:
Uhuru is the presidential contender of the Jubilee Coalition, which brings together his The National Alliance (TNA) and Ruto's United Republican Party (URP), among others.
This is easily the greatest gamble of Kenyan electoral politics. However, while there is no doubt that Uhuru will inherit outgoing President Mwai Kibaki's lock on the massive Kikuyu vote bloc, there is incipient debate about the extent of Ruto's hold on the Kalenjin and the community's political appetite for being instrumental in propelling a third Kikuyu to State House in quick succession to one who has just served 10 years there.
If the Uhuru-Ruto gamble works, then the two will have played for some of the highest and most extraordinary stakes and won really Big Time. Their victory would rewrite the electioneering formbook in Kenya for the next several presidential election cycles.
And although they might face governance challenges never faced before by the presidency on account of their being crimes against humanity indictees at the International Criminal Court and an unhappy Nairobi-based Diplomatic Corps whose Western complement would pointedly sup with the opposition and give the presidency a wide berth, the success of their gamble would give both friend and foe some considerable pause.
However, if they lose by dint of Ruto no longer enjoying an influence over the Kalenjin vote such as the one he had in the 2005 national referendum on the constitution and the 2007 presidential election, and by dint also of superior strategy on Raila's part, then there will still be a paradigm shift in Kenyan electioneering, but to the detriment of the leadership of the country's biggest community - the Kikuyu elite.
No group finds less use for being in opposition than the Kikuyu elite, which considers itself part and parcel of government and has a sense of entitlement regarding running Kenyan affairs like no other group within these borders.
If Raila wins, and he and his strategists have almost nil doubts that he will make it this time, it will be on account of three strategies borrowed from American politics - the Bradley Effect, the Southern Strategy and Dog-whistle politics electioneering.
The procedure effect of all three strategies employed at the same time is the encirclement, isolation and defeat of the nation's most numerous single vote bloc - the Mt Kenya bloc fronted by the Kikuyu elite.
The Bradley Effect is a phenomenon of American politics first noted in 1982.
Global newsmagazine, Time, published an essay on October 17, 2008, just a couple of weeks to Barack Obama's first historic win in the US presidential election.
The essay, headlined 'A Brief history of the Bradley Effect' stated, "The theory holds that voters have a tendency to withhold their leanings from pollsters when they plan to vote for a white candidate instead of a black one.
In 1982, Tom Bradley--the African-American mayor of Los Angeles--ran for governor of California. On the eve of the election, polls anointed him a prohibitive favourite.
But on election day, Bradley lost to his white opponent, Republican George Deukmejian. Some experts chalked up the skewed polling to skin colour".
Alex Altman, the Time magazine writer, was asking Americans whether Obama was headed straight for a Bradley Effect scenario that would see his lead in the opinion polls evaporate in the voting booth on Election Day.
But Obama went on and buried the Bradley Effect for good, not once but twice in a row. The decommissioning of the Bradley Effect in American electioneering will be one of Obama's greatest legacies.
Electoral theatres & players:
However, the dynamics of the Bradley Effect remain active in other electoral theatres and among players other than Americans. The numbers narratives that the Kenyan electorate of almost 15 million voters is being confronted with by the two biggest contenders and the political coalitions that they head are replete with Bradley Factor potentialities.
The top two candidates have been anointed by their respective strategists and analysts and both are powerfully presented and projected as being well and truly poised for victory.
The Kenyan political divide presented by Raila and Uhuru may not be racial but it is tribalist, a sub-species of racialism, and as black and white, in terms of starkness of choice and worldview, as any deep divide among people anywhere else on the planet.
An Odinga versus Kenyatta electoral contest has always been the most polarising that a political divide could get in Kenya without degenerating into violence. Kenyans have a clear-cut choice indeed, come March 4.
While Raila has enjoyed a consistent lead in the opinion polls since the formation of the outgoing Grand Coalition Government, Uhuru has what one political analyst called 'the tyranny of numbers'.
His Jubilee Coalition appears to command two of the largest vote catchment areas, the Mt Kenya and Rift Valley blocs. The Jubilee coalition's voter heartlands registered the biggest numbers of voters, accounting for 43 per cent of the voter's roll.
Pollster narrative has a history:
Raila's strategists point out that the opinion poll narrative has been around much longer than the tyranny-of-numbers narrative, is researched and evaluated by autonomous experts and that the pollsters have not given Kenyans bad data in the 21-year-long multiparty era, when they have called every presidential poll accurately.
Cord strategists also hold on tenaciously to the idea that the prospect of an outgoing Kikuyu president handing over to an incoming Kikuyu president is a spectacle that few Kenyans outside the Mt Kenya regions relish and they will therefore vote accordingly, including inside Rift Valley, whatever assurances Ruto and his URP stalwarts have given Uhuru.
And so there is growing certainty, inside the Odinga presidential campaign war-room, that even if every Kikuyu and Kalenjin who registered as a voter voted on March 4 for Uhuru and running mate William Ruto, accounting for fully 43 per cent of the voter's roll, their man still has much of the 57 per cent of the other voters and in any case, all the round one winner needs is 50 per cent plus one.
The Bradley Effect Kenyan style is therefore not a matter of tainted polling data, where large segments of the electorate promise one thing but deliver another in the privacy of the secret ballot voting booth, but of the factor of the tyranny-of-numbers narrative.
If any pre-poll strategic lying and evasiveness has taken place it has taken place deep inside the Rift Valley. The coming together of the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin to propel a candidate to State House is not only unprecedented but untested, and CORD is hoping against hope that Jubilee's Rift Valley vote suffers a total Bradley Effect on March 4.
Culmination of 10-year-long 'Southern Strategy':
If this happens it will have achieved the ultimate aims of the PM's Southern Strategy, launched as long ago as the 2002 presidential race when Uhuru was one of the two main candidates and actually had the Kalenjin vote bloc locked up, courtesy of the then outgoing President Daniel arap Moi.
That year the Southern Strategy was not deployed against the Kikuyu community as a vote bloc, both main candidates being Kikuyu, with Kibaki getting the backing of the rest of the country and Uhuru the Kalenjin and part of the southern Kikuyuland vote.
Wikipedia defines The Southern Strategy as in American politics referring "to the Republican Party strategy of gaining political support or winning elections in the Southern section of the country by appealing to racism against African Americans".
Wikipedia goes on: "The strategy was first adopted under future Republican President Richard Nixon and Republican Senator Barry Goldwater in the late 1960s. The strategy was successful in many regards. It contributed to the electoral realignment of Southern states to the Republican Party, but at the expense of losing more than 90 per cent of black voters to the Democratic Party."
For Raila Odinga, the Southern Strategy has worked well across two consecutive presidential elections in Kenya, 2002 and 2007, with the latter bringing him closer to the presidency than any losing candidate in the history of Kenyan electioneering has ever been.
What will it do for him in combination with the Bradley Effect and the Dog-whistle politics factor? The answer to this question will be available to all observers and analysts on March 5.