President Mwai Kibaki formally dissolved the Kenyan parliament today, the metaphorical starting gun for the election campaign proper. Yet it already seems as if we have had to endure a year of campaigning. The two main newspapers have carried little other than the manoeuvrings of presidential aspirants for months not to mention the comings and goings of some 200 registered parties.
Kibaki will be up against two of his former ministers. The polls have Raila Odinga (whose main policy appears to be that he has a Hummer and the president doesn’t) ahead at the moment, although things tend to change very quickly here and plenty of the people I’m talking to in Nairobi seem to want to stick with the devil they know.
But that’s not the issue that is exercising Nairobi’s foreign press corps. Everyone is on tenterhooks waiting for the Electoral Commission of Kenya to name the day, with the most likely date December 27. More than one hack has had to enquire whether the beachside house they are taking for Christmas comes with wifi.