Police and the intelligence service are becoming a big factor in the coming elections with allies of both Deputy President William Ruto and Azimio’s coalition presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, accusing either of the two entities of bias.
Presidential candidates fearing the anticipated presidential debate have been assured of fairness even as Kenyans want to know where Mr Odinga and his Chief Minister nominee Kalonzo Musyoka have disappeared to.
We will also understand why a governor in one of the Rift Valley counties is not amused with DP Ruto and his allies’ visits to his county and why he wants them to keep off!
The campaign tracker brings you up to speed on the political events of the country. Here is all you need to know about Kenya’s election as of June 10.
Presidential Debate will be fair, organising team says
The Presidential Debate 2022 Steering Committee has distanced itself from bias against candidates, saying the debate has no control over what is aired or published by media houses.
Instead, it has assured the candidates of fair coverage during the debate, and that it would ensure their manifestos reach every Kenyan who will use the debate to make their decision on who to vote into office.
This was during the signing of the Presidential Debate 2022 partnership with Usawa Agenda in Nairobi yesterday, when the chairperson of the Media Owners Association, Mr Stephen Gitagama, said the plans for the debate were going on as planned.
He denied claims that the presidential debate was biased against certain candidates as expressed by the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, saying the Presidential Debate 2022 is not being done by an individual media house, but it was a partnership of three entities -- the Media Owners Association, the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) and the Media Council of Kenya (MCK).
This is after Kenya Kwanza’s United Democratic Alliance party, whose presidential candidate is Deputy President William Ruto, claimed the presidential debate would be biased against its candidate and that it had advised Dr Ruto not to take part. The party listed media houses that it believed were working against its candidate.
Where have Raila and Kalonzo gone to?
Kenyans are curious to know where Azimio Presidential Candidate Raila Odinga and his Chief Cabinet Secretary nominee, Kalonzo Musyoka, have gone to after it was established that the two left the country on private missions.
Mr Musyoka reportedly flew out of the country on Tuesday evening while Mr Odinga left the country Wednesday morning.
Officials in Mr Odinga’s camp remained guarded on the matter, only confirming what they referred to as a “short trip” which came barely 48 hours after the Azimio manifesto launch.
Sources told the Nation that various teams would continue with campaigns ahead of Mr Odinga’s return on Friday.
“We have different teams out but campaigns also require back office management. “Our captain has dashed out in the neighbourhood but will be back shortly. He has travelled into the neighbourhood for a day or so, however, I cannot release that officially,” a highly placed source in Mr Odinga’s camp said.
“I’m sure his spokesperson will give details on the matter. Maybe it’s a fairly confidential consultation with regional leaders,” he added.
Machakos Town MP Dan Maanzo, a confidant of Mr Musyoka, also confirmed that the Wiper leader was out of the country.
“He left on Tuesday evening but I’m not sure whether they will meet with our presidential candidate, who I’m told also left this morning (yesterday),” Mr Maanzo told the Nation.
Prof Wajackoyah’s 'high' plans for Kenya once elected to office
Presidential aspirant George Luchiri Wajackoyah, 61, kicked off his Campaigns on a 'high' note promising corrupt judicial officers that he will hang them.
Besides relocating the capital city from Nairobi to North Eastern, the Roots Party aspirant said he will also suspend the constitution for six months so as to launch a conversation with Kenyans on how to entrench the death penalty in the laws of the land as well as legalise industrial marijuana.
"Judiciary is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in realising aspirations of a prosperous nation. I will adopt a style whereby if you suspect yourself to be corrupt, we encourage you to kill yourself or if we try you and you are convicted, you be killed," he said.
He took issue with the Infotrak pollster results released on Wednesday showing his competitors-- Raila Odinga and Dr William Ruto-- as the only serious candidates, ignoring him and Mwaure Waihiga by according them no rating.
Mr Wajackoyah also said farming snakes would help supply venom for the manufacture of medicines and for export.
On devolution, Mr Wajackoyah's running mate Justina Wamae said their administration would suspend the Constitution to allow the reorganisation of counties into the previous eight provinces for efficiency and effective administration.
He also promised that his administration would look into the welfare of police officers, arguing that they have been neglected and that he would also abolish police uniforms.
Police favouring DP Ruto over Raila- Jubilee SG Kioni laments
Jubilee secretary-general Jeremiah Kioni has accused security officers of favouring UDA in the campaigns by offering more protection to that team than to Azimio flagbearer Raila Odinga’s campaigners.
The Ndaragwa MP, while addressing journalists in Nyeri, demanded fairness in security personnel allocations.
“We understand that this is so because our security agents have been interacting with UDA members for the last 10 years while we were busy working. But this is not a good reason… they should be biased,” he said.
He said the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition is confident it has made inroads in the Mt Kenya region as it outlined its strategy to win the August 9 polls.
Mr Kioni said Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza was now in a panic trying to out-do Azimio’s gains adding that they were no longer receiving the reception they used to get in the last six years.
Why Lonyangapuo does not want Ruto and his allies in West Pokot
Governor John Lonyangapuo accused Deputy President William Ruto and his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) allies of interfering in West Pokot County’s politics.
The governor claims political leaders from other counties including Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Nandi Governor Stephen Sang and Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, have been visiting West Pokot and abusing local leaders and inciting the locals.
He said he had written a letter to the leaders asking them to style up.
“Ruto must keep off from our politics. Let us minimise political noise and groupings. I have asked and written a letter to some of the politicians to stop visiting the county to incite locals," he stated.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) cleared the governor on Monday to defend his seat in the August 9 polls. He urged leaders to look for votes peacefully and engage in meaningful development-oriented politics.
"I have not gone to Eldoret, Nandi, Turkana or Baringo to play politics. Do not be fooled by people from outside. West Pokot will not be ruled from outside,” he said.
Why Parliament’s rejection of IEBC’s proposals could prove dangerous in the August polls
The parliament rejected regulations intended to seal loopholes in the voting system has thrown the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) into a spin barely 60 days before the August 9 polls.
The proposed regulations were meant to address some of the issues that formed the basis of the Supreme Court nullification of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2017 election victory and failure to rectify them could possibly lead to another legal limbo in the forthcoming election.
The National Assembly threw out the amendments to the Elections Act on the grounds that they were submitted late, had errors in drafting and that there was no public participation.
A claim that IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati refuted after he, more than a year ago, told the media that the proposed amendments had been handed over well in advance to the lawmakers, but the House had “sat” on them. The regulations were to guide on registration of voters, voter education, party nominations and lists, as well as the handling of election technology.
The Commission had sought to address pitfalls in results transmission where there is no network in gazetted polling stations, the provision of key elections data, including on access to the system and details of technology and machines used, and the appointment and deployment of returning officers.
In the rejected regulations, the electoral commission wanted presiding officers, in the absence of network at a polling station, to be allowed to move to the nearest point from the station that has network and transmit the results.
The IEBC wanted them approved to facilitate presentation of information such as voter identification logs in the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) kit, a record of the electronic unique reference number of result forms per polling station showing the date and time of transmission, and serial numbers of the elections technology devices deployed in the polling station.
In addition, the IEBC wanted guidance to share serial numbers of the SIM cards and serial numbers of the servers to be used and the commission’s policy on election technology management.
Tik Tok fanning political tension in Kenya ahead of August polls
TikTok videos with over 4 million digital reach have been found to be fanning political tension ahead of the August 9 polls.
According to new research conducted by Mozilla fellow Odanga Madung on ‘How Disinformation on TikTok Gaslights Political Tension in Kenya’, the Chinese-owned platform was found to be a breeding ground for political propaganda and hate speech in the run-up to Kenya’s elections.
The study conducted an in depth review of over 130 Tik tok videos from 33 accounts, which leveraged the application's For You page algorithm to launch a highly-sophisticated disinformation campaign that threatens various ethinc communities.
The flagged videos feature gory images from the 2007/2008 post-election violence in order to evoke ethnic violence in members of ethnic communities based in the Rift Valley region for political gain and instill fear amongst Kenyans. The content was also found to garner between 500,000 and 1.2 million views on the platform.
“Similar narratives stoked the post-election violence of 2007/2008, where over 1000 Kenyans died and thousands more were displaced,’’ part of the report reads.
Furthermore, fabricated content that is attributed to credible media houses was also used to misinform Tiktok users and erode trust in the truth.
This includes doctored front pages of leading Kenyan newspapers such Daily Nation, The Standard and The Star. The fake pages were used to allege scandals involving senior political and civil society players.
One such account is a fake KTN news bulletin page that was used to churn out fake opinion poll results of major presidential candidates.