The political game is now in full throttle, and campaigns are getting hotter and scathingly so.
The wife of the presidential running mate of a leading political party protested abrupt changes made to her booked venue for prayers scheduled for Saturday by the State.
The Kenya Kwanza Alliance presidential candidate, Deputy President William Ruto, also admitted that he is a very angry man and explained why.
Also, politicians are free to use the expressions “hatupangwingwi” and “watajua hawajui” at their political rallies as a court throws out prohibitions issued by the anti-hate commission in April.
Here is all you need to know about Kenya’s politics as of July 15.
Rigathi’s wife protests change of prayer venue
Ms Dorcas Rigathi, wife of the UDA deputy presidential candidate Rigathi Gachagua, is protesting a decision by the government to move a planned prayer event from Nyayo Stadium to the Kasarani Sports Complex.
According to the Association of Pentecostal and Evangelical Clergy of Kenya (APECK), of which Ms Rigathi is a patron, they had booked Nyayo Stadium for the Kenya Destiny Prayer Summit on Saturday July 16.
“We have already paid for this venue and we have spoken with all the relevant authorities. We were with the manager of Nyayo Stadium who took us round the facility and granted us permission to start putting up our sound equipment in readiness to pray for the destiny of Kenya,” said Ms Rigathi.
However, just 48 hours before the prayer meeting, the association was informed by the director-general of Kenya Sports, Pius Metto, that Nyayo Stadium had been booked and consequently asked them to hold the event at the Kasarani venue, which they had earlier been told had events on Saturday. Ms Rigathi wondered about the sudden changes yet they had made all applications on time.
“We are here protesting against a letter we have received this morning via email indicating that there needs to be a change of venue for our prayers which had been booked to take place on July 16,” said Bishop Daniel Kabono, the APECK chairman.
Polycarp Igathe reveals his plans for Nairobi
Nairobi gubernatorial candidate Polycarp Igathe will establish a universal and affordable single business permit, as part of plans to enhance the ease of doing business in the capital.
The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition politician also promised to eliminate unnecessary fees and charges levied on business owners by the Nairobi County government.
The plan, contained in his manifesto, will see his administration build 150 new modern markets and introduce a Sh850 million “Wezesha Biashara” credit guarantee fund for youth and women.
To deal with unemployment in the county, he will launch a county apprenticeship programme and recruit 100 youths in every ward while also empowering youth and women groups to participate in garbage collection.
Dubbed Nairobi Tunavyoitaka, the manifesto pledged to transform a transport sector plagued by perennial congestion by designating pick-up and drop-off zones for PSVs.
Police ill-prepared for August polls: civil society groups
The civil society groups yesterday sounded the alarm about lack of security preparedness for the August 9 General Election, saying things could spin out of control if the government doesn’t move fast to retrain the police.
The lobby groups expressed concern about how officers handle civilians during protests, saying many use excessive force.
With the election period expected to be full of protests, the human rights activists said they feared for their safety and that of Kenyans.
They also faulted the transfer of senior officers barely a month before the polls despite a memo sent by Deputy Inspector-General of Police Edward Mbugua barring such changes until after the elections.
Kasarani Sub-County Police Commander Peter Mwanzo was moved to Nakuru as the county boss a fortnight ago.
“While we appreciate the efforts by the National Police Service to promote its officers, these transfers raise concerns as they require time to familiarise with the policing terrain,” said Mr Peter Kiama, the Independent Medical Legal Unit (IMLU) executive director.
“The timings may further raise suspicion [among] the public and may lead to the service [becoming] partisan.”
The lobby groups included Inuka Ni Sisi, IMLU, Article 19 for Eastern Africa, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Defenders Coalition and Muslim for Human Rights.
CS Kagwe campaigns for Raila in Laikipia
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe yesterday asked Mt Kenya voters to rally behind Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Ms Martha Karua in the August 9 polls.
Speaking in Nanyuki town, Laikipia County, when he issued land title deeds to locals, Mr Kagwe said President Uhuru Kenyatta had given Central Kenya the political direction as he prepares to leave State House.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta cannot direct you in the wrong direction in politics. In my opinion, I honestly think that it is the right path to follow since it will guarantee us continuity and development,” he said.
“I know where Baba is heading and if you also know the direction he has taken, let us follow him. Once I go back, I will inform him that the people of Laikipia County have pledged to support him.”
The President has endorsed Mr Odinga as his preferred successor and has been campaigning for him while urging voters to reject DP Ruto.
I am a very angry man, DP Ruto admits
DP Ruto has admitted that he is an angry man and the 'killing' of the Big Four agenda and the current high cost of living had contributed to it.
Dr Ruto said Kenyans were not happy either because their country was on the wrong path.
"We are angry and hungry because of the high cost of living and soaring fuel prices," said the DP.
The DP said the anger against the high cost of living will drive Kenyans to vote for a fresh, visionary and responsible government on August 9.
The DP has recently come under heavy criticism, with claims that he was an angry man and would not hesitate to take crude action against anyone crossing his path. The accusations started after revelations that he almost slapped President Kenyatta over the nullified 2017 presidential election.
President Kenyatta later said that to avoid bloodshed he was willing to go home after the Supreme Court nullified his win.
"If they had slapped me over power, I would have given them the other cheek to slap. Yes, I wanted to go back to Ichaweri because I couldn't compare power with bloodshed," said President Kenyatta.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, during a rally in Kakamega last Saturday, also claimed that he was almost slapped by the DP in 2018.
“Yesterday, I saw my boss, President Kenyatta, saying someone wanted to slap him, the one who likes slapping people. He said if he had slapped him, he would have turned the other cheek as well,” he stated.
Yesterday, the DP told Narok, Migori, Nyamira and Kisii residents that his competitors were speaking about his anger because they lacked an agenda.
"They do not know what sleeping hungry is. They have no agenda, plan or policy. Right now, they are peddling lies that William Ruto is angry. If you broke our Big Four agenda, did you want us to laugh with you?" asked Dr Ruto.
Ruto cannot ‘steal’ the Coast votes from me - Raila
Azimio’s Mr Odinga on Wednesday dismissed as inconsequential the forays made on the Coast by his main challenger, DP Ruto, saying the region has always stood with him and could not be swayed.
Speaking during campaign stops in Kinango, Matuga, Lunga Lunga, Ukunda and Msambweni yesterday, Mr Odinga said Coast voters have always backed his bid for the presidency in previous elections and he does not see the pattern changing.
But he expressed concern about opinion poll results showing many voters in the region were undecided on who to vote for.
“In 2007, 2013 and 2017, you overwhelmingly voted for me. But I am not happy with the polls that show many are still undecided. Let us prove to those chest-thumping that this is their stronghold that it is still my political base by coming out and voting for me,” he said in Ukunda.
The latest opinion polls by Tifa and Infotrak show that over 15 per cent of voters in Coast are undecided. In February, Dr Ruto picked Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, who won the 2013 election on Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket before joining Jubilee in the 2017 polls, as one of the principals in his Kenya Kwanza alliance.
ODM also lost the 2020 Msambweni by-election in which its candidate, Mr Omar Boga, was beaten by independent candidate Feisal Bader, whom DP Ruto supported.
But Wednesday, Mr Odinga exuded confidence that the ODM team led by its governor candidate, Prof Hamadi Boga, would trounce the Ruto-led United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
‘Hatupangwingwi’ and ‘watajua hawajui’ not hate speech, court rules
The High Court has quashed a decision banning the use of the terms “hatupangwingwi” and “watajua hawajui”.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) had on April 8 said the two, among others, were hate terms that should not be used.
But Justice Antony Ndung’u disagreed, allowing a petition filed by Chama cha Mawakili Limited (CML) through lawyers Felix Kiprono and Vincent Yegon challenging the ban on the terms.
In an 18-page judgment, Justice Ndung’u ruled that the terms do not constitute hate speech, adding that no evidence had been provided that the expressions had caused discontent among various communities in Kenya.
Declared Justice Ndung’u: “An order is hereby granted to quash the respondent’s decision made on April 8, 2022 vide Hatelex: A lexicon of Hate Speech Terms in Kenya, banning and/or classifying “Hatupangwingwi” and “Watajua hawajui” as hate terms.”
The petitioners said the terms are contained in a song composed by artiste Tony Njuguna, aka E-Xray, and were uttered by DP Ruto, who was quoted stating “wakenya wamesema hawapangwingwi hata mimi hasla sipangwingwi”.