Campaign Tracker: Notable events in Kenyan elections as of June 28

Bahati

Majority Leader in National Assembly Amos Kimunya looks on as Bahati is awarded his nomination certificate by Jubilee Party SG Jeremiah Kioni.

Photo credit: Jubilee Party

Bahati, the budding musician who has had the ear of the who is who in the country, yesterday became the first casualty of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition’s decision to have weaker candidates step down for their stronger counterparts in areas where the coalition has more than one contestant!

Roots party leader, Prof George Wajackoyah strongly hinted at working closely with Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition running president Raila Odinga should either of them win in the August 9, general election during his political campaign in Kisumu! Mr Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua have vowed to change laws in bid to fight corruption while the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission turned to the clergy to help them in their fight against corruption!

Here, we break down all you need to know about Kenya’s politics as of June 28.

Ganja President Wajackoyah hints at working with Raila

Roots Party of Kenya presidential candidate George Wajackoyah hinted at the possibility of working with Azimio la Umoja One Kenya flag bearer Raila Odinga in future because they both hail from the same region.

Speaking in fluent Dholuo in Mr Odinga’s backyard of Kisumu yesterday, Prof Wajackoyah said a victory for either candidate would be celebrated across Nyanza and Western Kenya because of their shared heritage.

He claimed that he was the chief food taster for Kenya’s first Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and would not mind teaming up with the son.

 “I am made to understand Baba came from Wanga (Kakamega), so we still have his bedroom in Mumias. I am a neighbour here and as you know, I am in the race with Baba. A victory for either of us will be a win for the Western region,” said Prof Wajackoyah as the crowd applauded him.

He told off Deputy President William Ruto over his attacks on the Orange Democratic Movement.

 “This is the home of Baba and it must be respected. There is this young man from Sugoi who is usually abusing Baba, when he comes here shout at him and tell him to leave Baba alone,” said Prof Wajackoyah.

He, however, urged Mr Odinga to stop pushing most of his family members into politics and allow other Kenyans to seek in leadership positions.

“Baba should allow other people in elective positions; he should not be selfish. He cannot have his family members contesting as Members of the National Assembly, senators, Woman Reps and other positions. I told my brothers not to contest for any other seats,” said Prof Wajackoyah.

Prof Wajackoyah was visiting Kisumu for the first time since he launched his presidential bid. He held rallies in Kakamega, Bungoma and Vihiga counties over the weekend.

Ruto ally’s support for Azimio in Samburu confuses supporters

Confusion has rocked supporters of Deputy President William Ruto in Samburu County after Governor Moses Lenolkulal, who is in the Kenya Kwanza team, embarked on campaigning for Azimio la Umoja One Kenya candidates in the region.

Political rivalry and supremacy battles between Kenya Kwanza Samburu senator candidate Senator Steve Lelegwe and the retiring county chief fueled the cracks, the Nation has learnt.

Mr Lenolkulal in April joined Deputy President William Ruto’s campaign team after he shelved his Senate ambitions in favour of the incumbent, Dr Lelegwe, who is running on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket.

On several occasions in the past two weeks, Mr Lenolkulal has been heard openly campaigning for Azimio governor and senator candidates in Samburu – Dr Richard Lesiyampe and Henry Lengolos, respectively.

This contradicts what many expected – that the DP Ruto campaign chief would rally behind Kenya Kwanza candidates Jonathan Lati Leleliit for governor and Dr Lelegwe for senator.

"Are you ready for the August 9 General Election? Then vote for Dr Lesiyampe and Henry Lengolos as your next governor and senator. At the top, vote DP Ruto as your President," Governor Lenolkulal said during his development tour in Achers, Samburu East.

Mr Lenolkulal’s stance has elicited mixed reactions, with some UDA followers in Samburu calling him out for campaigning for the Azimio One Kenya team.

Beth Mugo wants IEBC to consider those with fingerprint problems

Nominated Senator Beth Mugo yesterday asked the electoral commission to reconsider its stance on the use of the electronic voter register in the August 9 polls, saying it would lock out voters with fingerprint problems.

The legislator instead asked Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati to provide the manual register for voter identification.

Ms Mugo said that she is among several voters who have lost sensitivity on their fingerprints and using only the digital register would deny them their constitutional right to vote.

She pointed out that the group involves the elderly and individuals who have lost sensitivity to their fingerprints due to the nature of their jobs.

“The decision to do away with the manual register will lock out many people who have problems with their fingerprints from voting, hence denying them their constitutional right to choose leaders of their choice,” said Ms Mugo.

“I will not be able to vote because I also have problems with my fingerprints. My late husband also had the same problem and that would have made two of us. What about others? Let the commission reconsider its stance because it is going to disenfranchise a lot of people including myself.”

The IEBC has been categorical that its decision to disallow the use of manual voter registers across over 46,000 polling stations as a complementary mechanism to the electronic identification of voters in the August polls will not change.

The IEBC has maintained that biometric verification will be the primary mode of identifying voters and where a voter cannot be identified using biometrics, presiding officers will use a complementary mechanism of an alpha-numeric search in the presence of agents.

EACC wants clergy’s support in graft war

The anti-corruption watchdog has turned to the clergy to help it in its war and in sensitising Kenyans to elect leaders with integrity in the August 9 General Election.

In a five-hour meeting held yesterday between the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the clergy in Nairobi, the former called on the religious leaders to collaborate with it in promoting integrity in the forthcoming elections.

The consultative forum ended with the religious leaders vowing to collaborate with EACC and to also safeguard places of worship from misuse by politicians who want to sanitise themselves.

They also urged Kenyans to not only vote out all politicians who have corruption cases, but also avoid any candidate who has criminal proceedings going on in court.

This comes at a time some politicians who have been charged with corruption and criminal cases being cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to vie in the elections.

“We are committed and support the EACC and other agencies charged with the responsibility of banishing the demons of corruption from our country and call upon Kenyans to shun, shame and shake the walls of the corrupt. Living a life of integrity is a choice that each one of us has to make,” said Father Joseph Mutie, the chairperson of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.

Archbishop Mark Kariuki, the general overseer of the Deliverance Church of Kenya, said it was unfair to claim the Church is hypocritical when it outwardly condemns politicians labelled as corrupt but accepts money from them.

Instead, people should understand that the Church is a place of refuge for all people, sinners included, as such, it was unchristian to close the doors on anyone who goes to worship God,” he said.

Following constant disappointments due to complicated legal procedures, Mr Mbarak clarified, the EACC resorted to reaching out to the clergy.

“That is why today, we are with the clergy so that they can go and talk to the people and ask them to use their common sense and raise critical questions on the intention of politicians who give them handouts and elect good leaders,” he said.

Igathe apologises to Somali Community, says his words were taken out of context

Nairobi Jubilee gubernatorial candidate Polycarp Igathe yesterday took his campaigns to Nairobi’s vote-rich Eastlands as he rallied residents to back his candidacy.

This as he clarified that his statement last Friday about cartels in Nairobi that was misunderstood to be targeting the Somali community was taken out of context.

Offering his apology, Mr Igathe said he has deep respect for the Somali community and values their support and is looking forward to partnership with them to make Nairobi a better place to live and work in.

For that reason, he said, he would not negatively profile the community.

“I would like to say that if the broader Somali community or anyone was hurt or inadvertently offended by comments made in the context of engagements on the campaign trail, I am sorry for any such offence or hurt,” said Mr Igathe.

“In-fact, I take this opportunity to assure the entire Somali community in Nairobi and beyond that they have a friend in me.”

The former Nairobi deputy governor made it clear that he did not profile the Somali community as harbouring cartels in his speech to members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa).

This follows a viral video of him accusing Nairobi MCAs from the Kikuyu community of being held hostage by three Somali MCAs he did not name, who he said control the city county assembly.

The remarks caused uproar among leaders from the Somali community, with former National Assembly majority leader Adan Duale claiming Mr Igathe was profiling communities for cheap political expediency.

Touring Embakasi, Mr Igathe urged residents to come out in their numbers on August 9 to vote for him and other Azimio candidates as he called for peaceful campaigns.

 “If you vote me in, then I assure you that I will deal with cartels who have taken over Nairobi. We cannot allow only a few people to control Nairobi. I did not say the cartels are the Somali community,” said Mr Igathe.

We will change law to speed up corruption cases- Raila, Karua say

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua said they will push for legal amendments for speedy trial of corruption cases as they look to win the war against graft.

The two pointed to lengthy court processes as a weakness in the fight against corruption. Currently, official records show there are 469 corruption cases seeking to recover assets worth about Sh11.4 billion with most relating to recovery of public land.

Speaking during a virtual diaspora rally Sunday evening, Ms Karua intimated that the Azimio government would look into enacting a law to expedite hearing of corruption cases to bring to an end the circus of cases staying in courts for years.

“We need cases decided real time and culprits sent to jail and the innocent returning to their work. We will do certain necessary interventions to aid us in the war against corruption,” said Ms Karua.

 “If need be, we will have legal amendments to ensure there is a Speedy Trials Act so that we stop the circus of corruption cases staying in our courts years upon years,” she added.

Ms Karua’s sentiments followed concerns by the diaspora community, which cited corruption as a major stumbling block in realising meaningful development in Kenya, with calls for speeding up of corruption cases.

The Narc-Kenya party leader said the government would work hand in hand with law enforcement and investigative agencies and the criminal justice system to have symmetry in the fight against corruption.

Ms Karua also urged the public to support the fight against corruption.

Premium tears for Bahati as Azimio settle on incumbent Anthony Oluoch for Mathare MP seat

Jubilee candidate for Mathare MP, Kelvin Kioko alias Bahati is the latest casualty of the decision to prevail upon weak candidates affiliated to Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition to step down for their strong counterparts in areas where multiple candidates have been fielded has claimed first casualties.

This is after Azimio settled on Mathare MP Anthony Oluoch of ODM to be the sole candidate for the outfit in the constituency effectively forcing Bahati to step down, a decision that the music artiste cum politician has not taken lightly.

ODM’s Embakasi North parliamentary candidate Jane Muringi was also prevailed upon to step down for Jubilee Party’s Harrison Wangoro to take on United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate and incumbent James Gakuya.

The new development follows a joint delegates meeting of ODM and Jubilee yesterday in Nairobi aimed at harmonising and rationalising the coalition’s lineup in the capital.

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, Gender Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rachel Shebesh, Jubilee Nairobi County chairperson, Polycarp Igathe’s running mate Professor Philip Kaloki, and other leaders, attended the meeting.

The new development follows the resolution of the Azimio Coalition Council meeting on Friday last week, which established a committee to harmonise and rationalise the outfit’s candidates in areas where multiple candidates are likely to cost the coalition party seats.

Mr Sifuna said the member parties of Azimio have agreed to respect zoning criteria agreed upon by the outfit adding that the Nairobi cleanup is done as Mathare and Embakasi North were the only problematic constituencies in the city.

Already, Irshad Sumra had agreed to step down for Wiper’s Julius Mawathe in Makadara constituency where both ODM and Jubilee had fielded candidates.

“We agreed during the meeting that zoning will be respected. We already prevailed upon our candidate in Embakasi North on Sunday and now we are done with Mathare constituency. Those two constituencies were the only problematic ones,” said Mr Sifuna.

He also intimated that Bahati will be offered an alternative position in the Azimio government should they take control of the country after the August 9 elections.

“We only have one candidate in Mathare and that is Anthony Oluoch. This young man called Bahati is my younger brother and we will talk. I will make sure that we find him another position within the Azimio government,” said the ODM SG

Susan Kihika misses Nakuru gubernatorial debate

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, who is seeking to unseat Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, on Sunday skipped a gubernatorial debate that was held at Midlands Hotel in Nakuru city.

Senator Kihika, who was supposed to share a podium with five other candidates, was conspicuously missing from the event organised by members of civil society.

His fiercest opponent, Governor Kinyanjui (Jubilee), James Mungai (independent), Munyua Waiyaki (independent), Elijah Chege (independent) and Dr Stanley Karanja (independent) took part in the debate.

The debate that aired live on KTN was organised by the Midrift Hurinet Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance, Centre for Transformational Leadership and Amnesty International Kenya.

Ms Kihika’s absence raised eyebrows, prompting her to explain on her social media pages why she snubbed the event.

She wrote that she had opted to attend a meeting with over 4,000 Nakuru County residents instead.

"Between a prior commitment of a meeting of 4,000 people of Nakuru and a gubernatorial debate, I made my choice to be with the people!" she stated.

The other five candidates used the Sunday evening event to sell their agenda to the electorate.

They engaged one another in arguments devoid of name-calling and personal attacks.

They were questioned on their manifestos and what they intend to do to address water, sanitation, infrastructure and city planning challenges.

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