Campaign Tracker: What you need to know about Kenyan elections as of June 21

presidential candidates ruto raila wajackoyah mwaure

Kenyans are curious to know what Deputy President William Ruto discussed with Njoro locals after he kicked out the media from the event.

Roots Party leader Prof George Wajackoyah asked supporters to ignore the clergy and boycott church until religious leaders support his bhang legalisation proposal.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja is still in trouble with the Commission for University Education, which “reminded” him that it will have the final say on the authenticity of his university degree after he snubbed its summons.

The Service Party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri has cautioned Kenya Kwanza presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua that the coalition could lose the August election if he does not change his ways.

The Campaign Tracker takes you “to the ground” and updates you with the latest significant events.

Here is all you need to know about Kenyan politics as of June 21.

DP Ruto kicks out media from his meeting to ‘discuss important issues’

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday ordered his security guards to chase away journalists from a political meeting at Hugo farm in Njoro, Nakuru.

Dr Ruto was in Nakuru to drum up support for the Kenya Kwanza team, as he seeks to consolidate his Rift Valley backyard ahead of the August 9 General Election.

He was with, among others, his running mate Rigathi Gachagua, Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika and a host of MPs and local leaders.

The DP was in the middle of his speech when he suddenly ordered that journalists be kicked out to allow those in the meeting to discuss “crucial matters”.

"These media houses ... Why do we have media houses here? Nani aliwaleta hapa (Who allowed them in?). Tokeni kwanza bwana ndio tuongee mambo ya maana (Please leave so we can discuss important issues)," ordered DP Ruto.

Journalists then spent more than three hours outside the venue hoping to be briefed after the event.

Before he issued his directive, Dr Ruto had gone down memory lane recalling how in 2012 he decided to step down from vying for the presidency and support President Uhuru Kenyatta, and the two won the presidency in 2013 against their opponents Mr Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.

"It is because of peace that we decided to join hands ahead of 2013. I had the capacity to vie for the presidency but I decided to put Kenya first to end the acrimony between Rift Valley people and Mt Kenya then for the good of the country," he narrated.

It is at this point that he asked his bodyguards to kick out journalists.

Although it is not clear why he decided to keep journalists away from the meeting, a source told the Nation that the attendees discussed the unity of the people of Njoro and Molo.

Sakaja snubs CUE summon

Nairobi governor aspirant Senator Johnson Sakaja has snubbed a summon to appear before the Commission for University Education (CUE) to provide evidence that the degree qualification he presented is valid.

Mr Sakaja was on Friday asked CUE to present a raft of documents to prove that the degree he presented for clearance from Team University of Uganda is genuine.

At the time, Mr Sakaja’s clearance by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was hanging in the balance but he was given the greenlight to vie on Sunday.

“We have been waiting for Mr Sakaja to come to our offices since 10am as earlier communicated. Until now he has not shown up,” said CUE chair Prof Chacha Nyaigotti in a press release.

After initially recognising Mr Sakaja’s degree, CUE revoked it, citing new information it had received that the document might have been obtained fraudulently.

The senator was asked to present to CUE proof that he attended the university. He was required to submit an admission letter, a student ID, transcripts, proof of coursework done, receipts of tuition fees paid to Team University, graduation photos and a list of lecturers who taught him.

On Sunday, Nairobi County returning officer Albert Gogo cleared Mr Sakaja, after the IEBC Disputes Resolution Tribunal said it had no reason to doubt the authenticity of the degree presented by the city senator.

However, CUE on Monday maintained that recognition of the degree stands revoked and that the decision can only be reversed by it.

“CUE is the only institution mandated in law to recognise foreign-earned degrees in order to allow IEBC to issue them … to run as governor/deputy governor or president/deputy president. Any other method that he wants to apply will not stop us from fulfilling our mandate as provided for by the law,” Prof Nyaigotti said.

Ruto allies want IEBC to bar politicians behind Jacaranda chaos from vying

DP Ruto’s allies in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, yesterday challenged the electoral agency to bar politicians promoting hooliganism from participating in the elections.

Calling out the violence witnessed on Sunday at the Jacaranda grounds in Nairobi where Kenya Kwanza held a rally, the leaders warned that the chaos might escalate across the country and plunge the nation into political violence.

Speaking at a press conference in Eldoret on Monday, the Ruto allies, led by former Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga, blamed the chaos on the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition leadership, singling out Embakasi MP Babu Owino, whom they accused of instigating the violence that left several people injured.

Mr Chepkonga said the stone-throwing, which came just a week after Azimio presidential running mate Martha Karua received a heroic reception in Eldoret, which is considered DP Ruto’s political stronghold, shocked him.

“Uasin Gishu knows what violence can do to a nation because we have a history which is sadly being repeated elsewhere. What we witnessed at the Jacaranda grounds should not be condoned and the perpetrators should come and learn from us,” said Mr Chepkonga.

He said action should be taken against those who instigated the violence to ensure the incident is not repeated elsewhere in the country.

Ignore clergy, boycott church, Prof Wajackoyah tells supporters after bishops criticise his bhang plans

Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah yesterday criticised the clergy for trying to dissuade Kenyans from supporting his bid, accusing them of being tainted by scandals.

This comes a day after Catholic bishops equated his manifesto, which seeks to legalise and commercialise bhang, to the promotion of immorality and illegalities. In response to this, Prof Wajackoyah yesterday called on his supporters to consider boycotting churches opposed to his bid until they change their stance.

Speaking outside Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters, where he had gone to witness the issuing of licences for snake farming, the ‘ganja president’ said the clergy had failed to read his manifesto, and that they cannot purport to tell him how to go about his business.

“Some bishops have been found in bushes sleeping recklessly, and instead of facing judgment, they are here trying to incite Kenyans. They have not read our manifesto. They only went straight into smoking of marijuana,” Prof Wajackoyah said.

He instead urged the church to work hard at finding jobs for the youth, even as he accused them of receiving proceeds of corruption. He also warned the church to be careful lest the young rebel against them.

“Let the church know that it has a duty to pray for people like me, so that if I’m insane, I can become sane. But they have no right to lecture me about what [Kenya’s] needs are,” he said.

“I am speaking about [a] few pastors. The Catholic Church has done very well in this country. It has tried to eradicate poverty, and to educate.

“But if they start this campaign of discrediting Wajackoyah, I want all Kenyans who listen to us and want to chart our future to boycott those churches until they say otherwise.”

Kenya needs to rid itself of huge public debt, DP Ruto says

DP Ruto, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential candidate, yesterday criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration's penchant for borrowing, saying the huge appetite for loans is indefensible.

This was during a breakfast meeting with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) at his home in Karen, Nairobi, where DP Ruto said Kenya collects Sh1.8 trillion in revenues annually and there is no justification for spending Sh1 trillion on debt repayment.

The DP said the government should stop the mentality that “this is other people’s money and so let us borrow” and accused the Jubilee administration of criminalising and politicising tax payment.

“I think that is being a bit too casual. We must stop saying we are using other people’s money because it is not working. We are paying a trillion shillings every year on debt,” Dr Ruto said.

“If you are collecting Sh1.8 trilling and paying a trillion every year, then you are not at a good place no matter how you look at it. To deal with this hole of debt, we must apply the principle that if you find yourself in a hole then you stop digging and figure out ways of getting out.”

Dr Ruto’s statement came after President Kenyatta defended his government’s borrowing, which is projected to hit at least Sh6.7 trillion by the time he leaves office.

That would push the total public debt portfolio to Sh8.59 trillion by the end of this fiscal year in June, with the President saying it is necessary to fund infrastructure and accelerate economic growth.

LSK asks IEBC to stop working in isolation

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) yesterday asked the electoral commission to team up with investigative bodies to guarantee Kenyans a fair election on August 9.

Speaking in Nairobi, LSK president Eric Theuri said the IEBC had not addressed with finality the question of academic qualifications for nomination duly raised before it.

“The question of academic qualifications has been properly raised before the IEBC disputes resolution mechanism. The society appreciates that the role to investigate indeed lies with other state agencies but reiterates it is the commission’s mandate, in collaboration with such actors as the DCI and ODPP, to ascertain the qualifications,” Mr Theuri said.

“We demand that IEBC should exercise its constitutional mandate and determine whether the candidates in question possess genuine degree certificates.”

Mr Theuri called on the IEBC to make public the challenges experienced during preparations for the elections and the measures put in place to address them.

“We note that the election is not an event but a process and so therefore it’s imperative that as we move towards the elections, the public has confidence that the commission is well prepared to conduct free and fair elections,” he said.

The society also has raised concerns about the role of police in maintaining peace as the country prepares for the elections.

“We call upon the police to be independent and not show favouritism to any party, and we call on the IG of Police to arrest with immediate effect the organisers and funders of the riots and to assure the country on the impartiality of the police service in the ongoing political contests,” Mr Theuri said.

Kiunjuri demands Gachagua respect all Kenya Kwanza affiliate parties

The Service Party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri, a principal in the Kenya Kwanza alliance whose presidential candidate is DP Ruto, has accused the DP's running mate Rigathi Gachagua of promoting conflict among affiliate parties.

Mr Kiunjuri accused Mr Gachagua of creating the impression that the alliance had already won even before the elections are held and asked its team to exercise caution as they could easily lose the polls.

Speaking on Inooro TV, he said that “let us cover up for each other, friendly fire kills and as we fight, we are killing ourselves”, adding that “the operation and engagement mode in Kenya Kwanza should be to choose the best amongst our aspirants … even if my TSP candidate is weaker, go for the stronger [candidate in Kenya Kwanza]”.

Known for his mastery of Gikuyu allegories and proverbs, Mr Kiunjuri, warned Mr Gachagua, that “a cow can miscarry as the owner watches waiting for a calf, a season can go bad even after it looked promising and a hunter can see a bird he just caught and whose feathers he plucked go ahead and fly away.”

He cautioned that “we are carrying ourselves like hunters who get into a conflict while in the bush and with no game plan”.

“Chama Cha Kazi leader Moses Kuria, Tujibebe Party leader William Kabogo … Amani National Congress’ (ANC) Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and I are principals,” he said.

“Our agreement indicates that we all enjoy equal rights and status in Kenya Kwanza … That includes [DP Ruto] … Mr Gachagua should … respect the equal rights of other principals.”

He was reacting to a recent public conflict between Kiambu governor aspirants Kimani Wamatangi (UDA) and William Kabogo, that resulted in a shouting match. It is believed that this spat prompted Mr Kabogo and Mr Kuria to withdraw from UDA public rallies in protest. Mr Gachagua has been insisting that only the party’s candidates should be elected.

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