Campaign Tracker: What you need to know about Kenyan polls as of June 23

Martha Karua

Martha Karua (left) and Rigathi Gachagua.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition running mate Martha Karua had a busy day campaigning in Laikipia before meeting Muslim leaders in Nairobi later in the evening. In both places, she said something about corruption.

Former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko could return to the Mombasa governor’s race after a surprising Supreme Court clarification!

The Commission for University of Education yesterday appeared to be backing off challenging Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja’s Team University degree certificate.

The campaign Tracker gives you the full details. Here is all you need to know about Kenya’s campaigns for the August 9 General Election.

Martha Karua meets Muslim leaders, urges them to vote for Raila

The Azimio running mate, Ms Karua, yesterday evening met Muslim leaders in Nairobi and urged them to vote for her party’s flagbearer, Raila Odinga, and herself, saying they were the only ones who understood the issues affecting them and how to resolve them.

Ms Karua also assured them that they would be involved in decision-making in an Azimio government, adding that she and Mr Odinga would ensure that all Kenyans are treated equally and fairly regardless of their religious faith and ethnic descent. 

“Issues of development are very close to my heart, equalisation of development in the entire nation. That is one way of bringing us together. We need to speed up equalisation and bring as close as possible development in the country,” she said.

She then urged Muslims to vote for Azimio and help put to rest the ghosts of disputed elections.

“If we get an overwhelming vote, that matter is sorted out. We need to rescue ourselves from election disputes, which can bring us violence and instability. We have to choose the path of promise of shared progress and prosperity of our nation,” she said. 

Ms Karua said their government would end corruption.

“If you look at our Constitution, there is no reason we should have such a high level of corruption in Kenya when we have a beautiful document that has Chapter Six on the standards of leadership,” she said. 

This was in response to the leaders’ concerns that members of the Muslim faith are often treated as “second rate” citizens and complained that many of them had difficulty getting national identity cards and passports.

Supreme Council of Muslims chairperson Hassan Ole Naado said members of the Muslim community were also harassed, forcefully disappeared, tortured or killed.

“Muslims face legal discrimination and are targeted as non-Kenyans. This discrimination is magnified in other social services including education, health and employment,” Mr Naado said.

He added: “We are committed to elect leaders of integrity … [Now] that our door is open, it is up to you (Ms Karua and Azimio) to know what you should do.”

Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi, chairperson of the National Muslim Leadership Forum, said the fact that Muslim leaders attended Ms Karua’s meeting was proof that Muslims had rallied behind her and they would all vote for Azimio.

“We have never had this public display of unity [like] today and the only factor that has changed is that there is a lady who is now involved in this function, Martha Karua, and I hope the glue that brought us all here in recognition of that lady will do so to all other Kenyans because she deserves it,” he said.

CUE withdraws letter revoking recognition of Sakaja’s degree

The Commission for University Education (CUE) yesterday withdrew a letter that had revoked the recognition of Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja's degree from Team University "pending further investigations".

In an affidavit signed Wednesday by CUE chair Prof Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha in response to an application by Mr Sakaja for judicial review, the commission says there is no longer a basis for the court to exercise jurisdiction over the matter.

“The respondent wishes to confirm to the honourable court that the substratum of this suit, being the letter dated June 14 2022, for which review is sought, is hereby withdrawn pending further investigations by the respondent, whose investigations are currently ongoing,” the affidavit reads.

Last week, CUE wrote to Mr Sakaja to revoke recognition of his degree from the Ugandan university, citing complaints it said it had received regarding its validity.

Prof Chacha then on Friday demanded that Mr Sakaja provide various documents to prove his claim that the degree is valid. He was scheduled to present the documents on Monday but sis not appear.

Mr Sakaja obtained orders the same day suspending the revocation of his degree. It was on this basis that he was cleared on Sunday by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to run for Nairobi governor.

The drama between the two sides took another twist on Tuesday when Mr Sakaja, through his lawyers Mutuma Gichuru and Associates, filed a case seeking the immediate arrest of Prof Chacha for contempt of court orders.

Mr Sakaja argues that Prof Chacha’s press statements on Friday last week and on Monday this week demanding him to present documents to show evidence that he had studied at the university are in contempt of the court orders he obtained on June 15.

Murathe: Raila will concede defeat if he loses in August

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party vice-chairman David Murathe yesterday said its aspirants will not help Raila Odinga dispute the outcome of the August 9 General Election if he loses to Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto.

The Jubilee Party, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, is the chief partner with Mr Odinga’s ODM in managing 24 political parties that form Azimio One Kenya and collectively picked Narc-Kenya’s Martha Karua as running mate.

“I can guarantee you, because I am in Azimio: If we lose this election, we will not go shouting that it was rigged. We will not, unless there are glaring issues of manipulation by the IEBC,” said Mr Murathe on NTV yesterday morning.

He said Azimio would invest in strong party and candidate agents at polling centres.

“If what we will be getting from them as results does not tally with what IEBC will be pronouncing, there will be an issue,” he said.

“But if our results and those of IEBC tally, Raila Odinga will be gracious to concede defeat. Remember 2002 when Uhuru Kenyatta (Kanu) conceded defeat to Narc … Today he is in Azimio and it is our culture to concede defeat.”

Mr Murathe declared that Azimio would respect the declaration of the IEBC, unless there is proof of glaring errors.

“In 2017 … we all know the numbers and Kenyatta had 54 and then (Odinga) had 44. And they know it, since they had their tallying centres … and it is not a must for Odinga to win so that we can have peace,” he said.

Karua: There will be no witch-hunt in fight against corruption if Azimio wins

The Azimio running mate, Ms Karua, has said there will be no witch-hunt in the fight against corruption if her team wins the August 9 General Election.

Ms Karua, who has promised to lead the fight against graft in the next government, said the dragnet will capture all individuals regardless of political affiliation.

“I am telling my opponents that they should not be worried once they hear our pledge to fight corruption in this country. If we happen to win by the will of God, our opponents will be protected because they are Kenyans,” she said.

The Narc Kenya party leader warned Kenyans to “change” their ways.

“There is no woman who has ever named her child after corruption. It is an individual who chooses to be corrupt. Rectify your deeds and you have no reason to worry,” she said at a political rally in Nanyuki, Laikipia County, yesterday.

Ms Karua said corrupt individuals would not be spared regardless of their social status.

“We shall not discriminate against anyone, even if you happen to be my brother, sister, friend or political opponent,” she warned.

She described Mr Odinga as a leader with a proven track record of fighting for the rights of Kenyans in and outside the government.

Gachagua: ‘Deep state’ using stolen Covid-19 funds to fund Raila campaign

Kenya Kwanza presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua hit at Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, accusing him of intimidating Kirinyaga residents into electing Azimio-affiliated leaders.

Mr Gachagua was addressing a gathering during an economic forum at Kamiigua Youth Polytechnic grounds in Gichugu constituency, Ms Karua’s backyard.

But Mr Gachagua steered clear of directly criticising the Narc-Kenya leader, only saying she had no following.

The Mathira MP, who is facing opposition from some Kenya Kwanza principals over his style of campaigns, instead took on Dr Kibicho, whom he accused of using his position to intimidate those supporting DP Ruto’s presidential bid.

Mr Gachagua and the Kenya Kwanza brigade have been training their guns on Dr Kibicho, his boss Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i and DCI boss George Kinoti, accusing them of being behind their woes.

"You know Kirinyaga is the headquarters of the deep state. Kibicho comes from here and he wants to control the politics of Kirinyaga. He wants to tell you who to elect. Will you allow him to intimidate you … will you succumb to his threats and intimidation?” he said, as the audience chanted, “Hatupangwingi" (We are not planned).

Dr Ruto’s number two, without substantiating, also accused the ‘deep state’ of using Covid-19 cash to campaign for Mr Odinga.

“The deep state, whose headquarters is in Kirinyaga, has stuffed Covid-19 cash in sacks and is dishing it out to Mt Kenya residents as a bait to ensure Mr Odinga triumphs in the August 9 polls," he claimed.

Waiguru hosts economic forum in Kirinyaga

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru on Tuesday hosted a forum on the “bottom-up” economic model in which the county’s residents identified areas they want prioritised and that should be captured in Kenya Kwanza’s election manifesto.

The forum, held at Kamiigua Polytechnic in Kutus, was presided over by the UDA running mate. Mr Gachagua, and brought together leaders and other participants from various economic sectors in the county.

The sectors represented included rice, coffee, tea, tomato, macadamia and fish farming, as well as market traders, hawkers, boda boda operators, hospitality industry players and horticultural producers.

Farmers said the national government should develop policies to streamline the agricultural sector and get rid of middlemen to ensure that farmers become the major beneficiaries of their produce.

They also want the incoming government to subsidise fertilisers and pesticides in order to reduce the cost of production for their crops, and put in place policies to guarantee them minimum returns for their produce.

The issue of allowing imports of cheap farm produce such as rice and tomatoes also came up as a factor stifling local agriculture. Farmers called for policies that will protect them against unfair bilateral trade practices.

Rice farmers from Mwea lamented high production costs and demanded that irrigation water fees charged by the Water Resources Management Authority (Warma) be scrapped.

“Warma does not add any value to rice farmers and should be outlawed and the management of irrigation water left to the National Irrigation Board,” said Mr Ndung’u Ndegwa, a rice farmer in the giant Mwea Irrigation Scheme.

Mr Gachagua assured residents that their views will be incorporated in the Kenya Kwanza manifesto, noting that the “bottom-up” economic model is about empowering the economic players at the bottom who contribute to the overall national economic development.

Sonko handed lifeline by Supreme Court in Mombasa gubernatorial bid

The Supreme Court offered former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko a lifeline after clarifying that an appeal he filed challenging his impeachment came within the stipulated time frame.

In a letter to parties set to appear before the top court for the hearing of Mr Sonko’s appeal, Supreme Court Registrar Letizia Wachira said yesterday the appeal was filed on April 4 and presented to the court’s registry on May 20.

The appeal is against the Court of Appeal’s judgment rendered on March 4 upholding Mr Sonko’s impeachment.

The registrar’s letter was prompted by an affidavit filed by Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu and a letter from the Nairobi County Assembly claiming the appeal was filed outside the stipulated time frame of 30 days.

They wanted the appeal struck out, claiming it was filed late and without the permission of the top court.

“Our ICT officers have checked our online filing system and confirmed that there has been no change or attempt to change the filing dates,” Ms Wachira said.

The county assembly, in a letter dated June 17, 2022, had claimed that there was “unlawful alteration made in the Judiciary’s electronic filing system” to backdate the filing of Mr Sonko’s appeal.

The assembly had alleged that the appeal was dated April 1, 2022 while it was filed on May 20, 2022.

“It is very strange that all of a sudden, the date of the filing of the said appeal has changed now when there is a preliminary objection and an application based on the timelines of the appeal,” said the assembly’s lawyer, Mr Duncan Okatch.

“Kindly note that the said alteration raises serious issues on the reliability and the integrity of the Judiciary e-filing system.”

Mr Sonko has since been barred by the IEBC’s Dispute Resolution Committee from contesting the Mombasa governor’s seat, on the grounds that he had been impeached.

But the former governor maintains that he has a pending appeal before the Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the impeachment.

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