Campaign tracker: What you need to know about the Kenya elections today

Raila Odinga has shot seven points in under a month to poll 39 per cent, after naming Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, a new poll has shown.

With the elections just 82 days away, Nation.Africa breaks down the seven key things you need to know about the campaigns so far.

1. Raila now most preferred presidential candidate

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga is the most preferred candidate for the presidency in the August 9 elections.

This is according to the most recent opinion polls released by TIFA on Wednesday. Some 39 per cent of the respondents preferred the Odinga-Martha Karua ticket and 35 per cent chose the Kenya Kwanza ticket of Deputy President William Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua.

Mr Odinga’s popularity shot up by seven points from the results of the last poll conducted two weeks ago. This is after he named Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua as his running mate. On the other side, DP Ruto’s popularity plummeted from 39 percent two weeks ago to 35 percent after he named Mr Gachagua, the Mathira MP, his running mate.

2. Independent candidates a headache for Ruto, Raila

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) gazetted the names of 5,801 independent candidates, illustrating the headaches the coalitions the two presidential candidates face in the coming elections.

This is after several aspirants who lost in party primaries decided to go solo. Of these, 38 are contesting in the presidential race, while 74 want to be governor, 748 MP, 108 senator, 95 woman rep and 4,738 MCA.

At least 748 aspirants are seeking to join the National Assembly as independents, with a record 4,738 seeking MCA slots. Big names seeking to clinch parliamentary seats include National Assembly Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi (Kuresoi North).

Other incumbents defending their seats include William Chepkut (Ainabkoi), Vincent Tuwei (Mosop), Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Cornelly Serem (Aldai), Shakeel Shabir (Kisumu East) and Fred Ouda (Kisumu Central).

Kibra MP Okoth Bernard Otieno, Charles Njagua Kanyi (Starehe) and Mishra Swarup (Kesses) are also on the list. 

3. Raila’s second day in Kisumu

Mr Odinga continued his tour in his political backyard of Kisumu. This is after spending the better part of yesterday touring various places including Ahero and Nyamasaria as he drummed up support for the Azimio ticket. Yesterday, he visited the former Makasembo estate.

He was accompanied by Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o, deputy governor Mathews Owili (Kisumu) and James Okumbe (Siaya), Nyanza Regional Commissioner Magu Matundika and Kisumu city manager Abala Wanaga. Mr Odinga asked voters to ensure a six-piece victory so that he would not be a toothless President if elected. 

4. Martha Karua in Meru

Azimio coalition running mate Martha Karua intensified campaigns for the Raila-Karua ticket in the Mt Kenya region. Accompanied by Agriculture CS Peter Munya and other Azimio leaders, the Narc Kenya leader urged voters to back Mr Odinga in the August elections lest they risk being in the opposition in the next government.

Ms Karua’s trip to Meru comes barely a day after visiting her backyard in Gichugu, Kirinyaga, to celebrate her recent nomination as the Azimio running mate.

5. Civil society groups decry use of illegal money to fund political campaigns

Civil society groups have expressed fears that a lack of campaign spending limits ahead of the polls has left candidates free to use illicit money, defeating the call for clean elections.

The groups also implored the electoral agency to block political leaders with integrity issues from contesting in the General Election.

Mzalendo Trust Executive Director Caroline Gaita said the unregulated use of money in campaigns is likely to promote electoral malpractices like voter bribery, encourage the use of illicit money and distort the fundamental principles of democracy.

6. DP Ruto’s busy day in Karen, Nairobi

Deputy President William Ruto had a busy day at his Karen residence, where he met grassroots leaders from Kiambu County to drum up support for the Kenya Kwanza alliance.

The team was led by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwah. Other leaders present included Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura, and MPs James Wamacukuru (Kabete), John Wanjiku (Kiambaa), John Kiarie (Dagoretti South), Simon Kingara (Ruiru), Mugambi Rindikiri (Buuri), Charity Kathambi (Njoro) and Aden Duale (Garissa Township).

The DP also met Aline Kuster-Ménager, the French ambassador to Kenya, in Karen. In a tweet, he said that the two parties agreed to broaden their cooperation to ensure that resources are available to SMEs to boost their access to affordable credit.

7. President Kenyatta in Mombasa

President Uhuru Kenyatta called on prosecutors and agencies in the criminal justice system to ensure they uphold integrity in discharging their mandate. He spoke at the fourth conference of the International Association of Prosecutors and the East Africa Association of Prosecutors. The head of State kept off politics completely.

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