What you need to know about the Kenya election as at July 14

Azimio la UmojaRaila Odinga, Deputy President William Ruto

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.

Photo credit: Nation Media Group

With the elections just 25 days away, Nation.Africa breaks down the seven key things you need to know about the campaigns so far.

IEBC opposes inclusion of running mate’s photos in August polls

The electoral commission has opposed inclusion of running mates' photos on presidential and governorship ballot papers, saying the move would be unlawful.

In its response to a suit filed by a city lawyer seeking to include images of running mates on the ballot, the Commission has rejected the argument that deputies of presidential and gubernatorial candidates influence the election of main candidates.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) termed as unfounded a claim by the lawyer, Mr Mugambi Imanyara, that photographs of all candidates who vie for elective positions on joint tickets play a major role in persuading voters.

“The notion being peddled by the petitioner that there is need to include the photos of the deputies to persuade the voters is unfounded and honestly speaking, laughable. The petitioner has failed to show that the photographs of the deputies have any influence over a registered voter’s choice of candidate,” said the IEBC in a replying affidavit filed by its Director of legal services and public affairs Chrispine Owiye.

The Commission argued that the election rules and regulations do not allow inclusion of photos of running mates but only those of the principal candidates.

Mr Owiye stated that exclusion of the running mates’ photographs does not take away the voters’ constitutional right to vote.

The petitioner Mr Imanyara, argued that inclusion of the running-mates’ images will help voters make informed decisions on who they are voting for as president or governor. Mr Imanyara also stated that exclusion of running-mates’ images from the ballot papers violates Article 27 of the Constitution on equality and freedom from discrimination. He argued that there are voters who vote for the president or governor due to their preference and fondness of the running mate.

But the IEBC noted that it has not received a complaint from any of the running mates in both the presidential and governorship elections concerning the omission of their photographs on the respective ballot papers.

According to the IEBC, since the elections date is so close, the orders sought by the lawyer, if granted, will place a huge burden on the IEBC.

“It is extremely critical that no hurdle or obstruction ought to be placed on the ability of the IEBC to follow the timetable as the inevitable consequence would be deferral of the elections, which would portend serious consequences to the entire populace and place our country into a constitutional crisis,” said Mr Owiye.

The case will be heard on Thursday at the High Court in Milimani before Justice Anthony Mrima.

Karua, Rigathi face off set for July 19

NTV’s James Smart and KTN’s Sophia Wanuna will be moderating the debate between Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition’s presidential running mate Martha Karua and her Kenya Kwanza counterpart Rigathi Gachagua. Ms Karua and Mr Gachagua will face off in the second tier of the presidential running mates debate set for Tuesday, July 19, 2022.

The first-tier debate featuring candidates who have polled less than 5 percent in three recent opinion polls will be moderated by Linda Alela of TV47 and John Jacob Kioria of KBC.

The presidential debate will bring together four deputy presidential candidates including Mr Gachagua, Ms Karua, Roots Party’s Justina Wamae and Agano Party’s Ruth Mutua. The live TV event will give the four leaders a platform to share their agenda for Kenyans should they win in the August 9 General Election.

In a press statement, the Presidential Secretariat confirmed that the deputy presidential debate will be held on July 19, 2022 at the Catholic University for Eastern Africa main campus in Karen, Nairobi beginning 5pm until 10pm.

The first debate will run from 6pm and end at 7.30pm while the second debate will go on air at 8pm and end at 9.30pm.

The panel discussions before, in between and after the two debates will be moderated by Trevor Ombija.

“Under the presidential debates rules, the moderators will select the questions to be asked, and shall not share the same with the candidates. They will NOT meet with any of the campaign teams or the candidates,” the statement signed by the Presidential Debate secretary, Clifford Machoka stated.

High Court certifies petition seeking Wajackoyah’s dismissal as urgent

The High Court certified as urgent a petition seeking to disqualify Roots Party candidate George Wajackoyah from the presidential race for allegedly breaching the law by encouraging the growth and sale of bhang.

Justice Hedwig Ong’udi directed the petitioner, Mr Bernard Odero Okello, to furnish Prof Wajackoyah and the electoral commission with the suit papers within three days so that they can file responses.

Mr Okello moved to court after feeling aggrieved by Prof Wajackoyah’s message about the trade of bhang, rearing of snakes and harvesting and sale of wild animals’ body parts. The petitioner wants the court to declare the aspirant mentally unfit to hold public office.

The petitioner is seeking a court’s declaration that Prof Wajackoyah’s intentions are unconstitutional, regressive and present a threat to the Constitution as well as the constitutional order.

He is also urging the court to quash his nomination by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to vie for the presidency.

Mr Okello wants the court to order the aspirant to retract all “untrue” statements in his manifesto and those made in public gathering. Prof Wajackoyah manifesto promises to legalise bhang, promote snake farming, export dog meat, hang the corrupt and suspend the constitution as well as shut down the Standard Gauge Railway, promote a four-day work week, move the capital from Nairobi to Isiolo, create eight states and deport idle foreigners. Mr Okello said shutting down SGR will lead to loss of over Sh300 billion invested in the project, adding that growth and export of bhang is illegal.

Besides Prof Wajackoyah, Mr Okello is seeking a declaration that all presidential candidates must be subjected to a compulsory mental test before being cleared to vie for the position of the president.

The case will be mentioned on July 18.

I got you to where you are: DP Ruto to CS Wamalwa

Deputy President William Ruto responded to claims by Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa that he almost slapped the latter in 2018.

CS Wamalwa made the claims last week during an Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya campaigns in Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega.

Mr Wamalwa’s allegations came amid a heated debate over the DP’s revelation that he almost slapped President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House in 2017 after the head of state indicated that he was ready to give up the presidency following the Supreme Court’s nullification of their election victory.

The DP’s claims have since been corroborated by President Kenyatta who said that he was ready to relinquish power to prevent blood shed in the country.

But in his response to Wamalwa, the DP said that he is the one who bargained for his Cabinet Secretary position in the Jubilee government. Without mentioning the Cabinet Sectary by name, Dr Ruto further asked him to stop making negative comments about him.

“If it was not for me, he would be tarmacking. I’m the one who took him from the streets and gave him the CS job. He should stop talking too much,” Ruto said.

CS Wamalwa has been campaigning for Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga, saying that he is the best candidate to succeed President Kenyatta after the August 9 General Election.

Other Cabinet Secretaries who have been actively campaigning for Mr Odinga include Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Ukuru Yatani (National Treasury) and Keriako Tobiko (Environment).

CS Wamalwa asks Ruto to stop insulting him

Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa wants Deputy President William Ruto to abstain from further insulting him and instead concentrate on promoting his agenda.

Mr Wamalwa yesterday said the DP insults him whenever he toured Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties instead of championing the Kenya Kwanza manifesto.

"I respect the DP and I have never insulted him and I do not understand why he is provoking me to take such a stand," Mr Wamalwa said in Nakalila village, Bumula constituency during the inauguration of Kimaeti Senior Chief Shaff Fwamba as a principal administrator.

He was reacting to remarks made by DP Ruto on Tuesday in Trans Nzoia County when he said his community does not beat up women, in an apparent reference to Mr Wamalwa.

During an Azimio rally in Bukhungu last week, Mr Wamalwa claimed that Dr Ruto wanted to slap him.

He also rejected Dr Ruto’s assertion that he influenced his appointment to the Cabinet, noting that the DP had opposed his appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The DP did not witness my swearing-in, after opposing the appointment, so let him stop cheating Luhyas," he said.

He recalled how DP Ruto opposed his appointment as Water and Irrigation CS, keeping Mr Wamalwa in the cold for weeks before Mr Kenyatta intervened.

"When I was appointed as CS for Water and Irrigation, DP Ruto demanded that the docket be hived off, and I was only allocated the ministry after irrigation and the money transferred to the CS Treasury," Mr Wamalwa said.

He asked Dr Ruto to concentrate on his campaigns without insulting other leaders and exuded confidence that Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition under its presidential candidate Raila Odinga would form the next government and that the Luhya would benefit from the administration.

The CS at the same time issued title deeds to over 6,000 residents in Uwanja Ndege, Bungoma County.

Raila ahead of Ruto in presidential race: new poll

A new Infotrak poll shows that Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party presidential candidate Raila Odinga leads in the latest opinion polls by Infotrak with a popularity of 43 percent.

The poll, released on Wednesday morning in Nairobi, also shows his main rival in the presidential race Deputy President William Ruto of Kenya Kwanza Alliance come in second with 37 percent while Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah comes in a distant third at 4 percent.

"Raila has not gained much since we did our last poll in June. His popularity has increased by one percent and Ruto's has gone down by one percent from 38 percent last time," Infotrak boss Angela Ambitho said.

Mr Odinga's popularity was 42 percent in June.

The undecided voters account for 16 percent or 3.6 million voters.

"Mr Odinga's popularity means that he has 9.4 million votes while Dr Ruto has 8.1 million votes if election were to be done now. DP Ruto on the other hand has lost about 300,000 votes from the 8.4 million he had in the last poll," she said.

Agano Party presidential candidate David Mwaure Waihiga has 0.1 percent.

"If Ruto's popularity has dropped by one percent and Raila has gained by the same margin then the net gain from undecided voters must have gone to Wajackoyah," said Ms Ambitho.

Raila’s self-swearing and handshake destabislised Kenya, Gachagua says

Azimio La Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga should have been arrested, prosecuted and jailed when he swore himself as ‘people’s president’ in January 2018, Kenya Kwanza running mate Rigathi Gachagua says.

Following the annulment of the 2017 presidential vote by the Supreme Court which ordered for a repeat poll, Mr Odinga boycotted the election and on January 30 swore himself as people’s president.

Mr Gachagua said instead of punishing him for committing the treasonable offence, President Kenyatta grew cold feet and invited Mr Odinga into government, sidelining those who had helped him ascend to power.

“When Mr Odinga swore himself he should have been sent to jail. The riots that he led could have been quelled swiftly and life returned to normalcy within two weeks," Mr Gachagua said in an interview with Weru TV Tuesday night.

He said contrary to claims that the handshake brought peace in the country, it was the cause of Kenya's current economic downturn.

Mr Gachagua accused Mr Kenyatta of failing to stand firm when he was confronted with the riots, saying the handshake had led to misery among business people from Mt Kenya region.

Mr Gachagua also said after Deputy President William Ruto was sidelined, several projects stalled since nobody was supervising them.

“The handshake led to death of businesses in Mt Kenya region where residents say it would have been better if it never happened. It was after the President started working with Mr Odinga that the opposition died leading to the “capture” of parliament by the Executive.”

Addressing a rally at Keeria market, Imenti South in Meru on Tuesday morning, Mr Gachagua told Mr Odinga that Kenya Kwanza would not allow him to mess with their government should he lose the August 9 election.

He said once Dr Ruto wins, he would not allow Mr Odinga to cause problems and chaos, adding that the DP “will deal with him”.

“You intimidated Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017 and arm twisted him to allow you into his government. We will not buy fear from you. After you lose on August 9 don’t play around because you will be jailed,” he added.

Mr Gachagua was also accompanied by Meru senator Mithika Linturi and Imenti South MP Kathuri Murungi among other leaders.

Rift Valley is not a UDA Zone, governor Tolgos

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya alliance Rift Valley coordinator Alex Tolgos has laughed off sentiments that the region is a UDA zone and will vote for Deputy President William Ruto because of party euphoria.

Mr Tolgos, the Elgeyo Marakwet governor, said unlike in previous elections, Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga would share the spoils with Mr Ruto in the region because of changing political tides and the spirited campaigns his team has launched.

“In previous elections, the region voted for candidates through party euphoria but not anymore. Interests have shifted and now the electorate is keen to choose personalities and the looming elections will be a testament,” Mr Tolgos told the Nation yesterday.

“During our campaigns, the engagement with voters points at a changing political landscape and people want leaders who have their interests at heart. They feel cheated because of failed promises and that is why they are warming up for a Raila presidency.”

Mr Tolgos said Azimio had laid out strategies to ensure Mr Odinga gets over 40 percent of the votes cast in the region and ensure a resounding victory for the coalition.

“We have been impressed by caucuses of professionals and opinion leaders from across the region who have launched a series of grassroots campaigns that are aimed at galvanising support for Mr Odinga. This was not the case in previous elections,” he said.

The governor faulted leaders in the UDA brigade, saying they were deceiving voters by urging them to vote for candidates from one party starting with ward rep to President, also called six-piece voting.

“The six-piece voting pattern is not achievable despite the blackmail and intimidation by some leaders. We are buoyed as Azimio because the locals have said they will vote in leaders without using party affiliation,” he said.

Over 700 professionals from Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu have teamed up and endorsed Mr Odinga for President besides kicking off his campaigns.

The caucus, led by Dr John Kibosia, formerly of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, said they decided to back Mr Odinga because of his resolve to address rampant corruption.

“Our endorsement is a culmination of a series of consultative meetings which we have been holding across the region and we have come to the conclusion that the Azimio coalition is the best bet for the country. We have laid down strategies of popularising Mr Odinga to ensure he wins the presidency,” said Dr Kibosia.

He said Mr Odinga had demonstrated his commitment to a better Kenya by championing reforms that led to a new Constitution.

Mr Tolgos said there are caucuses of professionals spread across the region who are all campaigning for Azimio and this would help catapult Mr Odinga to the presidency.

“Odinga has been getting a marginal percentage of votes in the region but this time around he will garner over 50 percent of the total votes cast. We will rope in the other professionals from the North Rift region to come out and campaign for Azimio to ensure a decisive win in the coming elections,” he said.