Jan 27, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Raila to launch State House race in Kenyatta’s backyard

Kenya’s former Prime Minister Raila Odinga will officially start his election campaign on January 15 for the August 9 general election in the town of Thika, the backyard of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The choice of the President’s hometown Uhuru Kenyatta for the campaign launch is symbolic as the President is keen to rally his supporters behind Mr Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja coalition following their handshake deal in March 2018.

President Kenyatta has signaled his forthcoming support for the former prime minister’s candidacy at a series of public meetings, and some of the president’s key allies were recently appointed to Mr Odinga’s campaign team.

He invited fellow members of the National Assembly and Senate on Thursday attended a luncheon at the State House to thank them for passing amendments to the Political Parties Act that abbreviated to ed to remove legal obstacles to the Azimio coalition’s participation in this year’s election.

He also used the event to canvass senators for support for the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill before enactment.

The passage of the bill in the National Assembly was delayed by a filibuster by MPs affiliated with Vice President William Ruto’s breakaway United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party, who approved it as part of a President Kenyatta’s program to finalize his succession.

The formal launch of Mr Odinga’s campaign this weekend is likely to raise political temperatures by a notch, capping a busy week of anti-hate and law enforcement began cracking down on political hate speech at public rallies across the country.

Two senators and one congressman became elected Arrested, charged or subpoenaed in recent days for inciting or using ethnic slurs at public rallies. Ruto, who, along with Raila, is considered the front runner in the race to succeed President Kenyatta. Ruto addressed him during his campaign tour of Uasin Gishu, Bomet, and Kericho—three counties in the Rift Valley region believed to be his political strongholds.

But the vice president’s homecoming rallies should energize his base, starting with mass voter registration January 17 was marred by media reports of the use of politically offensive language accused by Meru Senator Mithika Linturi of Eldoret of fueling post-election violence in 2007-08, particularly in the Rift Valley.

The use of the term Madoadoa (Swahili for blemish and used in hateful political speech to mean strangers among us) on political platforms in Kenya often raises sensitivities to past politically-instigated violence in the Rift Valley targeting ethnic communities identified as “ outsiders” apply. .

The Waki ​​Commission, which investigated the worst election-related violence in the country in 2007 and 2008, found that the term was often used to create ethnic profiles of victims of the attacks, which killed around 1,300 people and displaced more than 600,000.

Dr. Ruto, who was one of six Kenyans charged with crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court before their cases collapsed, has since publicly apologized for Mr Linturi’s remarks.

But that has done little , fending off barbs thrown in his way by Mr Odinga, who has taken up the hate speech probe of the deputy president’s allies to try to portray his opponent as violent and divisive.

This Saturday also scrutinizes the former prime minister’s rally in Thika as he seeks to gain a foothold in a region where the National Cohesion and Integration Commission has warned in the past of a rise in class-based hate speech.