May 26, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Ruto cries foul as violence mars his campaigns ahead of August polls

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has called on the international community to closely monitor the campaigning for the country’s August general election, citing recent violent skirmishes observed at his public rallies.

In a letter of protest to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party accused police inaction in the face of campaign violence. The letter will be copied to officials from the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On the ICC radar

The EU and the AU regularly sends observers to Kenya’s elections, while the ICC is believed to have put Kenya on its radar since it was brought in to investigate the killings and displacements that followed the disputed 2007 presidential election and the subsequent worst election-related violence in 2007 and 2008 .

President Kenyatta and Dr. Ruto were among six Kenyans initially charged and prosecuted for the post-election violence before their cases collapsed due to lack of evidence or the withdrawal of witnesses.

Political Zoning

The trial of a Kenyan lawyer accused of bribing witnesses to help Dr. Frustrating Ruto’s case is before the court in The Hague.

The start of the trial amid heightened political activity in Kenya sparked conspiracy theories among the vice president’s supporters about an alleged plan to frustrate his presidential ambitions.

In the protest letter to the President, the UDA bases attempts to disrupt the meetings referred to by the DP in a plot to prevent him from fighting in the supposed strongholds of his main rival, Raila Odinga.

Mr Odinga, in his fifth attempt for the top spot with the support of President Kenyatta, has told his supporters of the violence at Dr. Rutos distanced rallies and accused the DP of crying the wolf.

The police spokesman has also defended law enforcement, saying it is politically impartial.

On Thursday, President Kenyatta appeared to address the complaints of dr Ruto and urged police to ignore alleged intimidation while they go about their duty.

Political zoning, in which candidates and their parties seek to exclude rivals from campaigning in their perceived support base, is a common practice in of Kenya’s political landscape, both during and outside the election season.


Ethnic Profiling

Reports from previous independent inquiries into election-related violence, including the Justice Waki ​​​​Commission, investigating the bloodshed of 2007/2008 have identified political zoning and ethnic profiling as the main triggers.

The country’s main political parties and leaders, including the two frontrunners – Raila and Ruto – in this year’s race for the Successors to President Kenyatta have their core support base in regions where their respective ethn ic communities are demographically dominant.

Ahead of the August elections, security agencies and the anti-hate watchdogs have many of Mr. Odingas and Dr. Ruto’s supposed strongholds of potential hotspots of violence and hate speech.

Public Apology

Dr. Ruto himself was recently forced to make a public apology over reports of the use of hate speech at a public rally he held in his Eldoret backyard on January 8.

The rally, one of several he attended during During his campaign tour of three Rift Valley counties, speaking alongside his political stronghold, the region was marred by media reports of ethnic hate speech or racial slurs attributed to some of his close political allies.

Most eye-catching were the Madoadoa remarks by Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, in which he urged local residents not to tolerate people among them who are opposed to the Deputy President.

The use of the term madoadoa (kiswhahili for blemish) on political platforms in Kenya often raises sensitivities to previous politically initiated attacks in the Rift Valley on ethnic communities, i.e e are considered outsiders.