Kenya election 2022 wrestling match: Dynasties v Hustlers

People at a rally in Kenya - with some sitting on a signpost - 3 August 2022


Inside wetin be like wen Trump back Clinton for US election, Kenya outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta wan hand over power to im rival wey turn im friend Raila Odinga – only to see im deputy William Ruto dey try to snatch am for di election wey go happun on 9 August.

E don cause political drama wey don make Mr Ruto call imself “hustler”, wey dey fight wetin e regard as an attempt by two of Kenya biggest dynasties – di Kenyattas and Odingas – to hang on to power.

As e try to bring out sympathy of Kenyans for am, e don pray, cry and make claim say President Kenyatta dey threaten am.

“As long as you no kill my children I go face you but please make we respect each oda,” Mr Ruto tok, for one of im final campaign rallies as di crowd dey hail am.”

Mr Kenyatta deny di alegation say: “You don insult me for close to three years. Anybody don touch you?”

Dia toks show how personal and bitter Kenya election campaign follow, as Mr Kenyatta come out in support of Mr Odinga as im successor.

“Di president don divert di focus of Ruto, to exchange words with am, and to forget about im competitor,” Kenyan political analyst Prof Masibo Lumala tell BBC.

“Di president don manage to bring out a side of im deputy wey show im anger, wey no be good tin,” e add.

Kenya Deputy President and presidential candidate (C) of Kenya Kwanza (Kenya first) political party coalition arrive inside car during rally for Thika, Kenya on August 3, 2022 for Thika, Kenya

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Deputy President William Ruto fall out with President Kenyatta during dia second term

President Kenyatta move to back Mr Odinga na sometin wey dey seen as an attempt by am to secure im legacy by reuniting two families wey togeda fight British colonial rule – only to fight each oda for 1966, three years afta independence, and to continue di fight until im second and final term.

E mean say e abandon Mr Ruto, wey e form alliance wit for di 2013 election to fight di charges against dem for di International Criminal Court (ICC) over di deadly violence wey hit Kenya afta di 2007 poll.

“Wetin unite dem don disappear,” anoda analyst Prof Macharia Munene tok, e add say: “Now Ruto want to be president and Uhuru want im legacy so dia interests don clash.”

Mr Kenyatta first approach Mr Odinga afta di 2017 polls. Mr Odinga bin reject di results and call for a boycott of several companies, including one wey dey associated with di Kenyatta family, and declared imself di “people’s president” for one big rally for di capital, Nairobi.

“Uhuru get to accommodate Raila because e bin dey able to create kasala and disturb im work,” Prof Munene tok, e add say di 77-year-old veteran politician accept Mr Kenyatta tok of peace as e help im chances of becoming president afta di four times e fail.

“Mr Odinga appear to be more desperate because of age, and dis appear to be im last chance,” Prof Munene tok.

Azimio la Umoja (Aspiration to Unite) coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga and im running mate Martha Karua (R) attend di launch of di party manifesto fo Nairobi ahead of dis year August elections, on June 6, 2022

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Raila Odinga don chose ex-Justice Minister Martha Karua as im running-mate

Di Kenyatta and Odinga families dey very-very rich. E no clear wetin dia fortunes dey worth, but di public get idea of di Kenyatta dia wealth wen di Pandora Papers link dem to offshore investments, including one company with stocks and bonds wey worth $30m (£22m).

Mr Ruto also dey wealthy, but e don put imself as pesin wey – as e don sell chickens and groundnuts before by di roadside – understand di plight of di poor, and go champion dia interests if e dey elected.

“While we dey busy dey plan how di lowest Kenyan go dey uplifted, some oda operatives dey busy inside hotels dey plan how to install a puppet president wey dem go control, as dem want, so day their selfish interests go continue to dey served,” Mr Ruto tok once for rally – sometin wey e don tok more dan once and wey e opponents don deny say na lie.

With women wey make up nearly half di number of registered voters, Mr Odinga, unlike Mr Ruto, don chose a female running-mate, former Justice Minister Martha Karua.

Mr Ruto don focuse heavily on winning over di youth – not surprising as di official rate of unemployment among those between di age of 18 and 34 years na nearly 40%, and di economy no dey create enough jobs to take in 800,000 young pipo wey dey join di workforce every year.

Mr Ruto don form di word “Hustler Nation” to refer to di young pipo wey dey struggle to make ends meet, and don promise a “bottom-up approach” to di economy, say e go benefit di poor.

Kenya Kwanza Political Alliance supporter cheer during campaign rally for Salgaa Trading Centre ahead of di general elections

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Unemployment na major crisis for Kenya

Mr Odinga manifesto dey rely on manufacturing and industrialisation to create jobs.

E don also promise two million needy households monthly allowance of 6,000 Kenyan shillings ($50; £40) from a new social protection fund if e dey elected president.

Two lawyers dey also run for di presidency:

  • George Wajackoyah, wey im central pledge be to create jobs through di production of marijuana for industrial use and
  • David Mwaure, wey don campaign on a platform of tackling corruption for goment.

Di two front-runners don spend plenti amounts of cash on di four-month-long official campaign period, dey travel round di kontri in dia convoys – including luxury choppers – to win over voters.

“Na show of might and in di midst of rising poverty – e look like say e dey yab pipo,” Prof Munene tok.

But, e add say, di crowds no mind as dem dey often pay dem to attend rallies, giving dem di opportunity to make some money.

No-one know weda dem go double-cross dia paymasters by secretly voting for another candidate on Tuesday.

But wetin dey almost certain na say Tuesday vote no go end di political drama wey involve Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ruto and Mr Odinga.

Samburu woman and Azimio La Umoja (One Kenya Coalition Party) supporters listen to presidential candidate Raila Odinga during im campaign rally for Suswa Grounds, Narok, Kenya on July 30, 2022, ahead of Kenya general election

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Mr Odinga dey hope say im choice of a female running-mate go make many women vote for am