President Kenyatta is now at the centre of Kenya’s election drama

by | Jul 22, 2022 | World

OPINIONOPINION, Last week’s deputy presidential debate signalled that the upcoming election may soon turn into a referendum on Uhuru Kenyatta and his legacy.This week’s two-tiered deputy presidential debate was a window into the soul of Kenyan politics. From the segregation between the poll numbers of the haves and the have-nots – with separate debates for candidates who have achieved less than 5 percent support in opinion polls and those who have exceeded it – to the focus on drama rather than policies, it was an eloquent depiction of the country’s fascination with hierarchies and politics as entertainment rather than a means to address serious problems.
The first session was a battle of the fringe, featuring Roots Party’s Justina Wamae and Agano Party’s Ruth Mucheru. It was largely dominated by a focus on the clownish prescriptions of the Roots Party, which range from hemp as a panacea for Kenya’s economic and food insecurity problems to the wildly exaggerated tales of the fabulous national wealth waiting to be unleashed via the export of hyena testicles and farming of snakes. If one was hoping the moderators, drawn from Kenya’s top media houses, would inject a sense of seriousness and pragmatism into the discussion, one was bound to be disappointed, if not necessarily surprised.
However, the evening’s main bout, where most had expected Martha Karua of the Azimio coalition to easily dispose of Kenya Kwanza’s Rigathi Gachagua, did not exactly go to script. Gachagua, a former government mandarin dogged by allegations of corruption, seemed hopelessly outclassed by Karua,  an icon …

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