Kenya’s presidential race intensifies


The race for Kenya’s next president has intensified, with the four candidates that have been cleared by the country’s electoral body launching manifestos to win more votes ahead of the Aug.9 general election.
Only four candidates from an initial list of 57 aspirants met the constitutional and statutory threshold set by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to contest for the highest office in the land.
The four candidates include sitting deputy president, William Ruto, the veteran opposition leader, Raila Odinga, George Wajackoya, a legal scholar, and Waihiga Mwaure, a political activist.
While Ruto and his running mate, Rigathi Gachagua, a lawmaker from central Kenya had been cleared to run for the presidency on June 4, Odinga and his running mate, Martha Karua, a veteran lawmaker and gender rights advocate, got the nod to contest for the coveted seat the following day on June 5.
The electoral agency managed to clear all four candidates within the stipulated timeline, paving the way for them to outline their agenda for the country through the launch of manifestos.
Odinga who is vying for presidency under the Azimio La Umoja (Resolution for Unity) One Kenya coalition of more than 20 political parties became the first candidate to launch a comprehensive manifesto late Monday.
The manifesto outlines ten key agenda items including allocating more resources to devolved units, stimulating indigenous manufacturing, transforming agriculture and health care, fighting graft, and providing access to safe drinking water to households.
“We intend to achieve objectives outlined in our manifesto by ensuring the economy is re-engineered for wealth creation through manufacturing, addressing people’s welfare through social protection and environmental conservation,” Odinga said.
In addition, the 77-year-old doyen of Kenya’s opposition politics who is making his fifth stab at the presidency, said his administration will ensure every citizen has access to basic public goods like education, healthcare, food, water, and sanitation.
Odinga’s three rivals in the presidential race are expected to launch their manifestos in due course, even as competition to win voters through other platforms like public rallies and social media engagement intensifies.
The 56-year-old Ruto who is Odinga’s closest rival in the race has been traversing the country to campaign on a platform of a grassroots modeled economic policy and youth empowerment.