The Stream

Who do Kenyans want for their next president?

On Monday, April 25 at 19:30 GMT:
Kenya is set to hold general elections on August 9 and Kenyans are bracing themselves for a tumultuous run-up to the polls.

President Uhuru Kenyatta will stand down after serving the maximum of two five-year terms, but he doesn’t leave his deputy president William Ruto with his endorsement. Kenyatta has called him “inexperienced” and has instead voiced his support for veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga. Odinga is making his fifth bid for president, and says he is committed to building a “democratic and progressive Kenya”.

Ruto, who served as a lawmaker and minister for agriculture before becoming deputy president, seeks to challenge traditional patterns of ethnic voting and has called the upcoming election a competition of poor “hustlers” against wealthy political dynasties. He has criticised Kenyatta’s handling of the country’s debt, while accusing him of not honouring his 2017 election promises and of using state institutions to persecute political opponents.

But Ruto’s candidacy is not without complications. In 2011 he faced the International Criminal Court for allegedly masterminding violence following the 2007 election. The charges were dismissed. Odinga and Ruto have both accused each other of foul play and of accepting illegitimate campaign funds.

There are also concerns about possible violence and the spread of hate speech. In the aftermath of the 2017 elections, police responded violently to opposition supporters who protested against alleged vote rigging. More than 100 people were killed in clashes between ethnic groups as accusations were traded.

In this episode we’ll take a broad look at the Kenyan election, the platforms of the candidates, and what the major issues for voters will be.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Patrick Gathara, @gathara
Political commentator

Nerima Wako, @nerimaw
Director, Siasa Place

Shikoh Kihika, @Shikohkihika
Founder, Tribeless Youth