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In the race for State House that has recently seen politicians embrace the use of social networks, former Cabinet minister Raphael Tuju has generated the biggest buzz with a video in sheng that is generating plenty of comments on facebook and twitter.
Saseni, najitolea kuwa prezzo kwa sababu nataka kutoa hii nchi kutoka kwa siasa za tene na za ukabila (Hi, I’m vying for presidency because I want to liberate this country from outdated and tribal politics) goes Mr Tuju.
He resigned as President Kibaki’s advisor to launch his presidential bid in Nairobi on Monday.
His announcement video clips in different languages were posted on youtube, but the ones in English and Kiswahili are attracting nowhere near the attention captured by the pitch in sheng, the hybrid language of urban youth in Kenya.
“Rapho”, as he introduces himself, refuses to be identified with any ethnic group, and simply announces “kabila yangu ni mkenya (My tribe is Kenyan)”.
He is also promising to deal with the challenges of youth empowerment because he can relate with them.
“Nime-pass through hiyo life. So naifeel (I have passed through that kind of life. So I feel it)” says the aspirant.
He is banking on being elected on the basis of his proud untarnished record after pointing out that he held various positions and never indulged in corruption.
“Tena sikutumia post ya mine kusort na corruption (I did not use my post to enrich myself through corruption)” says the former Information minister, who ran his own successful video communications outfit before going into politics.
Mr Tuju’s sheng video generated a slew of comments on social networks, but most of them were pretty negative. By yesterday evening the video head over 6,000 views on YouTube and had elicited different reactions across the social networks.
An irritated viewer on youtube by the pseudo name poison99x felt that Mr Tuju came out as patronising towards the youth.
“Politicians portray Kenyan youth in a bad way. They think being a youth is all about kusota na kupiga kura (being broke and voting),” wrote the viewer, incensed by Mr Tuju’s casual dressing.
According to the viewer, such patronage had made Kenyan leaders trivialise the issues affecting the youth.
“These are the same mind sets that think only Sh1 billion is enough to solve problems faced by the youth in Kenya?” ranted poison 99x.
Others like Yusuf Leleito were more optimistic that the aspirant would change the country’s politics and the issues affecting the youth.