Kenyan Diaspora Japhet Kaluyu among those who want to be President
Fringe presidential candidates are having a battle of their lives against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main challenger Raila Odinga on their individual manifestoes as well as media space.
The candidates have argued that they have the best vision for Kenya and that media outlets have been continually biased against them.
“Do we judge the country by opinion polls? Then why did the IEBC clear other candidates if it knew it was a two-horse race? Professionally, the media should give equal chance.
“Hakuna mahali uliambiwa dharau mtu. (Nowhere has a journalist been told to despise anyone),” Alliance for Real Change presidential candidate Mohamed Abduba Dida said of the media.
Alliance for Real Change presidential candidate Mohammed Abduba Dida. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Mr Dida, a former teacher at Lenana High School, humoured his way to 52,848 votes in the 2013 race, where he came fifth. He is running for the second time with Titus Ng’etuny as his running mate.
The other candidates who are promising to beat the two “horses in the race”, President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, are Cyrus Jirongo of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Ekuru Aukot of Thirdway Alliance, and Independent candidates Joseph Nyagah, Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kaluyu.
Dr Aukot said his manifesto, which he said he will launch this week, will mainly address economic and social injustice, theft of public resources, tribalism and negative ethnicity, address the plight of women and youth, who he said have been victims of government neglect, and full implementation of the Constitution.
“If the country can fully address the five issues then we will have no problems that have been bedevilling our country since independence,” Dr Aukot, a former secretary of the Committee of Experts that drafted the 2010 Constitution said.
Ekuru Aukot, the Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Mr Dida, on the other hand, said his manifesto is themed as a “Triple Eight” package for a healthy Kenya that seeks to make the country a comfortable place for its citizens.
The manifesto, he said, focuses mainly on education for all, proper health care, the creation of job opportunities and the welfare of the disadvantaged in the society.
“I have been talking about the four pillars every day and in all forums that I have been attending, so I have no specific day of launching it,” Mr Dida told the Nation.
United Democratic Party presidential candidate Cyrus Jirongo. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Prof Wainaina, a former literature lecturer at Kenyatta University who launched his manifesto in April, said he intends to set up skill and talent training centres all over the country to give the youth a chance to hone their skills and allow them to contribute to the country’s progress.
Prof Wainaina also hoped to stop wastage of public resources by declaring impunity a national disaster.
Independent presidential candidate Joseph Nyagah (left) gestures during a media briefing on May 26, 2017. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Under his reign, state officers will not be provided with cars, allowances, and travel and security perks as they already earn salaries.
He has also promised to reduce the wage bill by rationalising the government workforce, recurrent expenditure and public debt.
Mr Nyagah, a former State House adviser, said his secretariat is still working on the details.
“They are still working on it before giving out full details to the media,” he said.
On the media, Dr Aukot complained that even after he had notified reporters about his planned events, none of them attended and then they blamed him for not campaigning.
“We have done our campaigns, alright. But what do we get? Blackout. It is all a Jubilee-Nasa affair for the media,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Dida offered the experiences of presidential candidates in the United States as a lesson for Kenyan media.
“Over 229 [outlets], both TV and radio stations, endorsed Hillary Clinton, with opinion polls saying she would take it. But look? God said He wanted Donald Trump, for whatever reason. I pray that these two horses lose in Kenya,” Mr Dida said.
He went on: “Kenyans are blinded by money. They worship those with money. And we knew it. And it’s a challenge we have taken to break this trend.”
Dr Kaluyu, an independent presidential candidate, also said he was reaching out to Kenyans to sell his ideas.
“We have done a couple of meetings (since May 28 when campaigns officially started),” Dr Kaluyu’s running mate, Muthiora Kariara, told the Nation.
“We have a vision and we are selling it to the people.”