The uphill task for fringe presidential candidates

Presidential candidate on Tunza party Abduba Dida during the launch of his presidential candidature on Tunza party on 26/2/17-BEVERLYNE MUSILI

Analysts aver fringe candidates vying against President Uhuru Kenyatta and National Super Alliance (NASA) flag bearer Raila Odinga have a herculean task ahead.

According to Bramwel Matui, a senior lecturer at Moi University’s Department of Development Studies, lack of finances may likely be the undoing of most of the new presidential aspirants.

“Apart from Uhuru and Raila who have the financial might to conduct campaigns and traverse the country as they drum up support for their respective bids, it will be a tall order for the other candidates,” says the don, who teaches politics of development.

According to Isaac Wanjekeche, a Nairobi political analyst, the bitter rivalry between President Kenyatta and his main challenger Raila has narrowed the contest to a two-horse race, which might work against the new entrants.

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“In the minds of many Kenyans, the six other aspirants are just like flower girls. They are escorting Uhuru and Raila,” he said.

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“Most of the aspirants too are out to make a name for themselves, with some in the group trying to seek political relevance after falling from grace to grass,” added Mr Wanjekeche.

But the aspirants insist their reasons for contesting for presidency are genuine, noting that they seek to transform the lives of Kenyans who have suffered the brunt of poor leadership for many years.

Presidential candidate Japheth Kaluyu, a health research scientist, who was born and brought up in Kitui County before moving to the US where he has lived for over two decades, says the Jubilee government has failed to tame the high cost of living and high level of unemployment among the young people.

“I want to reverse the trend when I get elected to office. My first task will be to explore ways of lowering the cost of living. I will also invest heavily in the diaspora and make it easier for the group to invest in Kenya and at the same time create job opportunities for youth,” he said.

Lawyer Ekuru Aukot of Thirdway Alliance believes he is the right man to fight corruption and embezzlement of public funds, which has reached endemic levels.

“Uhuru and Raila are like Siamese twins. Unlike either of them, we will bring total change to the war on corruption. There is too much theft of public funds. We will ensure that there is no economic and social injustices on Kenyans as have been the norm,” said Aukot, 46.

And Abduba Dida of the Alliance for Real Change, whose first claim to fame was in 2013 when he unsuccessfully contested for presidency, wants to instil values in the society.

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“We don’t know our values that is why we keep on having a bad society. We will ensure that values are inculcated in Kenyans even if it means holding public lectures,” said Dida, in a recent interview with The Standard.

Prof Michael Wainana, who describes himself as “a crusader for women empowerment and huge supporter of youth empowerment” posits that working with the two groups will turn around the fortunes of the country.

“The people who will modernise Kenya are the young people. I intend to make them the main drivers and engine of transformation when I get elected as the Head of State,” said Wainana, who is also a blogger.

While launching their presidential bids, former Cabinet Ministers Jirongo and Nyaga pledged to unite Kenyans and fight negative ethnicity, once they ascend to top office after the August 8, general elections.

NEXT STAGE

“We can only move to the next stage as a nation, if we accept to treat each other fairly. We must fight poverty, disease and ignorance. But today we are still not yet there because a few people have chosen to starve the rest,” said the former Youth for Kanu ‘92 (YK ‘92) movement leader.

“I will lead our country to reclaiming its glory. Kenyans are equal and should be given equal opportunities to participate and serve the nation. Kenya should be able to stand tall again,”said Nyaga, who once served as a Minister of Cooperative Development and Marketing during the grand coalition government.

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