Will it be happy or sad birthday for Uhuru on October 26?

That the new date set for a repeat of the presidential election is also President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 56th birthday could have been a pure coincidence.

But the sharply divided opinions it has caused on social media show it will play a part in campaign messaging.

TURNOUT

Through posts on Facebook and Twitter since the electoral commission announced on Thursday that the poll date would move from October 17 to October 26, Mr Kenyatta’s supporters are anticipating a special gift while backers of Nasa leader Raila Odinga see the move as a success of the opposition leader’s efforts.

If the postings by Mr Kenyatta’s supporters are anything to go by, the value of the date will be more the reason they will turn out to vote.

One message that was doing the rounds on Facebook on Thursday evening read: “All registered Kenyans are invited to attend President Uhuru Kenyatta’s birthday parties that will be held on Thursday October 26, 2017 at all polling stations across the county. The ceremony will kick off at 5am to 5pm. Thereafter, there will be receptions at all social places and churches country wide. You vote will be your gift.”

Mary Kigwa said in a publicly shared Facebook post: “A win is what we will gift him that day. Oct 26 it is.”

GIFTS

“It will remain a lasting mark in his life. Either the day leadership darkness dawned on his door, or the day he salvaged himself from being a one-term president. It will be a do-or-die,” said Joshua Victor Anangwe on Facebook.

Koris Kipkirui Isaac posted on Twitter: “Good things happen only to good people on their birthdays. October 26, 2017 will be Uhuru’s birthday. IEBC had to comply! Tano Tena!”

But not all were excited about the coincidence. When BBC Africa posted on Facebook on Thursday evening about the coinciding of the dates, some of those who replied were not very flattering of Mr Kenyatta.

“It won’t be a happy birthday to him,” wrote Collins.

Okoth posted: “Nasa will give you the best gift that you will never forget.”

NASA

Eric was more pragmatic: “Only God knows the type of birthday’s cake awaits him!”

To supporters of Mr Odinga, the move by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), to push the date was a sign that it had heeded to the former prime minister’s calls.

Mr Odinga’s Nasa coalition had on various occasions accused IEBC of setting the date to suit the Jubilee side.

“Baba is always right. When he said election cannot be held on 17th, wengine walianza kupinga (others started opposing). Truly this is the people’s president … The journey to Canaan is unstoppable,” posted Jack Ochieng on Kenya Political Forum, a Facebook group.

Ongwae Marco wrote: “Elections pushed to 26th Thursday October from 17th. Wacheni Raila aitwe Raila … Canaan bound.”

CANAAN

“When Raila said there will be no election on 17th they trashed him off, hahahahahah who is laughing now? Election date is on Thursday October 26, now you see? Baba Tibiim! Canaan is real,” wrote Paul Nyamwaro on Facebook.

Simon Ngania tweeted on Thursday evening: “#ElectionsKE2017 was changed just because Baba said. Canaan is real.”

“Raila said no elections on 17th. Indeed it has turned out to be true. He said Canaan tunaenda. As a Nasarite I have started packing,” tweeted Alex Moseti.

“The only thing the computers will generate on 26th Oct 2017 is Uhuru’s birthday,” Steve Jumaa stated.

Another user posted: “Nasa is OK with the election date of October 26 (Uhuru’s birthday). President Kenyatta to celebrate well before going home!”

The exchanges between the various parties were peppered with memes and photos from either side of the political divide, and it remains to be seen how the date will affect campaign messages.

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