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Schemes Politicians Are Using to Woo Kenyans Ahead of August Polls

  • It is that season when politicians will do literally everything to win the masses. From presidential aspirants to those who want to be Members of County Assemblies, it is a race against time to outshine competitors at all costs. Political strategies are overworking to get it right, by crook or by hook as August 9 fast approaches.

    From hiring crowds to recruiting keyboard warriors, politics gets murkier day by day. It is undoubtedly not for the faint-hearted. Those in power and hungry for more power have demonstrated that they are willing to go the extra mile to prove their suitability.

    Kenyans.co.ke has looks at some of the schemes politicians are using to woo Kenyans ahead of August polls; strategies which are unconventional and in some cases, against the law of the land.

    A collage image of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto addressing a rally in Afraha Stadium in 2017 (Left) and former Prime Minister addressing a rally at Uhuru Park (Right).

    A collage image of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto addressing a rally in Afraha Stadium in 2017 (Left) and former Prime Minister addressing a rally at Uhuru Park (Right).

    File

     Crowds for hire

    How do politicians pull huge crowds almost daily, Monday to Sunday? Don’t be surprised to hear that some of the crowds are on payroll. Kenya’s political history is replete with cases of supporters being ferried from other regions to attend rallies hundreds of kilometres away.

    Paying for the appearance of excitement is nothing new. Crowds for hire is the practice of using money to create an illusion of immense enthusiasm toward a specific political candidate.  

    In the end, politicians want to flex muscles and create an illusion around their popularity.

    Keyboard Warriors

    Haven’t you heard of the 36 bloggers running the show online? Faceless keyboard warriors are being employed by politicians to push their agenda down the throats of Kenyans. The individuals also silence dissenting voices.

    This trend may have informed the National Cohesion and Integration Commission’s (NCIC) decision to launch a crackdown against 36 bloggers accused of making remarks bordering hate speech and incitement. 

    On Friday, March 18, NCIC Chairperson Dr. Samuel Kobia confirmed that the commission was going after the 36 affiliated with political coalitions.

    “We will make their names public soon. The 36 are closely being monitored and the commission is currently investigating them with the aim of ensuring that they will be arraigned in court,” Dr Kobia stated.

    Dishing out  Handouts

    Bribing voters is common and probably rampant in Kenyan politics. Dishing out handouts can be defined as a transaction between candidates and potential voters.

    Political candidates distribute goodies such as money and food in exchange for electoral support or a higher turnout.

    Sponsored Polls

     Polls can help to ensure democratic accountability by identifying the most pressing issues that voters want politicians to address, as well as the policies that people want candidates to support.

     Between elections, polling can aid democratic responsiveness by assisting incumbents in anticipating what voters expect

    However this is not always the case, politicians can hire polls to show that they are in fact getting  support from the public. Apart from paying for polls, some of the polling companies are either owned or controlled or linked to some politicians.

    Propaganda Machines

    In politics, propaganda is such a huge monster of influence. During the electioneering period, candidates employ  both positive and negative campaign strategies . The approaches revolve around discrediting  opponents and packing themselves as the real agents of change. 

    Some politicians turn to mudslinging and name-calling in a desperate attempt to win public favour. For an ignorant and uninformed electorate, some of these schemes end up handing victory to undeserving candidates and the effects have always been dire.

    From left: Party leaders Moses Wetangula (Ford-Kenya), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and William Ruto (UDA) at a rally in Mumias, Kakamega County on Tuesday, February 8, 2022

    From left: Party leaders Moses Wetangula (Ford-Kenya), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and William Ruto (UDA) at a rally in Mumias, Kakamega County on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

    DPPS

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