Deputy President William Ruto’s allies on Sunday, August 7, protested President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to grant an interview to vernacular stations broadcasting in the Kikuyu language.
A number of radio and TV stations announced that Uhuru would be addressing the Mount Kenya region in a special joint interview starting at 6 p.m on Sunday evening.
The session would be broadcast live on Kameme FM, Kameme TV, Inooro FM, Inooro TV, Meru TV, Coro FM, Wimwaro FM, Gukena FM, among others.
President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing residents of Nyeri county after commissioning several projects on Saturday, August 6, 2022.
However, Kenya Kwanza operatives criticized the move arguing it was a campaign tactic aimed at allowing the Head of State to continue rallying support for Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata petitioned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to look into the interview, which he termed a violation of electoral conduct.
Uhuru, on top of being the head of state, is also Chairman of the Azimio coalition which is bound to abide by the IEBC gazetted regulation on parties and candidates not to campaign 48 hours before the election.
“Dear Chebukati, Azimio chairman intends to violate this law today. I have annexed the evidence of the intention. I hereby formally inform you of that intention and, if the intention is actualised, please take action,” wrote Kang’ata.
Lawyer Apollo Mboya told Kenyans.co.ke that a violation of the IEBC directive amounts to committing an electoral offence and may attract dire consequences.
“If a politician is caught campaigning past the set deadline, he/she can be subjected to a fine of six months in prison or can be barred from contesting in any elective seat for a period not more than two consecutive terms,” Mboya explained.
In March 2018, Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter’s election was nullified by the High Court after his opponent, Benard Kitur, claimed that he campaigned on the eve of the August 2017 poll.
While making the ruling, Justice Kimondo Kanyi ruled that Keter had violated the Electoral Code of Conduct consequently termed the election as unfair.
“I have noted that the first respondent (Keter) committed various electoral illegalities. I hereby order fresh elections to be conducted by the second respondent (IEBC),” ruled Judge Kimondo.
However, the ruling by the High Court was overturned by a three-judge bench at the Court of Appeal which ruled that the MP was validly elected.
From left IEBC Commissioners Molu Boya, Juliana Cherera and Chair Wafula Chebukati during a prayer meeting at the Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday, August 3, 2022.