High -risk presidential election in Kenya

The vice-president William Ruto faces on Tuesday the opposition veteran, Raila Odonga, in a very degraded economic context which raises fears of overflows.


Allies yesterday, rivals today. Tuesday, August 9, the Kenyans must decide who of the veteran Raila Odonga or the vice-president William Ruto will be their next president. The last survey, carried out by Ipsos on August 2, grants 47 % of the voting intentions to the Azimio coalition La Umoja (“in search of unit”) of Raila Odonga against 42 % for the Kenya Kwanza ticket (“Kenya d ‘ first “) of his opponent. A quasi-equality which promises a tight ballot and makes fear of overflows in a country which has experienced several post-electoral crises.

At 77, “Baba” Odonga, as his fellow citizens call him, contributes for the fifth and, no doubt, last time in the presidential election. Heir to one of the three families who have reigned over Kenyan political life since 1963, he has known almost everything of his vicissitudes: nine years’ imprisonment following a missed coup, torture, return to Thanks, betrayals and compromises torn from forceps. OGINGA ONDIGNE, his father, was the first vice-president of independent Kenya, before becoming the main opponent of the Head of State at the time, Jomo Kenyatta.

Irony of history: it is ultimately the latter’s son, outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta, who could allow Raila Odonga to impose himself at the head of the State. The two adversaries, long with shots drawn, had approached in 2018. The truce, symbolized by a handful of hands which became famous, turned into a pact: not being able to claim a third term, Uhuru Kenyatta has, against all expectations , decided to put his powerful interpersonal skills at the service of his former opponent.

Fossoyeur of “Dynasties”

This alliance between “sons of” ended at the expense of a third man, William Ruto, an exercise vice-president who is now dreaming in the gravedigger of “dynasties”. At 55, this political chameleon, who has been frayed with all camps since his beginnings in student activism thirty years ago, knows how to play the opposite. His electoral campaign promotes the “Hustler Nation” (“Fatherland of the resources”) against the old aristocratic guard symbolized by the duo Odonga-Kenyatta.

Disappearing and charismatic, the “Hustler in Chief” (“Déléillar in chief”) tries to forget his immense fortune by highlighting his modest origins: those of a son of farmers from the Rift Valley who sold Chickens, barefoot, on the side of the road before experiencing a meteoric ascent within the establishment. A poujadist rhetoric which seduces in a country where, according to the World Bank, a third of the population lives below the poverty line.

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/Media reports.