IEBC kick off voter registration as Raila Odinga and DP Ruto woo young voters

IEBC registration clerks

DP Ruto’s well oiled “Hustler” brigade has milked the opportunity for whatever it is worth. A crafty Ruto is aware of the prevailing huge rich-poor gap, and the challenges unemployed and disgruntled Kenyan youth face daily

By The Weekly Vision Online

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, young Kenyans who have turned 18 years and did not vote in 2017 are close to 8 million. This is the group being registered now by the IEBC to vote for the first time and depending on their turn-out on voting day, could virtually decide who becomes Kenya’s next president.

Out of Kenya’s nearly 22 million potential voters, 85 per cent are below 30 meaning that Kenya’s long-suffering youth, some of whom have in the recent past died in questionable circumstances at the hands of police, will likely decide who succeeds President Uhuru Kenyatta next year.

DP William Ruto has ironically used the “free” time his boss, President Kenyatta allowed him when he transferred his official duties to interior CS Fred Matatingi, to embark on early 2022 election campaigns

This is the group that DP William Ruto has targeted and some of them have bought into his Hustler narrative. He has ironically used the “free” time his boss, President Kenyatta allowed him when he transferred his official duties to interior CS Fred Matatingi, to embark on early 2022 election campaigns. DP Ruto seems to have discovered how to worm his way into getting the support of Kenya’s army of youthful voters.

DP Ruto’s well oiled “Hustler” brigade has milked the opportunity for whatever it is worth. A crafty Ruto is aware of the prevailing huge rich-poor gap, and the challenges unemployed and disgruntled Kenyan youth face daily.

As if just waking up to this glaring fact, long appreciated by DP Ruto, the veteran opposition leader, former PM Raila Odinga has hit the road running shouting himself hoarse in North Eastern promising “prompt” delivery of IDs. He has trashed the hustler wheelbarrow narrative completely unaware that at least 1 million youth use the handcarts to put food on the table. Mr Odinga is aware of the elaborate vetting youth in the former marginalised northern frontier have to go through before getting Kenyan IDs as there is a border community neighbouring Somalia.

Mr Odinga, many now say faces a herculean task rebranding while at the same time distancing himself from ruling party Jubilee failures as he is perceived to be “in government” with one leg in the opposition

But this is barely scratching the surface as at least 2 million residents of the area are staring at famine in the face. They would have appreciated food relief and drinking water more than 2022 pledges. According to many keen political watchers, Odinga has started blazing the campaign trail for the crucial youth vote rather late in the day, after Ruto used almost the entire second term oiling and fine-tuning a formidable election machine targeting young voters.

The constant trips made by one delegation of youth after another to Ruto’s Karen home have not been in vain. Many left with wheelbarrows, saloon equipment, boda bodas, and hard cash are deeply grateful for this critical support. They have vowed to reciprocate in the 2022 elections.

This has resonated immediately with nearly 2 million youth qualified in diverse professions but without jobs. Another 2 million youth working in the informal “jua kali” sector have found ready support from the DP brigade. Then rope in churches, schools, community health centres, youth and women groups, all having benefitted directly or indirectly from the “monied” Ruto and you have a picture of the kind of challenge Raila Odinga faces.

Mr Odinga, many now say faces a herculean task rebranding while at the same time distancing himself from ruling party Jubilee failures as he is perceived to be “in government” with one leg in the opposition.

And jeering from the side is Ruto’s Tanga Tanga brigade which has used the golden opportunity of having no official functions to solidify 2022 campaigns, and still have the last laugh as the ruling party winds down to its exit less than a year away.

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