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Politicians drop guard as season of foul play starts

By Grace Ng'ang'a | January 26th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Deputy President William Ruto hugs Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka during a past encounter. [File, Standard]

A season of political mud-slinging has set in as the country inches towards next year's General Election.

The recent spat between Deputy President William Ruto and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka over land grabbing allegations is a glimpse of loose talk and propaganda that could flow in the coming days as political rivals seek to outwit each other. 

Last week, Ruto and Kalonzo traded land grabbing allegations, with each accusing the other of unscrupulously acquiring public land.

Ruto accused Kalonzo of appropriating 600 acres of public land in Yatta, Machakos County, where he has built his retirement home.

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“You have been an MP, a minister in almost every ministry and vice-president and the only record you have is that where you live is government land,” Ruto claimed.

The DP’s remarks attracted Kalonzo's wrath, who in turn accused Ruto of being “greedy for both public and private land”.

The Wiper leader went ahead to list other scandals allegedly linked to Ruto, among them grabbing land belonging to former Vice-President Joseph Murumbi and attempted grabbing of Langata Road Primary School playground. He asked the DP to offer himself for investigations.

Both Kalonzo and Ruto have since been defended by their respective allies.

According to political analyst Herman Manyora, in politics, it is expected for leaders to say anything about their opponents in the heat of the moment.

Manyora said in many instances, politicians take such opportunities to maintain their relevance, noting that things will actually get worse ahead of the coming polls.

“When it is too hot, leaders look for anything to throw at their opponents,” he said.

For most of the politicians, keeping tabs on what is said, heard or done at public meetings would one day be used as arsenal in campaigns. This includes reviving incidents of the past with the aim of altering young voters’ perceptions before and after the general election.

A recent case in point is former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who has in many instances revealed what has been said in private meetings when under pressure.

Late last year during the burial of Machakos Senator Boniface Kabaka, Sonko claimed Kalonzo was being used by the handshake team to help “popularise the BBI document” after which he would be “dumped”.

He claimed he had details and evidence on conversations aimed at undermining the former vice president.

In regards to Nairobi leadership, the former city boss alleged President Uhuru Kenyatta asked him to halt the nomination of Ann Kananu as the deputy governor over “unfounded claims”.

Kananu has since been sworn in as Nairobi deputy governor.

Sirisia MP John Waluke last year accused ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula of  benefiting from Ruto and later jumping ship.

Speaking during the burial of Maurice Wanjala, the father of Bumula MP Moses Mabonga, Waluke accused the two of dumping Ruto soon after benefiting from him.

Political gloves seem to be officially off head of next year's elections.

Deputy President William Ruto Kalonzo Musyoka Dirty politics
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