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Nightclubs and chapatis: Antics politicians are using to woo voters

Nairobi governor candidate Polycarp Igathe servers revellers drinks at a night club. [Twitter, Polycarp Igathe]

Partying with revellers at nightclubs, distributing chapatis while on the campaign trail, and appearing in music videos rule present-day political campaigns as Kenya heads to the polls in four days’ time.

On Tuesday, Gender Chief Administrative Secretary Rachel Shebesh was captured at a nightclub in Kisumu’s central business district, calling on youth to come out in large numbers on August 9 to vote.

Shebesh, who told the crowd that she was at the joint to unwind, did not waste the opportunity to campaign for Azimio presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga.

“I am here to have a good time but I must also tell you to vote for Baba [Raila]. Come out on August 9 and vote, irrespective of your status,” the CAS, who had accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta to Kisumu, said.   

She is not the only one to deploy witty and theatrical antics in a bid to woo voters.

Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah has, on several occasions, been captured at entertainment joints selling his manifesto.

The lawyer-cum-politician was at a Kisumu nightclub earlier this week, where he reportedly said that he doesn’t mind an Odinga presidency. He has since denied that he endorsed the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate.

Wajackoyah was also seen at other joints in Nairobi and Meru Counties few weeks back, rocking to the loud music and blinding lights, bringing crowds to a frenzy.

Wajackoyah, 63, pulled off electrifying dance moves, whilst squeezing in time to campaign.

Kenya Kwanza Deputy presidential candidate Rigathi Gachagua distributes chapatis to crowd. [File]

But it was Nairobi governor candidate Polycarp Igathe who wowed netizens with his “let me help you do it” campaign antics.

From cleaning public toilets, deejaying at clubs, serving drinks, and chopping sukuma wiki at mama mboga stands within the county, Igathe was the town’s talk.

So much so that Nairobians joked he should visit their homes and perform their house chores too.

The former Equity Group Chief Commercial Officer is on the record saying he designed the first phase of his campaign to root himself into the daily lives of Nairobians.

"People should get used to seeing me because that is how things will be, even when I become governor. I will be serving you your menu, not the chef’s menu."

Twitter user @Chris M wrote: Any emails after 3pm on a Friday will be responded to by Polycarp Igathe.

Another joked: “If Polycarp Igathe existed 1000 years ago, he would have volunteered to die for our sins.”

Kenya Kwanza deputy presidential candidate Rigathi Gachagua grabbed the headlines in June, when he was caught on tape distributing chapatis to residents of Kiambu County.

A seller had brought a bucket full of chapatis hoping to make a killing, when the Mathira MP took it and distributed to the eager crowd.

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga has also had his fair share of fun this time around, unlike his other four trials at the presidency, characterised by song, chants and dance (enter NASA and the like).

Odinga took part in a music video earlier this year, in the company of ‘youngins’. The former premier, known for his witty proverbs has also been captured at political rallies whistling his ambition to voters.  

Political analysts, however, argue that publicity stunts don’t necessary work to the candidates’ satisfaction as the electorate are now more informed.