The Star (Nairobi)

15 February 2013

Kenya: Corridor of Power

Mohammed Dida, the presidential candidate who recently shot to fame, seems to have developed 'kingly' airs. People seeking to visit him have to remove their shoes when they enter his small office in the city. One visitor was overheard complaining, "Why do we have to remove our shoes so that we can see him? Is he a king?" Dida, who has recently laid a red carpet in his office, has six armed body guards. They surround him at all times and have perfected the art of extorting money from those seeking audience with the presidential candidate. Curiously, the candidate who vehemently dismissed tribalism in a televised debate is watched over by bodyguards from his community.

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With less than 20 days to the general election, candidates are devising new ways and messages to endear themselves to the voters. One aspirant for Kiambu senator has been texting the electorate randomly asking voters to elect him. He also asks the recipients of his text messages to "pray hard" that Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta wins the presidency as well as the case he is facing at the International Criminal Court.

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A youthful county representative aspirant in Kisumu Town found himself in a humiliating situation when he realised that a woman he was planning to marry is another man's wife. The woman's husband recently tricked the aspirant into spilling the beans on the relationship by phoning him and pretending to be his wife's brother. The aspirant proudly opened up to the man over the phone and told him he was willing to marry the lady without knowing he had been cheated.

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As campaigns for the March 4 general election peak, a politician has been complaining of his posters being eaten by goats. The man seeking to be a legislator for a Nairobi constituency now wants his "boys" to pin the posters higher up to keep the animals from devouring his posters. "You know we have been using a mixture of flour and sugar to save on the cost of glue. Why are you punishing me by putting the posters low so that goats can eat them?" he posed. His boys now climb a ladder to paste their poster high up - sometimes covering those of rival aspirants.

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