Inside Politics

We’re horses too, long-shot aspirants say

Monday, May 23rd, 2022 09:19 | By

In a presidential race that has been widely described as a two-horse race, many other ambitious Kenyans are attempting to prove the narrative wrong by also running for the top seat.

Recent opinion polls have shown the battle to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta is mainly between Azimio-One Kenya leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance. 

A last week poll by Trends and Insights Africa (Tifa), after Ruto and Raila picked their running mates, indicated the latter had shot past Ruto after picking Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua as his candidate for deputy president. The DP chose Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.

Despite this, other presidential candidates are out to prove the two-horse race believers and the pollsters wrong, saying they were confident they will emerge victorious in the August 9 election.

Safina Party presidential candidate Jimi Wanjigi is one of those who believe they have a chance of being the country’s fifth president. The businessman, who has been campaigning in many parts of the country, has picked lawyer Willis Otieno as his running mate.

Wanjigi is confident of winning the election, saying he will get the support of the youth.

Kigame promise

Yesterday, the pair campaigned in Alego in Siaya County, although they said they had information some people were planning to disrupt their rallies.

“If you want the life you have had for the last 10 years, you know who our opponents are and you can choose them. If you want change and clarity in your lives then the only alternative is right here in Alego,” said Wanjigi, who had initially indicated he might support Ruto after falling out with Raila but changed his mind and decided to go it alone.

Otieno, who served as head of the Raila’s presidential campaign secretariat in 2017, told those opposed to their ticket to let them hold their campaigns peacefully.

“We are praying for peaceful campaigns. The Kenya we are talking about is Kenya for all of us, listen to all of us,” said Otieno.

Gospel musician Reuben Kigame settled on Irene Ngendo Kamau as his running mate, saying their government will focus on better service delivery to Kenyans if elected.

“Irene and I believe in the citizens of this country. We believe Kenyans deserve more than what we have been getting,” he said.

Kigame, who is making his first stab at the presidency on the Federal Party of Kenya ticket, said he will anchor his administration on three pillars aimed at improving lives of Kenyans, if he wins the election.

“I am totally committed to giving Kenya a government which, like an African pot sits on three stones: One, Utu  (dignity for all), two, Uongozi halisi (authentic leadership) and three, Ujenzi wa taifa (nation building),” he said.

He warned Kenyans against voting for candidates who, he said, had a record of corruption and spreading hate, saying his ticket was the best option.

Marijuana pledge

“We know that some aspirants are thieves, liars or hold fake certificates. We know that some have made us fight and hate each other, but we praise them, take their money and will vote for them! The time to decide is now. Let’s install a government of values,” added the musician.

Veteran lawyer George Wajackoyah has promised to legalise marijuana if elected. He has picked Justina Wangui Wamae to be his deputy if he wins the presidency.

The pair have promised to smoke “weed” on the first day in office. They believe its legalisation is long overdue. 

The duo, who are running on the Roots Party ticket, believe legalising marijuana will spur economic growth. The candidates will have to work harder to outdo previous long-shot candidates who did their best but still emerged far behind the top competitors.

In 2017, Joseph Nyagah (now deceased), Ekuru Aukot, Abduba Dida, Japheth Kaluyu, Cyrus Jirongo and Michael Wainaina tried their luck but garnered insignificant votes. They together garnered less than 150,000 votes in an election won by President Kenyatta.

In 2013, some of the candidates who took a similar path were also humbled at the ballot. They included Karua, the Azimio running mate, who came sixth with slightly less than 44,000 votes.

Others who have tried before and failed are Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu (1997), Musalia Mudavadi (2013) and Peter Kenneth (2013) among others.


Other than Wanjigi, Kigame and Wajackoyah, there are many other presidential aspirants who are running as independents.

The Registrar of Political Parties has cleared 38 of them who will be vetted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission before they are cleared to be on the presidential ballot paper. 

They include Nazlin Omar and Nixon Kukubo who have been running for the top seat in previous elections.

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