by Bedah Mengo
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- As political
campaigns for the repeat Oct. 17 polls gather momentum in Kenya,
the main presidential candidates are portraying themselves as
victims of corrupt institutions in a bid to win voters.
President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party is painting
himself as a victim of "corrupt" judges at the Supreme Court,
who annulled his win in Aug. 8 polls.
On the other hand, his main rival, the National Super
Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga is
portraying himself as a victim of a "corrupt" electoral system
perpetuated by the poll’s body officials.
"The decision by the four Supreme Court judges to nullify my
win was the most painful moment of my life.
"Four people cannot change what Kenyans have decided.
"I don’t and will not agree with them," Kenyatta, who
initially labelled the judges crooks and promised to ‘fix’ the
apex court if elected, said on Wednesday.
He expressed the sentiments at a meeting with leaders and
supporters from the Abagusii tribe, from which the Chief Justice
David Maraga hails from, as he tried to win back the community’s
"It was very painful for me to accept the decision.
"I’m a human being and I was angry at Maraga and the Supreme
Court, not the Abagusii community as Odinga would want you to
believe," said Kenyatta.
He defended his outbursts against the Supreme Court, asking
his audience if it was wrong for him to come out and defend
himself if he is robbed.
"I know I won the election.
"Just imagine a thief is caught with your cow and then the
court rules that the police did not record the crime, so the cow
cannot be yours," Kenyatta said, as he propagated the victimhood
On Thursday, a Jubilee Party lawmaker filed a petition at the
Judicial Service Commission seeking the removal of the Chief
Justice, who he accused of gross misconduct.
Odinga, on the other hand, reiterated that NASA would not go
to the polls with the current electoral commission officials
accusing them of robbing him of victory and bungling the polls.
"We will only go to an election when the playing field is
level," said Odinga on Wednesday.
""The last time the commission was partisan and the evidence
we produced in court was enormous.
"We are not ready to engage in a farce."
His NASA coalition announced that there would be no elections
on Oct. 17 unless those who stole their victory are sacked and
"We wish to inform all Kenyans that there will be no polls if
the concerns raised in our petition are not met," said Odinga’s
partner in NASA Moses Wetangula.
"We will not only boycott the elections, but we will also not
allow Jubilee to go to polls alone," Wetangula said.
The coalition on Wednesday said it would institute private
criminal prosecution of the electoral commission officials over
the bungled polls in a new political tactic to stop them from
managing the repeat polls.
In its war against the commission, the party is targeting 11
top officials, including the chief executive and a commissioner
in charge of information and communication technology.
Analysts noted that playing the victim card is a strategy
both Odinga and Kenyatta have perfected to galvanize their
strongholds and win votes in the past elections.
Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi, explained
that someone who plays victim seeks to gain sympathy often by
misrepresenting facts to create an image of persecution.
In the 2013 polls, Kenyatta played victim of the
International Criminal Court where he was facing crimes against
humanity charges following the violent 2007 elections.
Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto portrayed themselves as
innocent and were being pursued by the court due to pressure
from western nations so that they could not win polls.
"That narrative worked well for the two and they managed to
galvanize their political bases in Rift Valley and Central
Kenya, where their supporters voted them to the last man," noted
However, he added the victim narrative was hard to sell ahead
of the Aug. 8 polls for Kenyatta as there was nothing to cling
on, therefore, he sold a development agenda.
"But with the Supreme Court ruling, Kenyatta has something to
use to persuade his supporters and seek sympathy.
'That is what he would sell during this campaign period," he
Odinga, on his part, has for the last three elections in
2007, 2013 and 2017 claimed that he was robbed of his victory by
the electoral commission through rigging and has fought for
reforms at the polls body.