2017: A year largely defined by politics
12 months ago, 2 Jan 10:35
Perhaps no year has captured the imagination of Kenyans like 2017 did. A politically charged year, it was one of the tensest Kenyans have ever experienced. As an election year, it began in high political gear as politicians criss-crossed the country wooing voters. And with politics now a well-paying career, the battles for the posts were bruising, with the presidential poll the most hotly contested. It was expected to give Uhuru Kenyatta his final term as president, and also the final chance for Raila Odinga to take a stab at the post. Come August 8 Kenyans turned out in large numbers to vote, braving the bad weather in parts of the country. However, when the results were announced, Opposition leader Raila rejected them and filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging President Kenyatta’s win. This threw the country into political uncertainty and saw Kenyans follow the petition with great anxiety. The Supreme Court turned into an arena where political theatrics played out, with lawyers James Orengo, Fred Ngatia, and Paul Muite showing their legal might and Dr Patrick Lumumba providing the much-needed comic relief with his romanticism of the legal jargon. The Supreme Court nullified the presidential poll results and ordered a repeat presidential election within 60 days. Raila added a twist to the situation when he announced his withdrawal from the election October 10, arguing that the poll was unlikely to be free and fair since no reforms had been made to the electoral process. Nevertheless, the election went on as planned, but saw mass boycotts in perceived Nasa strongholds. PRESIDENT SHOWS HIS TOUGH SIDE The year saw President Kenyatta take his gloves off, engaging the Opposition in verbal duels. This saw him being occasionally by some Kenyans that he was forgetting that he was Kenya’s CEO. And following the nullification of his August 8 victory, President Kenyatta threw at least two barbs at the Supreme Court to express his displeasure: “The good thing about the law is that previously, I was President-elect. Si Maraga na watu yake, hawa wakora hawa amesema ati basi hiyo uchaguzi upotee (But now [Chief Justice] Maraga and his trickster colleagues have said that the election is invalid).” “Mimi tena sio rais mtarajiwa. Sijui kama mnanishika? Maraga ajue ya kwamba sasa ana deal na rais ambaye amekalia kiti. Tumerudi kazini; sasa ni campaign. (I am no longer a president-elect; do you understand? Let [Justice] Maraga know that he is now dealing with a sitting president. We are back to work, we back to campaigning),” he added while addressing supporters at Burma Market in Nairobi. RAILA ODINGA AND HIS SUPPORTERS Love him, hate him, Raila Amolo Odinga consistently shaped political discourse in 2017. He kept fellow politicians guessing his next political moves, including those in Nasa. And together with his supporters, the Nasa leader kept the security and journalists busy for a good part of the year. Right from the August 8 General Election to the 2017 presidential petition, the poll boycott and his unwavering ambition to ...
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