Outright lies, half truths, allegations, name calling and promises have marked the latest propaganda wars less than two months to the General Election as Jubilee Party and NASA whip up emotions.
Both Jubilee and the National Super Alliance (NASA) have spent millions of shillings to oil their propaganda war and increased their promises in an attempt to convince Kenyans to vote for them.
In the heat of the campaign trails, President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto on the one hand and NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his troops on the other are making wild allegations and frivolous promises.
Addressing a public gathering in Trans Nzoia last week, President Kenyatta said that during the Grand Coalition Government where Raila was the Prime Minister, a bag of fertiliser was retailing at Sh6,000 but his administration reduced it to Sh2,300.
On the contrary, the price of a bag of fertiliser during the Grand Coalition Government was Sh3,000 when Ruto was the Agriculture Minister and later when he was replaced by Dr Sally Kosgey.
According to Dismas Mokua, a political risk analyst with Trintari Insights, the outright lie that has particularly been repeated by Ruto in several rallies is that the Jubilee Party will win by a 70%+1 margin against NASA.
“In 2013, the Jubilee administration crossed the 50 per cent mark with only 8,000 votes. Given that Kenyans have raised issues on their performance and they seem to be struggling to defend themselves, there is no way they can get such overwhelming victory,” says Mokua.
Given Ruto’s 70%+1 assertion, with the current 19.6 million registered voters, Jubilee would be sure of 13.7 million votes if all those registered were to cast their ballots.
Mokua says apart from the campaign gimmick being put forward, neither NASA nor Jubilee would get 10 million votes on their side in the polls 50 days from now.
On the issue of roads, whereas Jubilee has insisted that they have built 10,000km of roads across the country, Economist David Ndii says this is a lie the ruling party has been blatantly circulating, hoping it would be bought by Kenyans.
“Of course it is a lie told several times,” says Ndii.
10 million strong?
The Opposition has not been left out in the promises that could prove unsustainable. Days after President Kenyatta pledged to provide free secondary education beginning January 2018, Raila started promising that they would provide it beginning this September.
However, this is not possible because the budget for this year has already been passed and by September, the new MPs will not have sat to discuss a supplementary budget.
Recently, Raila’s running Kalonzo Musyoka claimed that he is the one who introduced the free primary education. On the contrary, the programme was started by President Mwai Kibaki in 2003.
NASA leaders have maintained that they will garner at least 10 million votes in the presidential election. After the recent voters register audit, about two million voters could be removed from the list. That leaves a total of 17 million voters in the register. Even with a 90 per cent turnout on polls day, NASA cannot manage 10 million votes.
Prof Edward Kisiangani, head of History and Political Science department at Kenyatta University, says Jubilee Party needs a lot of propaganda to slow down NASA’s popularity.
“Jubilee is on the defensive and need to peddle propaganda to deflect the real issues being raised by NASA. That is why they talk about connecting all primary schools to electricity,” he says.
Lawyer Martin Oloo says the lies and half truths if continuously told could easily be taken by the illiterate populate as the truth eventually.
“If you go to the government delivery portal, there are several projects that have been mentioned but they do not exist on the ground. If such information is repeated often, they will be believed by those who do not have where to verify it,” says Oloo.