Political Eruptions

Kenya: After an attack on Ruto’s motorcade, are 2022 polls shaping up to be violent?

By Son Gatitu

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Posted on November 23, 2021 16:33

Kenya Elections
Uhuru Kenyatta, left, and William Ruto, in Bomas, Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/ Sayyid Abdul Azim)

On 10 November, the campaign motorcade belonging to Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto was attacked in Kisumu, a western county on the shores of Lake Victoria. It was a bad day for Ruto who had just had a smooth run across the country for weeks, in his quest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta. However, the blame game that followed amongst the political class and security organs could threaten peace for a country that has known its fair share of deadly election aftermaths.

Ruto was on his second day of a tour of the larger Nyanza region, the political backyard of Raila Odinga – his fiercest opponent for the 2022 presidential contest.

Upon reaching his final stop in Kisumu, at a place called Kondele, all hell broke loose. The deputy president, who stood through the sunroof of his official car, had a hard time addressing the rowdy crowd.

“Thank you for welcoming us, thank you,” Ruto said amidst chaos. “[…] please…let’s stop throwing stones, […] There is no need to fight each other.”

He was a man under siege, but his political image would not let him retreat. A contingent of anti-riot police officers responded, chasing after stone-hurling youth. They were forced to lob teargas canisters to disperse the crowd.

The blame game

Ruto stood firm, he was there to make a statement: “I want to [tell] those that have paid the youth to throw stones, shame on them!” he

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