Virtual engagement

Kenya 2022 vote: The war of words on social media between Ruto’s and Raila’s supporters

By Jeff Otieno

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Posted on February 15, 2022 10:41

William Ruto and Raila Odinga
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta holds hands with Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), in Nairobi, Kenya, November 27, 2019. REUTERS/Monica Mwangi

As Kenya’s 2022 general election draws near, a vicious political battle is emerging online. Bloggers and influencers of the two leading presidential contenders, deputy president William Ruto and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, are outdoing each other as vote hunting shifts to social media. Which candidate will claim the bragging rights come election day?

On 26 January, bloggers allied to Ruto posted a video slideshow on Twitter under the hashtag ‘Raila the betrayer’. The post went viral and dominated online conversations for almost a week.

The slideshow contained mugshots of politicians who Raila is alleged to have betrayed in his political career, which spans more than two decades.

Under each mugshot was a brief explanation of how Raila “used and dumped” the politician. Those mentioned include Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi; Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka; and Forum for the Restoration of Democracy Kenya (Ford Kenya) leader Moses Wetangula.

However, the image that elicited a lot of engagement was that of Raila’s father, Jaramogi Odinga. The bloggers said Raila constantly sabotaged his father while serving as Ford Kenya chairman in the early 1990s.

Sharleen Wambui, an online influencer in the

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