October 12th, 2007 10:19 EST
Campaigns are becoming more intense every day here in Kenya as we approach the general elections at the end of the year. The opposition seems to be the most intense in their campaigns because of fears that the president might pull a fast one on them and call for an early poll.
Officially there are three presidential candidates: Raila odinga, Kalonzo musyoka and the incumbent Mwai kibaki. Raila is promising a grand country and is the most visible now among the presidential contenders with all the billboards and functions he is attending.
The president, on the other hand, is campaigning alright but not in the pace many of his supporters would like him to. Kalonzo musyoka is taking it easy, and that is not helping the fact that many are calling him the swing vote, with rumors that the president side is seeking him he should be very active if he wants to be taken seriously.
Another issue coming up in this years election is the funding for the grand campaigns in the country. The president has said he will not use public resources for the campaigns-- a tricky issue since you can’t let the president cruise around the country without his entourage and security parameters all of which are paid for by the public. But, his team has repeatedly said it is getting money from well-wishers, a point that was driven home by advertisements last week announcing account numbers to deposit your money if you want to contribute.
Even the other presidential aspirants are getting their money from well-wishers. However, many find this method a pathway for corrupt practices to occur since Kenya doesn’t enforce the policy that limits how much a member of parliament can get as a gift. Currently, the limit is $1,500.
So, some people might be pledging their millions to someone and may expect very lucrative contracts from their government to be theirs, it has happened before and the country is still paying for that. But the spending this year is expected to hit the roof with a big part of it going to purchase advertising in all available local media.