In the past seven days; President Uhuru Kenyatta, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga and Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi have all given in-depth interviews on Kameme FM.
Sources at the station told Business Today that Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka was also set to be hosted for an interview.
With about 18 months to the 2022 General Election and a possible referendum on the cards in 2021, the Mediamax-owned Kikuyu-language station has become an important destination for many politicians. The vernacular station’s audience is largely made up of Kenyans from the Central region.
Analysts have argued that the constituency’s voters will play a key role in determining the country’s next President, as well as the future of Constitutional amendments proposed in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) fronted by Uhuru and Raila. Deputy President William Ruto has made inroads in Mt. Kenya with the ‘Hustler Nation’ narrative which has resonated with many residents.
Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kangata even kicked up a storm after he wrote to the President informing him that the BBI was massively unpopular in the region, citing the results of an informal survey. The goings on would explain why Kameme, one of the biggest vernacular stations, has turned into the newest political battleground.
Leaders who have appeared on the recent interviews have been attempting to appeal to the Mt. Kenya region with their views on all the hot topics of the day, particularly the BBI, wrangles in the ruling Jubilee Party and the 2022 polls.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, in an interview with three Kikuyu-language stations including Kameme on Monday, January 18, tore into his Deputy and his allies for allegedly failing to support his agenda and instigating a class war. In some quarters, he was sharply criticized for the vernacular interview, with some citing the President’s role as a symbol of national unity in arguing that he should have used one of the country’s two official languages; Swahili and English.
He further claimed that Kenyans were being misled about the intentions behind BBI, dismissing claims that the Constitutional amendments were part of an elaborate plan to have Raila take over as President in 2022.
“The truth of the matter is that I do not remember telling you to vote for any particular persons and giving any promises to anyone. When the elections come, we shall look exercise our democratic right and we shall surely be evaluating each every candidate on the ballot,” he stated.
Two days after Uhuru’s interview, it was Mudavadi’s turn on Kameme. Mudavadi has already declared his interest in vying for the Presidency in 2022.
At the burial of Mudavadi’s mother barely two weeks earlier, Uhuru had sparked a national debate after trashing the Hustler vs Dynasty narrative and questioning why individuals from only two communities had led the country since independence in 1963.
Mudavadi used his interview on Kameme to back the President’s sentiments and call for inclusion, even as he maintained that he was not waiting for an endorsement from Uhuru.
“The president has a platform to receive diverse views and opinions from so many people and this is an important debate he has started because all Kenyans should be equal and nobody chose where to be born,” he stated.
Mudavadi also talked up the BBI and his presidential ambitions.
Raila, who has in previous elections struggled to bag significant votes in the region, became the latest top politician to appear on Kameme on Monday, January 25. A nemeses of Ruto, Raila has yet to declare his candidacy but is widely expected to be ODM’s candidate for President in 2022.
He sought to rally the region to support Constitutional amendments proposed in the BBI, arguing that it promised numerous benefits.
Raila further claimed that sentiment in the region against the BBI was driven by propaganda from political actors.
“There is propaganda against BBI. It is a good thing for all Kenyans. The book is huge and has a lot of issues. They are publishing a summarised version,” he stated.