Cleaning toilets and chopping vegetables to impress voters

Cleaning toilets and chopping vegetables to impress voters

Cleaning toilets and chopping vegetables to impress voters

Some Kenyan politicians have given up their lavish lifestyles while on the campaign trail, turning to cleaning toilets, chopping vegetables and making tea in a bid to woo voters ahead of the August 9 general election.

One of the politicians who has entertained Kenyans the most is Polycarp Igathewho donned a brand new overall, boots and gloves, before grabbing a mop and bucket to clean public toilets in the capital, Nairobi.

He spent less than 20 seconds scrubbing a toilet while the cleaners looked on in amusement.

“For a long time it was considered dirty work, but this is responsible work,” said the bespectacled Mr Igathe.

Toilet cleaners in the city often use old mops and buckets to clean facilities that often stink.

Mr Igathe – who is running for the coveted governorship of Nairobi – has also been photographed washing cars, DJing and serving alcohol in nightclubs.

His antics led some to joke that he should come and do housework for them.

Mr Igathe was deputy county governor under Mike Sonko but resigned less than a year after assuming office saying he failed to win the governor’s confidence in the administration.

Political analysts say these PR tricks are well known to the electorate and are unlikely to sway voters.

Mr Igathe’s main opponent is the Nairobi senator Johnson Sakaya. He doesn’t shy away from gimmicks either, sharing photos of himself buying fish from roadside vendors and tomatoes and onions from the market rather than the supermarket.

Mr Sakaja has been a Nairobi senator since 2017 and this is his first attempt to run for governor.

Nairobi resident Anne Wambui quipped that politicians don’t know where the markets are until the campaigns start.

“We are struggling to survive in this city, but someone who shops in expensive places comes to pretend to understand us when he wants our vote,” he told the BBC.

Member of Parliament of Kimililis Didmus Barasa he was trying to attract voters by riding in motor taxis, abandoning his luxury vehicle.

He also climbed into a cart that was mounted on top of his vehicle. The wheelbarrow is the symbol of his party and has been used to attract young Kenyan entrepreneurs.

Mr Barasa has also been photographed taking tea with locals in a mud-walled hotel.

Other photos show him using a traditional three-stone fireplace to make tea for a 67-year-old widow, although he is still wearing his fancy leather shoes.

She didn’t win everyone over with these intimate scenes, drawing some rude comments on social media.

Former senator Boni Khalwale who is running again in Kakamega, western Kenya, wanted to prove his street credentials by opting for a shoe shine on the street.

He sat eating roasted corn while he waited for them to be cleaned.

He captioned the photo “Kazi ni Kazi,” a Swahili phrase that means “Every fuss matters.”

Mr Khalwale’s stunt also angered some people on social media, proving once again that such antics don’t always work.

Member of Parliament for Embakasi West George Teoris posted photos of him walking barefoot on the streets with the caption: “I’m loving every moment in my neighborhood.”

Mr Theuri was also wearing shorts in the photos, prompting one of his followers to comment: “It takes advanced stupidity to believe politicians like this.”

Five months ago senator Isaac Mwaura he went to great lengths to get his party’s ticket to run as an MP in Nairobi by helping vendors chop vegetables.

Mr Mwaura said he was trying to understand the struggles of small businesses in his Ruiru constituency in the capital.

“Unfortunately… you didn’t know mummy and daddy boga [vegetable vendors] existed until now. It took an election year to dawn on us to wake up to this reality,” one person posted on social media.

It ultimately didn’t help the politician as he failed to get nominated and won’t be on the ballot on Tuesday.

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