Recent political turmoil in Kenya leading to deserved but incorrect comparisons with Uganda

Kenya has taken a 180-degree turn from a beacon of democratic hope for much of East Africa to being just one of the rest with fears that the region’s economic powerhouse is on the brink of plunging back to the “dark Moi era” or even worse.

“Reset your TV sets 30 years back. It’s about to get ugly,” Gado, aka Godfrey Mwampembwa, a popular Kenyan political cartoonist remarked in a cartoon before last week’s event that, among other things, saw lawyer and former Nairobi County governor aspirant Miguna Miguna deported from Kenya to Canada and passports of several opposition politicians and strategists recalled.

A lawmaker, TJ Kajwang, who administered opposition leader Raila Odinga’s oath before a mammoth crowd in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park had earlier been arrested before being charged with treason. The Kenyan government has since defied a number of court orders or worked its way around to frustrate their implementation.

If the path the country has taken after last year’s historic Supreme Court ruling that annulled the August 8, 2017, elections is to go by then one can easily say “Kenya is Uganda” in contrast to a popular social media debate that “Kenya is not Uganda” in which many Kenyans had dismissed signs of creeping “dictatorship” at the time arguing that the events in their country were in no way to the level of Uganda.

“This is Kenya, not Uganda. Stop this nonsense, no reforms, no elections,” protestors were seen holding placards as they agitated for electoral reforms ahead of Kenya’s elections.

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