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ICC debacle lifts Uhuru popularity

16 October 2014, 12:42 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - ICC problem? What problem? The handling of his summon to the International Criminal Court ICC has ensured the increased popularity of president Uhuru Kenyatta.

When initially summoned to the Hague, opinion was split on whether he would heed the summons or not, especially with the African Union directive there to protect him.

And whilst his body language all along, as well as consequent speech pointed to him not attending the Status Conference, he did in a well planned and executed programme.

The lack of ICC conviction on the case as well as heroic return were only going to lift his popularity.

As did the move to hand over power to deputy President William Ruto, which cemented his popularity in the country.

This was reflected in the Ipsos Synovate poll Wednesday which had the president's popularity at 71% as compared to less than 50% two months ago.

" He has handled the ICC matter to his advantage. That was very well played and I believe is the main reason for the increase in his popularity", Media analyst Michael Matheka says.

Read also: Poll: Uhuru, Ruto support reaches 70% mark

" Prior to the trip to the ICC, Uhuru was a leader under pressure and underperforming but what Kenyans saw in the ICC debacle is a man who puts Kenya first, is selfless and is brave. It would have been easy to hide behind the AU directive but he did not and Kenyans love a brave man", he added.

TNA chair Johnstone Sakaja says that the president has proven that he is a man of the people.

" The fact that he has been selfless in the event that he is in a position that might affect him and the country and hands over the presidency speaks of the man that he is. That sums him up as a man", he says.

Others also feel that the fact opposition leaders have not exactly given themselves goodwill by fronting a referendum has played to the president's advantage.

" The opposition has not offered an alternative thanks to their unpopular it might seem, referendum campaigns and other matters which they could have used to build their popularity. They have in effect not given the president food for thought", Matheka adds.

And with a trip to Nyanza, where he was not too long ago heckled, on the horizon, it will build his appeal further.

" The trip to Nyanza will put him in good light. He will be the offended but does not bear grudges. That will do him no harm.

As it seems, at the moment, the president's popularity will only go higher and higher.

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