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Kenya is known for many things. The politics and the political class give Kenya a unique identity, from the local, regional, and global perspectives. After every five years, political leaders are voted in during the general elections.

Some of the leaders are always surrounded by controversy, going by their lifestyles, style of leadership, and I-do-not-give-a-damn utterance. Interestingly, despite their drama and theatrics, they are held in high esteem by the majority of Kenyans for various reasons. This is from being from a certain tribe, generosity in dishing out cash, show of defiance, and beating all odds to share the big table with the elite.

Here is a list of Kenyan politicians who are loved and loathed in equal measure

Paul Ongili (Babu Owino )

The young, rich, flamboyant and outspoken MP of Embakasi East has never been away from the limelight. He uses strong words against those who cross his path and is as abrasive as they come. He never scares to throw punches or confront his enemies head-on.

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As a student leader at the University of Nairobi (UON), he was never short of controversy. He leads the Student Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) for 6 record years. His campaigns for the top office were marred by bribery, high-handedness, and chaos. He made it a mini-presidential election, with all the drama associated with it.

He referred to President Uhuru Kenyatta offensively during one of the NASA rallies that prompted his arrest in 2017. He then exchanged blows with another firebrand legislator in parliament, in 2017. He was recently charged with the attempted murder of a popular DJ, as-is out on bail.

Mbuvi Gideon Kioko (Mike Sonko) 

The controversial Governor of Nairobi County is no stranger to controversy. Outspoken, abrasive, and generous with his cash, his theatrics, and hard work earned him a place with the elite against all odds and a league of a superior elite, he managed to take up Nairobi as the second governor after flaunting incumbent Evans Kidero.

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Using his self branded Sonko Rescue Team, the flamboyant politician has run rescue missions to people in need. However, these rubbed many of his adversaries the wrong way. He alleges he fights against cartels who control the city’s resources, and who are baying for his blood.

In 1998, Sonko was arrested and convicted for failure to honor court summons. He is alleged to have escaped Shimo La Tewa, and the case still haunts him. Recently, irregularities at the City Hall had him arrested and charged for corruption. He was barred by law from accessing his office until the case is determined.

This eventually leads hiM to hand major City Hall functions to the central government. His inability to implement his official duties, coupled with lack of a deputy governor got Nairobi City on its knees. This prompted his move to involve the central government, a move Kenya’s senate opposed, terming it as unconstitutional.

William Kabogo

He is the former Governor of Kiambu County in Kenya, in 2013. Previously, he was the Juja Member of Parliament (2002). Kabogo is known for his abrasive leadership and strong utterances.

William Kabogo is wealthy, and he does not hide the fact. The source of wealth is questionable. There are allegations that he is a narcotics kingpin, with a wide network of which he is a kingpin. Of course, he denies such allegations, citing it is a tactic by his enemies to taint his image.

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During his campaigns, he rode in a Hummer and choppers. While in office as governor, he transferred the County’s Governor’s Office from Kiambu to Thika. He then nominated women dominated cabinet, a move the Kiambu’s Members of County Assembly (MCAs) interpreted as malice.

Raila Amollo Odinga (RAO) 

The elderly senior politician is loved and hated in Kenya in equal measure. Known by various names, including Tinga, the Enigma, Baba, RAO, Hon. Odinga has continued to defy the odds and stay relevant in Kenya’s dynamic politics.

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Known as the People’s President, Raila has attempted multiple times to take power through the ballot unsuccessfully. With a huge backing by almost half of the country, Rial is officially the Opposition leader in Kenya.

He swore himself in as the People’s President in 2018, after the last concluded elections which were marred by irregularities. Later, he has a ‘Handshake’ with the President of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta for the sake of peace in the country (March, 9th 2018). This move has since thrown the ruling party, Jubilee into chaos.

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