Uliza Kiatu: It’s all in the shoes as Raila and Ruto step up footwork to woo youngsters


Presidential candidates Raila Odinga and William Ruto are doing everything they can to woo young voters.

On Monday, July 18, while campaigning at Gikomba market, Ruto was keen to show Kenyans how much he appreciates “scammers”, even going so far as to buy a jacket. This was the perfect opportunity for him to take on his opponent, who had previously caused a stir with his remarks about second-hand clothes.

In a video that went viral on social media, UDA Nairobi gubernatorial candidate Johnson Sakaja asked for votes as Ruto tried on a green jacket he planned to buy.

“Isn’t that a good outfit?” Those people full of wickedness said that these are clothes of corpses,” Sakaja said.

Ruto praised the shopkeeper selling the jacket which sold for 2,000 shillings. “Hapana Sh2,000 ni nyingi. Bei ya jioni? Huyu madam anataka kuninyoa bila maji. Nimechanuka sana msinione hivi,” Ruto said.

However, after further bargaining, he handed over 20,000 shillings to the trader to the applause of the crowd.

During the same campaign, Ruto bought a pair of sneakers for 50,000 shillings from a shopkeeper who sold the shoes for 2,000 shillings.

Speaking of shoes, Raila Odinga is no slouch. Most recently, he became the talk of the town after he wore Azimio-branded shoes to match his blue outfit, given to him by a local during a campaign stop in Dagoretti.

Raila Odinga presents new sneakers.

Much to the amusement of his followers, Raila joked that he would never take them off.

And in 2021, he stepped out in style meeting the young people of the Mount Kenya region at the University of Nairobi.

Raila caught the attention of young people who identified with his dress code for the day, popularly known by young people as “drip”.

Raila wore a sleeveless puffer jacket, denim pants, a fedora hat, a polo t-shirt, and to sum up the look, a pair of off-white Nike X Air Jordan sneakers.

Ruto also ditched his usual Kitenge outfits and opted for a more youthful look when he met youth groups at Nyayo Stadium during the launch of his party’s manifesto.

He stepped out in a pair of blue jeans and a green and yellow striped long sleeve t-shirt and completed his youthful look with a pair of green and yellow Nike Dunk low Brazil sneakers, valued at Sh68,000.

Counseling psychologist Jacquline Njeri says formal wear could alienate young people. “When politicians dress up, they try to get closer to the younger generation and break down barriers. It’s a smart decision, I must say,” says Njeri.


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