Why Jubilee and Nasa are changing strategy
The two political outfits have been forced back to the drawing board to craft new campaign messages
Repeat election has been fixed for October 17
With the repeat presidential election exactly one month away, both Jubilee and Nasa are struggling to deliver campaign messages which resonate with voters.
The Supreme Court ruling nullifying the August 8 presidential election has forced the two political outfits to go back to the drawing board and craft new campaign messages ahead of the October 17 repeat poll.
Both sides admit they had not anticipated the Supreme Court decision, hence the difficulties they are experiencing in crafting new campaign messages.
Since the ruling delivered on September 1, the Jubilee campaigners led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto appear to have moved away from their pre-august 8 campaign strategy which was their government’s development record but have instead concentrated on attacking the Supreme Court and specifically, Chief Justice David Maraga.
Nasa, on the other hand, has also moved away from their previous campaign clarion call to Kenyans to reject the Jubilee government on account of widespread corruption and turned their anger on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for bungling the elections.
In its interim statement released on Thursday, the European Union Observer Mission criticised the two outfits for undermining independent institutions, citing President Kenyatta’s reference to the Supreme Court judges as “crooks” and Nasa’s remark that IEBC “has been taken over by criminals.”
President Kenyatta admitted he has been mad with the Supreme Court judges when he met Gusii leaders in Nakuru on Wednesday.
“I am hurt and angry, did he expect me to be happy and laughing. I have to defend myself. I have to say the truth because I am human otherwise I will be pretending. How would you feel if your victory is taken away from you,” he posed.
Whereas during the previous campaigns the party was well grounded in its messaging and used to hold rallies day in day out, this time round, President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have resorted to hosting delegations at State House with visits to the counties.
Nasa has also concentrated on press conferences largely attacking the IEBC and calling for the prosecution of several of its senior officials for bungling the August 8 election.
The head of Nasa legal team Paul Mwangi warned last week that the coalition’s lawyers were in the process of furnishing the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with evidence of the top managers’ culpability in the August 8, election.
The top managers Nasa wants prosecuted include the IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba, deputy chief executive Betty Nyabutosungura, Director of Elections Immaculate Kassait, ICT head James Muhati and head of legal Services Praxedes Tororey.
It has also dwelt a lot on what it calls irreducible minimums which must be implemented before it takes part in the repeat election.
Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju has maintained that President Kenyatta was still focusing on his campaign based on his government’s development agenda, despite hosting several delegations at State House Nairobi, Nakuru and Sagana.
“We had T-shirts that were designed to end by close of campaigns and ordering new ones is not easy. We had to go back to the drawing board and redesign our campaign,” said Mr Tuju.
He justifies the attacks on the Supreme Court, saying President Kenyatta is obligated to explain to his “shocked” supporters how the decision was wrong.
“Why couldn’t the court just summon the 290 returning officers and let them do a vote recount with all the forms required instead of making the country waste Sh12 billion on a fresh election” he said.
He admitted that Jubilee has changed tack and was even dangling carrots to woo communities to support President Kenyatta.
“We are doing much better than our competitors. Jubilee has already offered Western the Senate Speaker’s position unlike Nasa which will have to change the Constitution through a referendum to accommodate Musalia Mudavadi,” said Mr Tuju.
ODM chairman John Mbadi on his part seeks to justify Nasa’s change of tack. He says voters have already embraced their campaign message and what remains is to ensure a high voter turn-out.
“You will recall we had our own misgivings about filing the petition based on the 2013 outcome. This decision shocked not only us and our opponents but Africa and the whole world, that is why Jubilee had such an emotional reaction,” he said.