Why Ju­bilee and Nasa are chang­ing strat­egy

The two po­lit­i­cal out­fits have been forced back to the draw­ing board to craft new cam­paign mes­sages

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - SUNDAY REVIEW - BY WANJOHI GITHAE wgithae@ke.na­tion­media.com

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.

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