How Uhuru, Ruto outsmarted Raila and Kalonzo
It was not only well oiled but a campaign that went to all stops to ensure that a second term was secured for President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Within the official campaign period from May 28 to August 5, the Jubilee Party team made more than 500 stops in all the 47 counties seeking votes.
Uhuru and DP William Ruto were on a mission to ensure their campaign message reached all parts of the country.
Unlike 2013, the Jubilee Party spent less time responding to its competitors and instead concentrated on its reelection message.
The messaging for the Uhuru’s reelection campaign was two-prong – “We have delivered” and “We have a plan”.
Uhuru’s messaging team also ensured it turned some of the NASA core campaign planks into a positive for Jubilee.
When NASA came up with the “10 Million Strong” slogan, Jubilee came up with the “45 Million Together”.
This was meant to show NASA was excluding parts of the Kenyan population and Jubilee was aimed at uniting all Kenyans.
The campaign also focused on ensuring the President got at least five to 10 per cent more in NASA strongholds and perceived swing regions.
As a result, Uhuru’s numbers have greatly improved has gained heavily at the Coast, Northern Kenya, Lower Nyanza and Western Kenya.
Jubilee Party has managed to get a majority of seats in Northern Kenya and has eight MPs from Western Kenya, which was an opposition zone.
The numerous trips to Nyamira county have also paid off for Jubilee with Uhuru improving his 2013 numbers considerably.
As early as 2014, Uhuru’s team had already started the race for 2017 with the Jubilee coalition being registered as the Jubilee Alliance Party.
JAP was later transformed into the Jubilee Party with the merged of Uhuru’s TNA, Ruto’s URP and 10 other political parties.
In late 2016, Uhuru set up teams that would lead his campaign with the key team led by his brother Muhoho reporting to him and Ruto on a daily basis.
The teams have been divided into six core units that will each play a role in seeking votes and popularising the President.
The units comprised technical/resources; strategy and theme advisers; political; professionals; communication and messaging; and the women and youth grassroots caucuses.
Technical/resources was largely made up of Uhuru’s family members and those from Deputy President William Ruto’s inner circle.
They included Uhuru’s private secretary Jomo Gecaga, former State House political adviser Nancy Gitau, Uhuru’s maternal uncle and former Kenya Airports Authority managing director George Muhoho, Solicitor General Njee Muturi, former MP David Murathe, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and his Senate counterpart Ekwee Ethuro.
Other members were the DP’s Private secretary David Maiyo, Energy CS Charles Keter, aide Farouk Kibet and former Energy CS Davis Chirchir.
The team was directly supervised by Uhuru’s younger brother Muhoho Kenyatta, who has been answerable to only the President and the DP. The Strategy and Theme unit was made up of key political think-tank operatives comprising university lecturers and business people.
They would manage all aspects of the UhuRuto campaigns, from raising funds to re-aligning the Jubilee Manifesto with Jubilee achievements. This ensured that the Jubilee Party was able to finance most of its candidates especially in NASA zones and swing counties.
The professional teams were largely based in the counties and their work was to explain and sell Jubilee agenda among respective communities.