Uhuru, Raila stick with original campaign teams for re-run

BY DAILY NATION

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Combined photos: President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) addresses a public rally at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on September 9, 2017 while Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga speaks in Narok Town on September 9, 2017. PHOTOS | DENNIS ONSONGO AND AYUB MUIYURO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Nasa challenger Raila Odinga are retaining most of their lieutenants in last month’s election for the second leg of the contest.

They however roped in several IT experts, a move informed by the major role technology played in influencing the outcome of the August 8 poll whose results have since been nullified by the Supreme Court.

Given the central role of ICT in the electoral management, each of the camps is keen to contract some of the leading brains and firms to ensure they do not fall prey to any manipulations of the server and systems as happened during the August 8 poll.

PARTY AGENTS
Mr Odinga is in the process of reorganising his campaign secretariat, an undertaking that could see lawyer Willis Otieno replaced at the helm following accusations that party agents were either not procured early enough or never enlisted at all in some parts of the country in the last elections.

There are indications that Mr Odinga may hand a role to his former adviser on coalition matters turned fierce critic Miguna Miguna following a meeting he held with him at his Capitol Hill offices on Thursday.

The Jubilee Party has, on the other hand, changed tact ahead of the repeat presidential election with the national campaign lobby groups taking a back seat.

LOBBY GROUPS
The party is now relying on its elected leaders to spearhead the campaigns in various counties.

Despite there being no national lobby groups, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria has started his own Taifa La Jubilee initiative that he will use to campaign for President Kenyatta.

Although still smarting from the shock decision of the Supreme Court, the President has held more than a dozen consultative meetings at State House with his advisers and political players drawn from different regions to chart the way forward.

He is keen to achieve optimal turnout in his Central and Rift Valley strongholds and also eat into his opponent’s regions.

CAMPAIGNS
Speaking to the Sunday Nation, Wa Iria said he will use the initiative to campaign in various counties across the country.

“This initiative hits the ground from Monday and it is going to reinforce other infrastructure that Jubilee Party has put in place for this campaign.

“Taifa La Jubilee seeks to work with like-minded Jubilee leaders in areas where jubilee needs support,” he said.

More than 130 vehicles are already branded, which include roadshow trucks and other campaign infrastructure.

TARGETS
The governor will traverse various counties before going back to Murang’a on the homestretch for the final campaign push.

Jubilee is already recruiting volunteers in the targeted areas who will be working with elected MPs and governors.

Such individuals, we gathered, will be directly answerable to Mr Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.

They have been given targets to achieve next month.

TURNOUT
In the same county, Murang’a Senator and senate deputy chief whip Irungu Kang’ata with all other elected leaders have formed Murang’a Uhuru Tena initiative that will ensure over 90 percent voter turnout in the county.

In Ukambani, a new team has been assembled to spearhead the vote hunt with politician Kiema Kilonzo, businessman Peter Muthoka and former Kitui senator David Musila expected to play leading roles.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has been tasked with rallying the community behind Mr Kenyatta.

COORDINATORS

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said the national lobby groups have not been edged out, and that dynamics have changed.

“We now have elected Jubilee leaders and also those who lost whose energies are now directed to the only election on the ballot.

“In the next few days, you will see immense campaigns. Campaigns will be simultaneous across the counties,” he said.

In Nyeri County, Senator Ephraim Maina is coordinating the campaigns.

VOTERS

Kieni MP Kanini Kega said the team will concentrate on voter turnout.

“We are starting at the constituencies from tomorrow (Sunday); each MP will go to their constituency and urge people to turn out in large numbers.

“We will then do a tour across the county as a team before we host the President for a big rally towards the end of the campaign,” he said.

He noted that in the last election only 88 percent of registered voters came out to vote and now they want a 98 percent turnout.

“People know who to vote for, we only need to ensure that no one is left behind,” he said.

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