NASA presidential candidate Rt Hon Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past function. (PHOTO: COURTESY)
- BY SIMIYU SIMIYU
- Twitter: @wakajuaness
Barely two hours after the Kenyan Supreme Court ordered a fresh presidential elections after nullifying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election, the incumbent hit the road running to solidify his voter base as NASA leaders burst into celebrations led by Rt Hon Raila Odinga who had filed the internationally-watched petition.
But as if that celebration was bound to collapse immediately, National Super Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga today had to launch a paybill account urging his supporters to donate as little as Ksh10 towards his campaign against an apparently well fuelled Jubilee side.
But one thing that many political analysts had not pointed out was the factors that will definitely carry the day come October 17, 2017.
Buying defectors: The challenge for both sides here is how to “fish defectors” from the opponent’s busket. Fishes do not come to an empty hook. Though not all defectors do come with all their backyards’ votes, whoever that will attract more defectors will have high chances of carrying the day. Politics is a game of numbers and the few that defectors may bring on board will make a difference.
Raiding opponent’s backyard: Still on defectors with that word here meaning leaders who cease supporting their last poll’s preferred candidates to another presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, money will be needed to land at the defectors’ homeyards to influence support.
As well known, it is more expensive for President Uhuru to organise a political rally in Raila’s homeyard in Kisumu than in his Gatundu home. Reason? In Kisumu, he will definitely “buy” crowds to avoid the embarrassment of a handful attendance. Understandbly, very few Kenyans who live below poverty line will turn down Ksh500 to attend a political rally for two hours.
The same is applicable to Raila holding a rally in Kisumu as compared to Uhuru’s Murang’a.
Fuel and choppers: As a continuation of ‘3’ above, any serious leader who wants to enjoy powers and stay at the State House for at least five years will definitely need to traverse the country in the shortest period left to the October poll and covering such miles will need serious expenditure on transport both for motor cade fuel and hiring choppers. You see!
Strategic PR: Both contestants, meaning Raila and Uhuru, will need to go beyond political rallies and even penetrate into the media. How? Motivate political analysts who appear on our screens to chat in favour of their respective sides by mostly selling the agenda.
Two, as seen prior to the nullified polls, several adverts marketing both Uhuru and Raila ran massively on broadcast media and such publicity can not fail to convince at least six or twelve new voters. Money!
Merchandise and branding: One notable pointer during the Aug election is that the Jubilee side spent billions of shillings printing T-shirts, caps, lesos, hoodies, convoy vehicles, banners and billboards to brand themselves.
Up to now, there’s that villager who voted for Uhuru because he at least got a new t-shirt he wears to church.
However, the same was not widely seen in NASA rallies. The Opposition rallies rarely had uniform colours in stadiums. Merchandise can fatten one’s voter basket.
Intelligence gathering: Sometimes in politics, one needs to plant spies in the opponent’s camp, including sending some pretending defectors to the other side.
These spies will then secretly return information to their curious boss on what the other camp is plotting and good payment will really motivate them to perfect their duties.
Hire propaganda bloggers: Politics too require propaganda both on and off the podium. With so many media houses distanced themselves from broadcasting propaganda through their brands, the aspirant who will also fuel propaganda to tarnish the opponent’s image will have higher chances of carrying the day.
Many bloggers, except yours sincerely, are good at spreading very nice propaganda. If you want to succeed in this sector, spoil their bank accounts with fat cheques.
Spend on party agents: One of the hyphens that the NASA petition tabled at the Supreme Court was – some forms had not been signed by party agents.
Agents need to be trained and paid well to be motivated to keenly monitor the ballot process.
An opponent can “poach” your agent, doubles his or her payment to ignore some irregularities that will favour your outcome.
Two, some parties are said to handpick untrained agents who can’t even detect if his candidate’s figures are being undermined. Whoever that will invest in party agents will most likely carry the last smile.
Food and drinks: Nearly 60% of Kenyan voters live below one dollar per day, studies have shown. As a result, they are likely to praise anyone who balloons their stomachs.
Due to this, politicians capitalise on this by regularly preparing good dishes at several meeting joints and plenty of alcohol during election periods.
There’s nothing as sweet to an empty stomach than a good, free meal as is valued to a drunkard as alcohol.
Embrace poll mangers: As said by economist Dr David Ndii, it’s not the one that casts the ballot that determines the outcome but those that manage the ballot.
On an African soil, we can’t deny that most of the “won” elections were through the backdoor aid of poll managers. Though it’s a crime, a candidate will increase his chances of carrying the day if he remains closer to those who manage the ballot and this does not come with an empty hand.