Star (Kenya)

Mar. 27, 2017, 12:30 am
Kenyatta

Deputy President William Ruto chats with President Uhuru Kenyatta during Jubilee party rally at Tononoka grounds in Mombasa in March.Photo / JOHN CHESOLI

PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has crafted an elaborate reelection plan and hired over 300 Secretariat staff as he kick-starts a grueling reelection battle against the National Super Alliance.

The hundreds of staff, hosted at the JP’s state-of-the-art headquarters at Pangani Junction, Nairobi, include data experts, statistical analysts and communication professionals.

The staff has intricate links to the grassroots, and will work round-the-clock to interpret information compiled in the field by a dedicated network of coordinators to ensure synchronised and seamless communication.

For the first time, Jubilee’s Head of Secretariat and Secretary General Raphael Tuju disclosed that they are also recruiting 200,000 volunteers who will be on grassroots campaigns across all the 47 counties.

But while volunteers will only be given “a token of appreciation”, all the other secretariat staff will be on the JP payroll, signaling the strong financial war chest of President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

Comment: JP has two more elections – let’s focus on August 8

This means that the Jubilee machine is slowly beginning to roar after a bumpy start full of infighting and suspicion among affiliate parties.

Part of the Secretariat team’s terms of reference are to map out the country and after analysing internal opinion polls sanctioned by the Party, assign percentage vote targets for Jubilee in every county. At the apex of the UhuRuto reelection machine is Tuju.

Other operatives in commanding positions are former State House political adviser Nancy Gitau, Jubilee Alliance Party vice-chairman David Murathe and Veronica Maina, the immediate former Secretary General, who is now the party’s deputy chair in charge of Strategy.

The Star has established that Jubilee has hired veteran journalist Alex Chamwada as part of its media and communications team.

Part of his mandate will be to lay out complex media and communication strategies and package Uhuru for a second term.

The Opposition is believed to have dented Uhuru and Ruto’s image, discrediting Jubilee as failed, indifferent, irredeemably corrupt and a two-tribe outfit. NASA boss Raila Odinga has been on a massive negative-publicity campaign, accusing Uhuru of what he calls economic exclusion, failure to address historical injustices, including recommendations of the TJRC Report, and weakening devolution by denying resources to the counties.

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Tuju said it is the media department that will work in publicising the party and ensuring JP is able to pass its key messages to the public.

“The mandate of the media department will be to work and ensure that the supporters of Jubilee and Kenyans in general know what is happening in their party and they also are the people who will be linking the party to the media and press,” Tuju said.

The department has a staff of close to 20 personnel, including Chamwada. The volunteers, Tuju said, will be answerable to the county coordinators.

“Apart from the volunteers, we expect that those who will have clinched the party ticket to vie for various positions in elective posts will not only be required to campaign for themselves but also will be required to campaign for the President,” Tuju revealed.

The data entry department has close to 50 staff and is headed by a Jubilee Party elections board member. The personnel in this department have been mandated with the role of analysing data that will be used to determine JP’s stakes across the country.

The department works closely with 47 other county representatives and another 18 regional directors who will be giving reports on the situation on the ground – nationwide.

“Each county has its own desk here who keep contact with regional and county coordinators to know the situation on the ground,” Tuju said, taking reporters on a guided tour around the expansive eight-storey facility.

The party has mapped each county and determined the percentage of votes it intends to scoop in specific counties, depending on the support the party enjoys.

At the Coast, for example, the party targets to scoop only 30 per cent of the total votes in a bid to loosen Raila’s stranglehold on the region.

In Central and Rift Valley, Jubilee’s foremost strongholds, the Party targets to scoop 98 per cent of the total votes. Other regions mapped out by both Jubilee and NASA as battlegrounds are Kisii, Nyamira, parts of Eastern and Northeastern.

In these regions, Jubilee plans to outwit NASA by scoring between 50 to 70 per cent of the total votes.

Tuju expressed confidence that Jubilee will trounce NASA and win the majority in both Houses of the bicameral Parliament.

“NASA may be holding rallies – but it is yet another smokescreen. They have no flagbearer, no strategy, no vision, they only stand a chance of winning by cheating,” the former Rarieda MP claimed. It has also emerged that Jubilee received a total of 8,622 applicants for its party ticket across the country. This means that the Party has received millions in nomination fees.

Governors paid Sh400,000 as nomination fees while Senators, MPs and Woman representatives each paid Sh250,000.

Currently, the data entry department has been tasked with the role of sorting out the nomination details of all the aspirants.

“I bet that there is no other party with the same level of thoroughness and preparedness as Jubilee Party,” Tuju concluded.