Star (Kenya)

New NASA strategy will yield maximum outreach

May. 23, 2017, 1:00 am

NASA Team in NAKURU, Afraha Stadium on May 15 /DENNIS KAVISU
NASA Team in NAKURU, Afraha Stadium on May 15 /DENNIS KAVISU

NASA’s campaign strategy of zoning the country and deploying campaign teams led by each Pentagon member is both good and bad.

It is good because Kenya is expansive and dividing up the campaign groups will help them preach the NASA gospel to as many Kenyans as possible within the shortest possible period.

It should not be lost on us that NASA is campaigning against a government that is well entrenched in terms of machine from what used to be the provincial commissioners (now the county/regional commissioners) to mandarins like the Cabinet and Principal Secretaries, among others. For any campaign team to outdo these establishment operatives, you need an elaborate plan that includes what NASA is doing.

You will also realize that the pairing of the NASA campaign teams targets the perceived ‘stronghold’ of each member of the Pentagon and the Governors in their team. Such pairing is positive political fodder in any political strategy. It will not be long before you see Jubilee adopt a not dissimilar strategy to reach the most far-flung regions of this country, even though they have enlisted support from the earlier-mentioned category of civil servants.

There is the likelihood of maximum campaign outreach because the campaign effort is localized, with some of the Pentagon members culturally identifying with the locals, making it easier for NASA vision to sink in in a fairly easy manner. This strategy will also be a good opportunity for post-nomination healing in the NASA strongholds, it will be most likely that Pentagon members will lead campaigns in areas where they have strong support, and, from the recent nominations, it is an open secret the primaries across the political divide left wounds that might turn into indelible scars for any political party. This will be a perfect opportunity for NASA to heal wounds at the grassroots.

This strategy, if well-coordinated, can inspire euphoria, especially in swing and perceived Jubilee regions, which will be a plus to NASA’s campaign. NASA may not have the same resources as their power incumbent opponents and this strategy is likely to reap maximum utilization of campaign resources, the output in this case will be commensurate with the input, which is a plus in any campaign.

However, NASA will have to do without the charisma and the crowd-pulling magnetics of Raila Odinga in regions where other members of Pentagon will be on their own.

Ambasa is a political scientist

NASA forms four presidential campaign teams for Raila

May. 23, 2017, 12:00 am

NASA Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga with Musalia Mudavadi during their Rally at Uhuru Park on April 27, 2017. They unveiled Raila Odinga as their Presidential Candidate and Kalonzo Musyoka as his deputy. Photo/Jack Owuor
NASA Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga with Musalia Mudavadi during their Rally at Uhuru Park on April 27, 2017. They unveiled Raila Odinga as their Presidential Candidate and Kalonzo Musyoka as his deputy. Photo/Jack Owuor

NASA has split its campaign into four groups to cover every corner of the country in the 76 days remaining until the General Election.

Although Raila Odinga’s presidential campaign will have different departments of the secretariat operating from different locations, it will have one presidential secretariat with a clear chain of command, with the five principals at the top, the Pentagon.

One team will be led by Raila and will include Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula, Lamu Governor Issa Timamy, Kajiado boss David Nkedianye and Narok governor aspirant Joseph Tiampati.

The second team will be led by ANC leader and Raila’s election campaign chairman Musalia Mudavadi. His team will be comprised of ODM deputy party leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho; new Council of Governors chairman Josephat Nanok, who is also Turkana governor; Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto, who is also and Chama Cha Mashinani leader; and Aisha Jumwa, the Kilifi women representative.


The third team will be led by Deputy President candidate Kalonzo Musyoka, the Wiper party leader. It will include ODM deputy party leader and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, former Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim and Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo.

The fourth team is comprised of Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi and Mombasa women representative Mishi Mboko. Raila and Mudavadi will alternately join this team from time to time.

“We want to reach every corner of this country in the next 70 days. It is going to be an intense campaign backed by very creative ideas. We believe Kenyans will buy our message and will give us their votes,” Mudavadi said in an interview yesterday.

NASA has already issued a two-week campaign schedule starting Wednesday in Isiolo Town and ending on June 10 in Kibwezi, Makueni county. The rallies will also be held in Baringo, West Pokot and Mumias.

Read: NASA lines up Coast, Eastern tours to campaign for Raila

According to the plan, Pentagon members will also directly handle their own strongholds. The idea is to leverage the support and influence the principals have in their regions.

Raila will take charge of Nairobi, Nyanza, parts of Western and the Coast where he enjoys a lot of support.

Kalonzo will take charge of Eastern and parts of the Coast where he too has substantial influence.

Rutto will take charge of the Rift Valley, the home turf of Deputy President William Ruto.

Wetang’ula, the Bungoma senator, will be responsible for some parts of Western Kenya.

Businessman Jimmy Wanjigi is leading the resource mobilisation team, together with former Attorney General Charles Njonjo.

Apart from ensuring that the campaign is well financed, the two will also ensure there are six choppers available for the campaign teams at any given time.

Apart from an army of volunteers, the opposition outfit has assembled some well-respected professionals to help manage the campaign.

The 10-member committee of experts from various fields has already got down to work and is putting the final touches on the coalition’s manifesto.

Professor Willis Otieno, a lawyer, is leading the technical team, which also has economist David Ndii and civil society activists Abubakar Zein, University of Nairobi lecturer Dr Adams Oloo and ODM executive director Oduor Ong’wen. Norman Magaya is the campaign’s executive director.

“Ours will be an issue-based campaign,” Kalonzo said yesterday. “We will tell Kenyans clearly what the difference between us and Jubilee is.”

The four teams have been told to read from the same script and ensure they deliver a consistent message wherever they go.

When it is one month to the elections, the NASA team plans to hold daily press briefings, which will be done alternately by each of the five principals. Each principal will have one press conference a week.

At the county level, NASA leaders will pick the county coordinators from constituent parties. The coordinators will then pick constituency coordinators and polling station managers.

“We will facilitate all these people to ensure that they are not just loyal to us but they work extra hard to mobilise voters and guard the vote,” Mudavadi said.

The NASA technical team is currently working on the coalition’s manifesto, which they will launch next month.

In the meantime, those campaigning for Raila have been asked to talk about specific things.

NASA will pledge to grow the economy by, among other things, implementing effective fiscal policies, creating jobs by attracting foreign investors, supporting local manufacturers through reduction of power tariffs, encouraging entrepreneurship by giving opportunities to small businesses through low-interest loans, improving the ease of doing business and taking other steps.

The opposition alliance will also pledge to lower the high unemployment rate through training and by giving loans for business start-ups.

It will promise to improve agricultural production by empowering farmers and providing more and better extension services. It will promise to review the agenda for food security, improve it and ensure affordable pricing for commodities.

Also in NASA’S basket of pledges will be tackling the water shortage, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. It plans to lower the cost of energy by lifting and lowering some taxes.

It wants to expand the data communication infrastructure and expand internet access across the country.

It will review taxes for small small and start-up business, with the intention of making it easy to start and sustain business.

The alliance will promise to promote and support local manufacturers.

After presenting their nomination papers to IEBC on Sunday at KICC, NASA leaders will hold a rally at Jacaranda Ground along Ngong road.

Raila will officially launch his fourth presidential bid in Kakamega on June 3.

Before the Kakamega event, Raila and his team will attend Madaraka Day celebrations in Nyeri.

After Kakamega, the opposition campaign team will split again in search of votes in Kapsabet, Machakos, Garsen, Lamu, Mombasa and Taita Taveta.

Also read: Inside Raila’s election campaign team