The Jubilee Coalition has intensified its multi-pronged campaign to win over regions that voted for the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) in the last election. A source familiar with the strategy told the People Daily that the re-energised campaign operates in two layers. At the first layer, Jubilee strategists at the grassroots are reaching out to influential people affiliated to Cord to develop a working formula with the government.
Those targeted in Cord include religious and business leaders as well as former and retired politicians. The strategists are also charged with the task of advising on development projects which are close to people’s heart and which the national government should prioritise in the Cord-held counties.
The second level involves the two Jubilee principals President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto reaching out to respected moderate MPs from Cord to support development projects identified by Jubilee strategists at the counties. Although Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala and Lands, Housing and Settlement Secretary Charity Ngilu quit politics when they were given cabinet responsibility, our source intimated that the two are also involved in pulling strings behind the scenes.
The plan is to touch the hearts of people in Nyanza, Western, Lower Eastern and Coast region through this strategy, and by so doing gain a soft spot that Jubilee can use to cut down the Cord influence. Referendum campaign “As you can see, the strategy is beginning to bear fruit. Many Coast leaders are beginning to lean towards the government side.
Very soon, Cord won’t be in a position to call shots even in the 24 counties they say they control,” said our source. If Jubilee has its way in its campaign, Cord would find itself very difficult to sell its referendum agenda to the public. The coalition has been counting on the 24 counties where it has governors to push through its agenda. With Jubilee keen to chip away the minority coalition’s support, it will be interesting to watch how the referendum campaign unfolds.
Already, the party is at loggerheads with the majority of its Coast MPs after stripping Kinango MP Gideon Mung’aro off the coalition’s Chief Whip’s position for openly opposing the referendum agenda. Coast MPs have also rejected Cord’s attempt to replace Mung’aro with Mwatate MP Thomas Mwadeghu. In fact, it is Mwadeghu who read the joint statement by 15 Coast MPs rejecting the replacement of Munga’ro with himself. Yesterday, the rift between ODM and its MPs from coast widened.
Ten of them who were attending a homecoming function at the just de-whipped Mung’aro’s home threatened to form a new party.(see separate story) An indication of how serious Jubilee is taking the campaign is the number of meetings that Uhuru and Ruto have held either with Cord leaders or in their regions in past one month. In the past one week, Uhuru and Ruto have been to Kwale and Taita-Taveta where they have held closed door meetings with local politicians and launched major projects.
In Kwale, Uhuru said the national government will immediately start the process of tarmacking the Samburu-Kinango-Kwale Road as well as build a water supply system from Mkanda Dam. Campaign meetings Further, Uhuru promised to upgrade the Ukunda Airstrip as well as build a fishing port. In Taita Taveta, Uhuru held closed-door meetings with all the county’s politicians before commissioning construction of Taveta-Mwatate road that traverses the vast county, and which has been ignored since Independence.
At the begining of Ramadhan earlier this month, Uhuru and Ruto broke with tradition of hosting Muslim leaders for Iftaar dinner at Nairobi State House. Instead, he moved it to Kakamega State Lodge, which saw the local chapter of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya playing a leading role inviting members of the Muslim community in the county.
We also established from independent sources that although the campaign will slow down when Uhuru flies to Washington to attend the US-Africa Forum at the beginning of next month, it will pick steam and gather momentum when he returns. Our source says on the card is a whirlwind tour of Luo Nyanza where Uhuru and Ruto are expected to launch multi-million projects in four counties.
“We know there are many Kenyans in Nyanza who are tired of political noise. These are the people we are targeting because we know what Nyanza needs is not empty politics but development,” said one of our sources. This will be Uhuru’s second tour of Nyanza in less than two months. In May, Uhuru and Ruto spent three days in Kisii and Nyamira.