Standard NewspaperÂ has followed up a group of youngsters who run President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2013 campaign machine which redefined political messaging in Kenya.
The good news is, these youths will never have to throw stones, or be bribed, in any future political rally. They used their ingenuity to assist a politician rode to power and with an empowering leadership of TNA Chairman Johnson Sakaja, earned their millions.
They deserved it, for a campaign that was as meticulous as Uhuru’s only proves one thing: ideas matter. Be that as it may, it offers great lessons to the opposition ODM/CORD on how to tap into the creative wealth of young people and in the process put them on the path to shared prosperity.
Here is the story of Daniel Mugo, one of the team Uhuru Millionaires:
DANIEL MUGO, 26: Designer Designate â€” The man behind the TNA and Kenya @50 logos.
At the age of 13, while in Standard 6, Daniel Mugo designed a magazine by picking random images and using a collection of short stories.
The magazine was just distributed within the Mugo household, but for young Daniel, it marked the start of his journey. He used basic Windows software â€” Paint â€” to create the magazine. Over the years, he built on this passion for design by doing work for the church he attends, Oasis of Love, in Umoja.
After high school at Nairobi’s Upper Hill, he joined the Andrew Crawford Media Training School to study video editing. Thereafter, he went to Daystar University to study advertising.
Mr Mugo got his first taste of campaigning at Daystar. He helped design posters and banners for friends vying for student leader positions. He participated in three campaigns, and all his clients were successful, he says. But advertising was not his cup of tea, so he took a break when he was in his fourth year at Daystar in 2010.
Breakthrough into Team Uhuru In 2010, during his study break, a friend introduced Mugo to Mr Johnson Sakaja â€“ The National Alliance Party of Kenya’s national chairman.
He was interviewed and picked as a video editor. Mr Sakaja was then building the foundations of Team Uhuru by slowly putting a team together. When Mugo joined in 2010, there was not much video editing work, so he focused on design work.
Mugo has left his mark in Kenyan history with two designs. The first was the TNA logo, and the second, the Kenya @50 logo that is being used to mark the country’s 50 years of independence.
“Ninety-eight per cent of the design work done by TNA was my handiwork,” Mugo says.
He also did design work and branding for other member parties of the Jubilee coalition.
After going through several designs, TNA had settled on an eagle for its logo. But after a weekend of debate, the eagle was ditched in favour of a dove.
“The eagle was shot down because in most Kenyan villages, the bird is perceived negatively because of its swooping theft of chicks,” Mugo says.
The Kenya @50 logo also went through about 15 drafts before the final one was accepted.
Team Uhuru had started designs of the logo a few months before the elections, an indication of the level of confidence they had of victory.
“The lion on the logo symbolises Kenya’s place in the region; we are the top dog.”
When the logo was first unveiled, it received a lot of negative reviews, especially on social media. “But I challenged those [detractors] to show me better designs. No one did. There were all sorts of people claiming that they are the ones who did that design, but I feel it is now time I came out.”
“It should not just be design for the sake of designing but for a bigger purpose. I want to set new standards as to how the Government does design.”
His work with Team Uhuru has opened other doors. “I have won every single pitch I have made because of my portfolio. People have high expectations when they hear I did the designs for the TNA and Kenya@50 logos.
“Being involved in the campaign and building such a portfolio has made things easier. It is not about the degree or the papers, it is about the portfolio.”
Mugo says he is chasing four major deals this year, though he cannot disclose them because he has signed non-disclosure agreements. He still maintains President Kenyatta as a client.
How elections changed his fortunes:
Pay is a sensitive subject, but Mugo estimates that they were paid between Sh300,000 to Sh400,000 per month. He was able to save about Sh1.5 million from his salary.
That money has helped him start his design business, Numidia Interactive. His aim is to dominate the interactive media space, with a focus on developing video and computer games that tell the African story. He also sees an opportunity to develop strategic communications for the Government.
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