CORD’S TACTICAL MESSAGING FAUX PAS
By Jackson Omondi
It’s hard enough to rally beleaguered troops around a cause, but to suddenly order a gelling team to stand down midstream is a political messaging blunder that may take a miracle to revive.
The IEBC protesters were within striking distance, the county surrogates were in sync with the national apparatus, the reform crusaders were on message and the government was on the verge of giving in to pressure.
And then the drivers, inexplicably, stepped on the breaks much to the chagrin of those who bore the brunt of the state machinery! The government, in a desperate move, resorted to killing and beating the socks out of everyone in sight. And when that didn’t work, they went Hollywood on Kenyans by parading supposedly “battered” cops in full view of the press.
The fact that a presidential communique was disseminated with the ‘C-word’ (coupe’)in it, is a clear indication that the government was in panic mode. How on earth can a government that proudly saturates all law enforcement units and the country’s defense forces with one tribe be so scared of a coalition led by individuals whose security details are at its beck and call?
It’s also a matter of public knowledge that CORD leaders, repeatedly contend with withdrawal of security detail assigned to them. It’s therefore hard to fathom that a coalition thus beleaguered, is capable of pulling off a coupe d’etat.
This simply means that the government’s political operatives had no answer to what they were confronting on a weekly basis and decided to mine a good old strategy of engaging in ethnic-bating.
They knew that their supporters largely come from one community and if they talked about an alleged coupe, guess which community will feel threatened and buy into the notion that ‘their’ government is about to be overthrown and then to a man, rally behind it?
The initial GEMA business outfit initiative that weighed in on the protests fell flat because it appeared deliberate and overtly tribal. Talking about a potential coupe’ ostensibly puts the ‘government’ at risk and gets instant sympathy from its supporters.
And that is why the order to cancel the protests was a major blunder. You don’t have to be Einstein to predict the outcome of the so called dialogue because Jubilee has never attempted to talk to CORD about any issue. There is simply no precedent to go by. At least Moi allowed dialogue and IPPG was born. Kibaki, on occasion, allowed dialogue on some issues of national significance. Jubilee has always used the belaboured tyranny of numbers as a political scarecrow and they are not about to ‘fix’ what they deem to be perfectly functional.
By stopping the protests a few strides away from crescendo, CORD has given Jubilee much needed relief and more time to plot more political manoeuvres aimed at ducking real reforms.
And it came at a hefty price by way of human lives, crippling injuries and a demoralized rank and file who will need divine intervention to even think about reigniting the lost mojo. Need proof? Just log on to Facebook.