By Dorcas Sarkozy
In matters campaigns, the most curious, disciplined, calculating and smart teams carry the day. Campaigns are battles that pit sides offering different agenda that each camp believes to be what the doctor ordered for the electorate and in the Kenyan context thus far, we have been treated to a mixed bag of empty rhetoric and breathtaking grandstanding on both sides.
Since the government appears to be winning the message battle despite presiding over obvious failures in almost all spheres of governance, I hereby prescribe a way forward for the opposition. And it’s very simple: destroy and rebuild!
Jubilee’s incompetence is palpable in a quotidian manner. From the humiliating and record breaking mishandling of the teachers issue to the fledgling economy, this government is on a steady losing streak that were it not for the ethnic bouyancy that the adminstration derives from the gullible members in the legislature, this adminstration would’ve been shipped out of town eons ago! But CORD must rearrange its apparatus on order to compete and expose the glaring snafus that this adminstration is laying on a daily basis.
From the prosaic to the profound issues, Jubilee has one solution: call a press conference and let Aden Duale and other bloviators taunt and tear into RAO and CORD! The good news for Jubilee is that whenever Duale or Kithure Kindiki get near a microphone, they decimate CORD and its principals in a manner that resonates with the masses who promptly take the cue and forget about their real problems.
CORD’s response? Either none existent or downright feeble and barely rates a mention! This is why I suggest that CORD must pick new and proven orators whose verbal versatility and diction is unique and retail politics material. But in doing so, CORD must furnish them with carefully chosen, focus group tested talking points and fortunately for CORD, Jubilee is working overtime screwing the country’s resources in such a way that most talking points will not need polling. Its a case of ‘res ipsa loquitor.’
Its time to replace the entire ODM press shop and recruit new talent with political messaging discipline, temperament and great political instincts that can respond to Jubilee and its hirelings’ onslaught in a professional manner. It was embarrassing to see the man who served as ODM spokesman ‘respond’ to a Jubilee blogger’s attack on ODM by claiming that he is a better dresser than the Jubilee Trojan horse!
ODM’s Secretary General is a gifted politician but his personal misfortunes are now interfering with party or coalition affairs. As a key figure in ODM, Ababu seems to be missing in action in a lot of key ODM meetings and that speaks volumes for a guy trusted to run party affairs.
ODM is the largest party in Kenya and there is no way one can claim to run it by proxy or in absentia. That’s just too risky and paints a grey portrait in the party. Allegations of hanging with the man that your party is trying to defeat is tantamount to hanging with the opposing team’s head coach ahead of a championship match! I don’t have to tell you that your team mates will not touch you with a ten foot pole.
His replacement as a key CORD mouthpiece, in my view, easily becomes the Senator from Mombasa Hassan Omar. Hassan has the wherewithal and the chops to take on anyone in Jubilee including the President. Political junkies will note that whenever Senator Omar talks no single Jubilee politician ever comes up to challenge him.
There is a good reason for that. The now controversial Senator Muthama is another poignant piece of CORD’s communication outfit. Whenever he speaks, people listen. CORD must learn to use him on the stump but this time give him talking points so that he doesn’t go off script and bastardize the entire message like he did at the Teachers rally.
A polished Muthama, armed with data on Jubilee’s poor economic record, teachers strike, back breaking taxes, failed foreign policy, blatant tribalism and corruption can be a political torture chamber to Jubilee. Imagine how much he can ‘toboa’ given that kind of data with his unique but effective delivery style?
CORD can use gifted Governors like Hassan Joho to articulate managerial challenges obtaining in their various jurisdictions. Joho can be the decisive answer to the PR hungry Alfred Mutua because he has real results to show for as opposed to the Jubilee graduate Mutua whose main aim is now clear to all. It’s therefore not surprising that Governor Mutua sees no challenges as Governor of Machakos because his masters are busy cushioning him to portray strength despite the glaring failures in Machakos.
Jubilee’s failures have presented CORD with so many low hanging fruits that must be plucked but it will take steady, decisive and feisty leaders to help CORD handle their relentless PR that is undoubtedly aimed at covering colossal failures.
RAO, Wetangula and Musyoka are either too soft or too diplomatic to hang with Jubilee in this game of spouting fire and to be honest, why would RAO, Wetangula or Kalonzo be the ones responding to Kindiki or Duale? A would-be President cannot be an equal to a house majority leader.
It doesn’t work like that. By the way, there is a reason why Duale and Kindiki always find a microphone to unload: they are good at what they do! CORD must respond in kind.
Lastly, Raila Odinga must reestablish the presidential mystique that he used to possess. He should not be available at every press conference, every funeral, fundraiser or be the one to pick on Cabinet Secretaries. That job should be delegated to a legislator or a marquee coalition spokesman armed with all the Intel to litigate the issue. The Waiguru saga is a case where Odinga should have trained his arsenal squarely on UK and painted the issue as an Uhuru issue.
But now that Waiguru is suing Odinga, the case will lose significant weight just because RAO is involved and certainly, the lost money will not feature at all because it will be about a woman suing a man! Its time to build an effective team of superstar communicators who can shoot down Jubilee’s PR machine, a machine that has enabled them to get away with everything and if this continues, CORD will end up with short end of the stick. Don’t blow this chance folks! Its all here for you. Go for it.