Every election cycle, politicians splash billions of shillings in their campaigns as they traverse different regions in search of the elusive votes. Presidential aspirants are always the biggest spenders followed by gubernatorial and senatorial hopefuls.
From hiring helicopters to fuel guzzlers, sound systems, to contracting performing artists and cash incentives to woo the masses, the politicians go out of their ways to endear themselves to the constituents.
The August 9 General Election will be the most contested poll in the country’s history, with several aspirants already positioning themselves to take over from President Uhuru Kenyatta when he retires. Among those eyeing the country’s top job is Deputy President William Ruto of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
The two, who are seen as the top contenders, are planning, strategising and executing innovative moves to counter each other’s dominance and influence across the country.
Each aspirant has a carefully selected and assembled Presidential Campaigns Secretariat that is mandated to oversee the whole campaign. Before delving into the structures of each, here is the composition of the top two.
The second-in-command’s secretariat is composed of top leaders including Omingo Magara who is the UDA’s national treasurer, Karisa Munyika is the national organising secretary, Seth Panyako is the deputy chairperson in charge of programmes and Nicholas Marete is the deputy chairperson in charge of strategy.
Kirwa Rono is the deputy chairperson in charge of operations, while Mohamed Sahal is the deputy secretary-general in charge of operations. Former Raila Odinga presidential campaign strategist Eliud Owalo is the deputy secretary-general in charge of strategy, while Daniel ole Sambu is deputy secretary-general in charge of programmes.
In the communications team, Dennis Itumbi is the public communications and digital strategist, Emmanuel Talam the director of communication in the Office of the Deputy President, former Citizen TV anchor Hussein Mohamed the head of communications in the William Ruto Presidential Campaign Secretariat, and Wanjohi Githae the head of communications at UDA.
Other positions include policy and strategy and legal affairs.
The former Prime Minister, who doubles up as the Africa Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development, has assembled a powerful team comprising of Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Murithi as the chairperson, Elizabeth Meyo as CEO of the Raila Odinga Presidential Campaign Secretariat.
Others are Governors Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru), James Ongwae (Kisii), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and Hassan Joho (Mombasa), anti-graft crusader John Githongo and Suna East Member of Parliament, Junet Mohamed.
Both teams comprise proven leaders in governance and strategy and a mixture of technocrats and politicians.