How UhuRuto turned Raila’s ’10 Million Strong’ into ’45 Million Together’, and won

They painted NASA as a coalition that excluded parts of the Kenyan population and Jubilee was focused on uniting all Kenyans.

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Uhuru Kenyatta_Bomas_William Ruto
President Uhuru Kenyatta celebrates with Deputy President William Ruto after he was announced winner of the presidential election at the IEBC National Tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya. /REUTERS

With a second term at stake, President Uhuru Kenyatta pulled one of the most well oiled and elaborate campaigns amid an onslaught by the Opposition.

Zipo.co.ke has established that within the official campaign period from May 28 to August 5, the Jubilee Party team held 500 meet-ups with residents of all the 47 counties as they sought votes.

Raila Odinga
NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga with his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka during their rally in Kibera, Nairobi, on July 18, 2017. PHOTO: ENOS TECHE/THE STAR

Uhuru and his number two William Ruto were on a do-or-die mission in the high-stakes polls, they were out to make sure their campaign message reached every corner of the country.

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Unlike their previous bid (2013), the Jubilee Party didn’t waste time responding to its competitors and instead concentrated on its reelection message.

Jubilee crafted a two-pronged campaign narrative that was meant to remind and enlighten Kenya in their reelection bid. “We have delivered” and “We have a plan” were the messages.

Uhuru put together a messaging team that also ensured it turned some of the Nasa’s punchlines into Jubilee tools.

Case in point is when the National Super Alliance (NASA) came up with the “10 Million Strong” slogan to mean they had already bagged enough votes to win the elections. Jubilee came up with “45 Million Together”.

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NASA_10 million strong
ODM delegates in Kasarani on May 5, 2017. PHOTO: TWITTER

The main message being passed by Jubilee is that the Opposition was excluding parts of the Kenyan population unlike Jubilee whose goal was to unite all Kenyans.

Another trick used by Uhuru’s campaign team was to ensure that the President got at least five to 10 per cent more suport in Nasa strongholds and perceived swing counties.

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That led to improved numbers at the Coast, Northern Kenya, Lower Nyanza and Western Kenya.

Previously Opposition zones, Jubilee Party has managed to capture a majority of seats in Northern Kenya and eight Members of Parliament in Western Kenya.

Uhuru Kenyatta_plan
Jubilee supporters hold ‘Uhuru ako na plan’ placards at a past rally. /TWITTER

In the end, Uhuru Kenyatta managed to boost his 50 per cent support across the country to 54 per cent. Final tally by IEBC shows the incumbent collected 8,203,290 votes while his arch rival Raila Odinga managed 6,762,224 (44%).