Behind the high-octane political campaigns by both Jubilee Party and NASA are teams of technocrats, financiers and firms keen to ensure their side wins the August 8 presidential poll.
Wealthy lawyers, bank owners, insurance magnates and billionaire businessmen are backing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election bid.
In Uhuru’s camp is Friends of Jubilee Foundation consisting of wealthy individuals from the business community and career civil servants.
Key members of the group include business guru and prominent advocate John PN Simba (chairman), Titus Ibui (secretary), SportPesa architect Paul Ndung’u (treasurer), Equity Bank founder Peter Munga (member), CMC director Joel Kibe (member), business mogul Peter Muthoka (member) and Pius Ngugi (member).
Ngugi is one of the biggest producers of processed macadamia nuts, which are exported to foreign markets.
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Billionaire Chris Kirubi is also playing a sterling role in Uhuru’s campaign machine.
Others charged with the task of resource mobilisation are Mary Wambui Mungai, a business woman with massive interests across Africa, ICT guru and Karachuonyo MP James Rege, Antony Mwaura, an engineer with massive influence in the construction industry, and Mombasa-based billionaire Suleiman Shahbal, who is also Jubilee’s governorship candidate in the county.
Others are Mombasa-based billionaire Sam Kairu, events management guru Maina Wandere of Wonderjoy and his advertising counterpart Stanley Kinyanjui of Magnet Ventures.
These were the people behind the Sh1 million per plate dinner that was organised at Safari Park and raised Sh500 million.
Heading Jubilee’s presidential campaign team are former Gatanga MP David Murathe, Raphael Tuju and Winnie Guchu.
Jubilee’s campaign machine has also roped in Chinese firms, media owners, banks and Mount Kenya Foundation.
In Raila’s camp is billionaire Jimi Wanjigi, who is also credited with brokering NASA’s leadership pact that made Raila the flag bearer and Kalonzo Musyoka his running mate.
Other big names who are said to be supporting NASA’s campaign machinery are Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and his Mombasa counterpart Governor Hassan Joho as well as former Kenya Ports Authority boss Brown Ondego.
The alliance also has a diaspora team made of 12 individuals with an office in the US charged with campaigning for Raila. The team is behind NASA’s Adopt-a-polling-station initiative and is working with Mr Wanjigi to ensure the Opposition’s votes are secured.
The team is mobilising resources in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada, the Gulf states and US. It is co-chaired by George Fred Osewe and Victoria Bett while Joseph Lister Nyaringo is in charge of strategy and media relations.
Raila also has three ICT technicians from the US who are working closely with Ghanaian Nana Busia to man the Opposition’s tallying centre.
Salim Lone, who was the communications manager for Raila in 2007 election, has cut short his three-year sojourn in the US to join the NASA team. He is Raila’s advisor and accompanies him to all key functions.
Former media personality Kathleen Openda is the NASA presidential campaign team’s director communication and press secretary.
The alliance also has David Ndii, who heads the NASA technical team, former Agriculture Permanent Secretary Tirop Kosgey and East African Legislative Assembly member Abubakar Zein.
Others are Willis Otieno, who is heading Raila’s presidential campaign secretariat and is deputised by Olga Karani.
Others are International Commission of Jurists Executive Director George Kegoro, University of Nairobi Political Science lecturer Adams Oloo, Kabarak University’s Faculty of Law Dean Elisha Ongoya and former Mumias Sugar Company chairman Dan Ameyo.
Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama is another key player who has gained access to the inner sanctum of Raila’s power network and is now an assistant to Musalia Mudavadi, who is the chairman of NASA’s National Campaign Committee (Nacaco).
Also in Raila’s team is a 15-member steering committee that has Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, Siaya Senator James Orengo, ODM secretary general Agnes Zani, ODM party director of elections Junet Mohamed (Suna East MP), treasurer Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba MP), and Kajiado Central MP Memusi Kanchori.
Others in the team are Cynthia Mutere, Lawyer Nzamba Kitonga, who chaired the Committee of Experts that drafted the 2010 constitution, Brown Makotsi, Tirop Kosgey, and David Kipyegon Sang.
There is also a team called NASA Champions headed by Moses Oburu, which is training agents who will be monitoring the polling stations.
[Protus Onyango, Rawlings Otieno and Moses Nyamori]