President Kenyatta has enlisted a team of wealthy businessmen, professionals and government officials to drive his re-election campaign in regions perceived to be Nasa strongholds.
Members of this team have been specifically deployed to their home regions, mainly in Kisii, Nyamira, Narok, Kilgoris, Makueni, Kitui, Machakos, Kakamega and West Pokot, to sell President Kenyatta’s re-election bid.
By recruiting the new team, Mr Kenyatta’s handlers are trying to avoid the pitfalls of using political brokers who have previously used the opportunity to serve their own selfish interests instead of delivering votes.
The President has also tasked Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and parastatal chiefs appointed by his administration to penetrate the opposition strongholds. So integral is the input of the civil servants that State House defended them, saying they were free to market the President.
“They are not campaigning. They are describing the investments under President Kenyatta and the impact thereof, and why it is important for the President to be re-elected to continue with the task of transforming Kenya,” State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said.
“For us, it is really a question of accountability. It is precisely because public officers are speaking more that the country acknowledges that Kenya is irreversibly transforming,” he added.
During a tour of Narok county, President Kenyatta paraded his team of campaigners and urged members of the Maasai community to listen to them.
The team, referred to as “Maasai Professionals”, included Geothermal Development Company chief executive Johnson ole Nchoe, Kenya Water Towers Agency Director-General Francis ole Nkako, National Transport and Safety Authority Director-General Francis ole Meja, Ewaso Ngiro South Development Authority board chairman Seleila Ole Mwanik, the chairman of the Private Security Regulatory Authority Amos Ntimama, former National chairman for people living with disabilities Dr David Ole Sankok, Nema board of management chairman John Konchellah and Joseph Narikae of the Central Bank of Kenya.
Also paraded were Principal Secretaries Charles Sunkuli and Saitoti Torome.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr Nchoe said they did not understand why the Maasai were still entertaining the Opposition despite President Kenyatta rewarding the community by appointing their sons to key government positions.
VOTE FOR GOVERNMENT
“The President has today commissioned the Narok-Sikinani Road, the Kisiriri-Mau Narok Road is under way, we have water, many of our children are being employed, this is a sign that we must vote for this government,” said Mr Nchoe.
“You need to be closer to this government of Uhuru. This is a government that has love for the Maasai at heart, we have more than 142 state appointments from the time President Kenyatta took over,” he added.
In Ukambani, President Kenyatta has enlisted the services of tycoon Peter Muthoka, former military chief Jeremiah Kianga, businessman Isaac Kalua, former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission boss Mumo Matemu and prominent lawyer Musili Wambua to drive his campaign alongside Jubilee leaning politicians from the region.
“Our task is simple: To chart the way forward and to ensure that our community is in government in 2017. We are working with the local MPs and we are confident that President Kenyatta will get most of the votes in the region,” Mr Muthoka told the Nation after meeting Ukambani MPs on Tuesday.
Mr Muthoka, a former board chairman of CMC Motors who hails from Machakos County, is widely known for his controversial role as top shareholder of the automobile dealer which saw him ousted in 2011 and subsequently banned by Capital Markets Authority from sitting on boards of listed firms.
Prof Musili and Mr Kalua are driving the campaigns in their native Kitui County.
Prof Wambua is a long-time close ally and legal partner of Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, with whom they founded a law firm – Musyoka and Wambua Advocates – in the 1980s.
On the other hand, Dr Kalua has been on Mr Kenyatta’s side since his 2002 first presidential bid and has been the chairman of Kenya Water Towers Agency since the last days of President Kibaki’s regime.
Dr Kalua confirmed the existence of a team of top Kamba professionals and businessmen working behind the scenes to bolster efforts by Jubilee elected leaders and aspirants for various seats in campaigning for the President.
“Yes, there is a team that is very neutral and which is removed from internal political competition because we are not interested in elective seats and therefore can advise objectively and correctly on the dynamics on the ground,” Dr Kalua told the Sunday Nation in an interview.
Nairobi businessman Sam Muumbi, who has interests in real estate and banking sectors, is another big name from the corporate world behind the President’s campaign.
Mr Muumbi, who chaired the board of the collapsed Daima Bank, has been the chairman of the Kamba Council of Elders and, like General Kianga, comes from Makueni County. Mr Matemu is also part of the team expected to take care of Machakos County.
In Kisii and Nyamira counties, the President is said to have enlisted the services of Bishop Okemwa Mairura, former banker John Simba, CBK chairman Mohammed Nyaoga, Kenya Bureau of Standards boss Charles Ongwae and former ambassador Ken Osinde.
Others are former Lands Commissioner Zablon Mabea, National Youth Fund boss Josiah Moriasi, Kisii University Vice-Chancellor John Akama and lawyers Ken Ogeto and Gerishon Otachi.
During his last visit to Kisii County, President Kenyatta was accompanied by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Principal Secretary Susan Mochache, Prof Akama, Mr Moriasi, Mr Ndemo and Mr Ongwae.
At all the stops he made in both Nyamira and Kisii counties, the civil servants were paraded before the public as evidence of Jubilee’s commitment to sharing power among members of the Gusii community.
“Even though you rejected our appeals for your votes on 2013, I decided to work with you and appoint your sons and daughters to high positions in our government so that our development agenda in this region could move forward,” said President Kenyatta at Magombo, Nyamira County.
“We even gave your son Justice David Maraga the CJ seat because we believe in your potential as one of the communities we can work with. After all these positions we have given you, can anyone here say Jubilee does not care about the Gusii community?” Kenyatta asked the crowd.
In West Pokot, Ministry of Information official Dennis Chebitwey has been tasked to galvanise support for Jubilee in the county perceived to lean heavily towards Kanu.
In Western, President Kenyatta is mainly relying on Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Broadcasting and Communications Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere to compliment the efforts of Jubilee leaning MPs from the region including Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani) and Malulu Injendi (Malava).
Speaking in Ikolomani constituency where he hails from last month, Mr Itemere asked the Idakho community to support President Kenyatta’s re-election.
Reports by Patrick Langat, George Sayagie, Aggrey Omboki, Kitavi Mutua and Benson Amadala.