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WHY JUBILEE WANTS TO WIN IN ROUND ONE

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY OLIVER MATHENGE AND GIDEON KETER

JUBILEE Coalition presidential flagbearer Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto have put up an elaborate plan to ensure they  win the March 4 general elections in the first round.

Their strategists have taken into consideration the possibility that Jubilee would have an uphill task beating their CORD rival Raila Odinga in a run-off especially if supporters of the Amani presidential candidate Musalia Mudavadi does not support them.

Uhuru and Ruto, while on the campaign trail this week, have been asking the electorate and particularly those in their strongholds to come out in large numbers to vote and hopefully give them the majority votes in these areas.

Their strategists have in recent weeks drawn up their first-round win  “formula” that will enable Uhuru win decisively in the first round. Its this strategy which has been guiding the alliance's campaigns this week as the countdown to the March 4 elections draws to a close.

Last week an opinion poll by Ipsos Synovate showed that Uhuru could beat Raila if elections were held then. However, this would not be a decisive win as the poll conducted then did not show him receiving the required 50 per cent plus one votes.

Uhuru and Ruto would win by 44.8 percent while Raila and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka would get 44.4 percent. Mudavadi would get 5.2 per cent and this could shift the game either way in case of a run-off.

According to the same poll, indications were that if there was to be a run off at that time, the prediction was that Raila would emerge the winner as there was a likelihood of Mudavadi's supporters shifting their support to Raila in the event of a run-off.

The poll also showed that Jubilee has 20 stronghold counties while Cord has 19 strong hold counties. These are the counties where the marginal differences between Uhuru and Raila are over 20 percent.

The constitution says that a presidential winner must receive 25 percent of all the votes cast in each of more than half of the counties. Former Belgut MP Charkes Keter said the strategy adopted by the Jubilee Alliance— to concentrate their efforts in those areas where they consider to give them little support.

“The Ipsos Synovate has put us ahead of our main challenger but we will not rest as if that is a guarantee of winning elections. We are now engaging the final gear to see that we win the elections in the first round,” he said.

He said a special team had been tasked with monitoring the impact that these last minute campaigns are having on the electorate and Uhuru's ratings.

“Our special advisory team of experts from the political parties that form Jubilee coalition is keenly monitoring how we are campaigning and if we are wooing more votes into our basket,” Keter explained.

Other sources said the Jubilee campaign strategy also included complementing the activities of special grassroots committees established in all the counties with the express purpose of urging the electorate to come out and vote for Uhuru. Each of the committees has been tasked with reaching a target number of voters whom they “must work hard to  bring to the Jubilee basket”.

Uhuru's spokesman Munyori Buko said that grassroots committees have also been tasked with ensuring that there is a high turnout of voters in Jubilee coalition strongholds.

“The team that was responsible in ensuring that there were high voter registrations in TNA strongholds has now been merged with those of partner parties in each county to ensure they marshal our supporters so that they all turn out and vote in large numbers,” he said.

“The issues that our presidential candidate and his running mate have been presenting to Kenyans are realistic and achievable. They can transform the lives of our people and that is the reason why many people have embraced the candidature of Uhuru. We want them to turn out in large numbers so that this dream of transformation is achieved,” he said.

Jubilee is also approaching church leaders, village elders and respected opinion leaders to prevail on Jubilee supports to boycott drinking at least two days before the general elections.