Voter turnout key in 2017

An Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) agent demonstrates the use of newly acquired Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kit at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Nairobi on November 6, 2012./FILE
An Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) agent demonstrates the use of newly acquired Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kit at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Nairobi on November 6, 2012./FILE

The next general election will be won on voter

turnout; period.

This was the reason why I was concerned

when the idea of a merger of all Jubilee affiliated

parties was first mooted. My fear was that

it would adversely affect President Uhuru

Kenyatta’s ultimate presidential vote due to

voter apathy, in case of intra-party fights after nominations.

My position was based on how the ODM nominations in

2013 aff ected Raila Odinga’s presidential vote.

He lost over

200,000 voters he had mobilised to vote for him just two

months earlier, because they were angry their preferred

candidates were rigged out during the ODM

nominations and were not on the ballot.

However, when I got the chance to listen

to the President as he explained why a single

Jubilee Party is important, I understood

why he was willing to take this route. The

President and DeputyPresident William Ruto

are determined to have Kenyans stop ethnic

political mobilisation.

Merging the Jubilee

affi liated parties into the Jubilee Party is

their way of passing the message that they do not want to

be supported by ethnic blocs; they want to be backed by

all Kenyans irrespective of their ethnic background.

It is a

powerful message. It is also a direct distinction between

Jubilee and Cord, who are still a conglomerate of ethnic

political mobilisation units. Jubilee is asking Kenyans to

chose between tribalism and unity.

By the way, eradicating ethnic political mobilisation is a

key legacy project for President Uhuru. It is so important to

him that he is risking his presidency by forcing all Jubilee

supporters to vote in one party, while his competitors take

the easier route of mobilising tribe-against-tribe.

Uhuru

has taken the harder route to victory and this is what

positively distinguishes him from the rest.

But for Uhuru to win, the entire Jubilee leadership must

understand his thinking and align their local politics to his

ideology, especially in Jubilee strongholds.

JP leaders must

understand that they have three primary tasks for them to

win in 2017.

One, they must immediately embark on a campaign

to popularise the new party across the country, village by

village. 

They must go out and explain to Kenyans what

Jubilee stands for; that it is a mass movement owned by the

local people wherever they are, and a political home for any

Kenya irrespective of background. They must explain that

the Jubilee Party is being built bottom-up; member-by member,

not top-down.  is is the essence of Uhuru and

Ruto’s message of no preferred candidates.

Two, they must aggressively explain the

achievements of the Jubilee administration in its

first term.The Jubilee Party machine is where

Kenyans get to hear the immense progress made

over the last four years in infrastructure, health,

education, security, etc.

Local Jubilee leaders must

therefore use the party infrastructure primarily

as the platform where these achievements

are articulated in a way that the local people

understand.

Finally, they must aggressively mobilise the people to

register as voters without concern as to whether these

voters will vote for them or their competitors at the local

level. 

The main objective is to get as many as possible to

vote for Uhuru at the national level. 

They must explain to

their supporters that Uhuru’s victory hinges on every single

supporter registering as a voter and getting out to vote,

irrespective of local dynamics.

To all incumbent and aspiring Jubilee politicians, this is

not the time to fight over political party positions at county,

subcounty and ward levels; or to divide party positions

in boardrooms. 

This is the time to recruit massively into

the party, push for voter registration aggressively, and sell

Jubilee achievements articulately.

Whoever does this best at

the local level deserves to get the party ticket .

Meanwhile, welcome to Nyeri President Uhuru Kenyatta.