The National Super Alliance (NASA) could be facing a financial c****s that has made it fail to unveil branded merchandise and vehicles bearing the names of its presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka less than four weeks to the General Election.
There are also no ‘Raila for President’ billboards, which might be a sign that the coalition is running out of cash.
The move could also be as a result of the tightening of the flow of funds from abroad especially via non-governmental organisations that have historically been known to side with the Opposition.
The financial sector is also under a close watch after the National Youth Service s*****l with customers now required to state reasons why they need to withdraw over Sh1 million in cash rather than transfer it through electronic means.
However, according to Salim Lone, Raila’s advisor, the lack of the branding is due to priority. The coalition’s top concern is securing the votes in the elections. They have invested in hiring and training agents on guarding the votes and ensuring that the votes are not stolen.
He argues that Nasa supporters will soon see Nasa’s campaign muscle when it deploys resources to protect its vote.
“You will be seeing that very soon. We are coming to the stage where we will be comfortable and can deploy those resources,” Lone told The Standard.
Unlike the Jubilee Party, which held a fundraising dinner at which it managed to collect over Sh1 billion in just two hours, the Nasa coalition is heavily relying on the supporters’ good will to contribute to the funding of the campaigns which up to now has not been well coordinated.
It also evident that Nasa is yet to employ the use of the media – both electronic and print – to run their advertisements, unlike their Jubilee counterparts who run their achievements adverts in the major dailies and stations in the country. They have also failed to effectively use the social media as they do not run sponsored posts.
It is in the public domain, that in order to neutralise the money-fired Jubilee coalition, Nasa must spend to get to people and to conduct their campaigns therefore the lack of the branding can only boil down to one thing, which is lack of enough funds.
But Nasa secretariat head Norman Magaya says: “The lack of campaign material is strategic for us since we don’t want to appear like we lure supporters with free caps or T shirts to attend our rallies.”
Presidential campaigns can cost upwards of Sh5 billion though both President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila are believed to have spend much more.
Raila, then running on a Cord ticket, however, faced a similar hitch after merchandise ordered from China arrived after the elections.