18 July 2010

Kenya: 'Yes' Team Launches Sh300 Million Media Campaign

Nairobi — The 'Yes' team has launched a Sh300 million media campaign to popularize the proposed constitution as the referendum campaigns enter the home stretch.

In addition, 'Yes' strategists have also launched a digital platform fully equipped with a website, short message services (SMS) system and popular social sites, Facebook and Twitter to further boost its popularity which was put at 62 per cent last week by the Strategic Public relations and research firm against No's 20 per cent.

On Sunday, the spokesman for the 'Yes' camp Moses Kuria said the new strategies were geared towards reaching the widest audience and countering what he termed as "a campaign of lies and misinformation" being conducted by the 'No' camp."Our new approach is mainly targeting young people as well as those who have not read the document and who may fall for the lies being peddled by our rivals, we hope to net at the very least, 80 per cent of the Kenyan voters," he told Nation.

Sources within the 'Yes' camp said the new strategy was the brainchild of a new team of strategists led by former cabinet minister Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, communication expert Salim Lone, media consultant Mundia Muchiri and Mr Kuria.

According to the sources, the new strategies will run alongside and compliment the campaign rallies to ensure that the 'Yes' team has the widest possible presence and counter the 'No' team's campaign machinery which has managed to penetrate virtually every part of the country.

The media offensive, involving prime time television and radio commercials as well as newspaper advertisements are expected to intensify this week, mainly capturing chapters in the proposed constitution that the 'Yes' team believe have been misrepresented to Kenyans by the 'No' camp.

The media blitz will also see leading religious leaders and top professionals supporting the proposed constitution appearing in talk shows on television and radio stations to tackle issues such as abortion and land.

The religious leaders will be seeking to explain that the proposed constitution is not anti-Christian as repeatedly stated by Church leaders opposed to the constitution.

They will also help remove the impression that all Church leaders are opposed to the document by openly speaking in favour of the document during the talk shows on TV and radio stations.

"We want to correct misconceptions being peddled around to de-popularise the document," Mr Kuria explained.

He however denied that the commercials and newspaper advertisements were calculated to malign leading figures in the rival camp.

Alongside the media campaign will be 'Yes' caravans traversing the country and bill boards mounted on major highways.

That the 'Yes' team wants to use professionals to sell its message was evident last week when President Kibaki paraded four permanent secretaries from the Kalenjin community while campaigning for the proposed constitution in Eldoret on Friday.

The PSs included Mark Bor, Nancy Kirui, Edward Sambili and Tirop Kosgey. The 'Yes' team has also managed to mobilize leading professionals and religious leaders from the community to counter the No campaign in the region.

A day earlier, five other Permanent Secretaries from Western province took the campaign for the adoption of the proposed constitution to Busia, taking residents through the document and asking them to vote 'Yes' during the referendum.

The five PSs were Dr Chweya (Office of the Vice President), Beatrice Kituyi (Labour), David Stower (Water), Kenneth Lusaka (Livestock Development) and Andrew Mondoh (Special Programmes).

The 'No' team has complained that the PSs are breaching the Public Officer Ethics Act by openly supporting the document, accusations rubbished by Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo.

Among the religious leaders who have openly supported the adoption of the proposed constitution are former Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) head David Gitari, ACK bishops such as Beneah Salala, Mwai Abiero and outspoken Catholic priest father Ambrose Kimutai.

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