The Star (Nairobi)

7 January 2013

Kenya: Uhuru to Spend Sh10 Billion in Campaign

The Jubilee Coalition will spend an estimated Sh10 billion in campaigns aimed at propelling Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta's presidential bid.

Last week, Uhuru's TNA acquired 10 branded four-wheel-drive vehicles at an estimated cost of Sh30 million. The vehicles painted red with Uhuru's name on the side are to be used to transport TNA staff during rallies and roadshows.

Late last year, Uhuru's running mate William Ruto of URP acquired five four-wheel-drive vehicles and bought a chopper. The two Jubilee leaders now have four choppers at their disposal -- two of which they own and the other two hired by the Uhuru campaign on an as needed basis.

Research shows that a helicopter costs between Sh500 million and Sh1 billion depending on manufacturer, size and age. Currently, chopper service providers are charging between Sh150,000 and Sh200,000 for every hour spent airborne.

Jubilee insiders, and especially those from Uhuru's side, estimate that the largest portion of his campaign budget will be spent on rallies and publicity.

This month alone, the Jubilee campaign is set to spend almost Sh300 million on three events in Nairobi. They are planning a launch of the coalition this Saturday at Kasarani; a presidential campaign launch; and a manifesto launch.

When the URP-TNA pact was unveiled at Afraha, Nakuru last month, insiders revealed they had prepared a budget of Sh25 million but it shot up to Sh30 million. During the recent delegates conference to endorse Uhuru, the coalition spent more than Sh50 million, a large portion being delegates' fees.

Some have now revealed to the Star that at least Sh3 billion has been set aside to cover political rallies and meet-the-people tours for their candidates.

Strategists within the coalition yesterday said Uhuru and Ruto will this week start daily house-to-house tours and town hall meetings to sell their agenda to the voters.

Mid this month, the Jubilee team is also planning to kick off a series of media campaigns on radio, TV and newspapers to explain their policies. These campaigns will also be complimented by 100 billboards at entry and exit points of all major towns.

It is estimated that the TV adverts to be run on three stations, on average three times a day, will cost at least Sh15 million. A 30 second spot on TV costs between Sh40,000 and Sh45,000.

The billboards will cost an estimated Sh10 million as service providers are currently charging an average of Sh100,000 per billboard per month.

Other than their individual party and campaign secretariats, Uhuru and Ruto are putting together a joint secretariat to be unveiled this week.

The secretariat, whose first task will be to harmonise the URP and TNA and their affiliates' manifestos, will be housed at the offices that were used by PNU, which has since joined up with TNA.

The different campaign secretariats have been spending tens of millions of shillings a month for operations and recurrent expenditure including salaries.

A large number of their expenditure has also been for facilitation especially to supporters mobilised to attend rallies and other meetings.

This year's election is expected to be the most expensive especially for the leading presidential contenders and their parties. The Constitution requires that a presidential nominee collects 2,000 signatures from 24 counties.

On the actual election day, a presidential candidate may incur up to Sh100 million to cover fees and logistics for agents to ensure that all the 40,000 polling centres are covered.

In the 2007 elections, President Kibaki's PNU is reported to have spent Sh390 million on party agents. A survey by the Coalition for Accountable Political Financing, a Nairobi-based think tank, estimated that the leading presidential candidates in the 2007 poll, President Kibaki (PNU) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga (ODM) spent close to Sh6 billion.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and his Wiper party (then ODM-K), who came in third in the race, spent Sh157 million. And this is money that, according to the study, was traceable.

The Campaign Finance Bill, which intends to bridge the funding gap among political parties, curb corruption, limit the influence of special interests, limit the impact of money on the outcome of elections and force parties to be accountable to members, has stalled in Parliament since it was published in November.

The Elections Act has banned candidates from raising money from foreigners and imposed a maximum limit of Sh5 million that a single donor can contribute.

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