The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Cord Team to Spend Sh13 Billion in Election

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his CORD coalition plans to spent Sh13 billion between now and March 4 when the general elections will be held.

The money was raised in the last one year from what the Raila campaign team describes as 'well wishers.'

"Half of this money is in kind and the cash is coming in tranches from the coalition's friends," said a senior ODM official who has worked closely for the PM in the last four years.

According to the budget seen by the Star, the CORD coalition will spend Sh8.2 billion on logistics, Sh2 billion on merchandise and other accessories and the balance has been allocated to the campaign headquarters for activities to be decided by next week.

The Jubilee Coalition on its part is planning to spend an estimated Sh10 billion in campaigns aimed at propelling Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta into State House. Jubilee has since said the figure is an exaggeration.

For the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD), the Star established that it has already acquired three helicopters that will be used by the coalition's principals during the campaigns.

Two of these acquisitions will be at the disposal of Prime Minister Raila Odinga who is Cord's presidential candidate.

This is in addition to the helicopter that he has been using to shuttle across the country campaigning. Vice president Kalonzo Musyoka will each have a chopper at their disposal.

It is not clear whether they will be using different aircraft when attending similar rallies, but the acquisitions gives them an edge in covering lengthy distances at a short time.

According to a source within the coalition who did not want his identity revealed, the aircraft will solidify the principals' reach in every corner of the country.

"The time is very limited to be able reach every part of the country without the choppers. It is necessary that each of the principals is adequately enhanced to compete with our rivals," said the source.

The source revealed that the choppers had been ordered even before the coalition was formed. "It is just a coincidence that the delivery came in time for the coalition's top leadership," the source said.

Other sources said the coalition had also set up a budget committee to funnel the funds where they are needed most.

The three coalition parties--ODM, Wiper Democratic Movement and Ford Kenya-- will pool their resources together in the enhanced budget. The three parties came together on the 4th of December 2012 in line with the Political Parties Act 2011.

Apart from the choppers, the coalition has also acquired about 74 Land Cruiser vehicles. Several of these vehicles which are already branded with Cord colors and Raila's name as the coalition's presidential candidate have already arrived and been deployed to different counties while the rest are awaiting delivery.

"You are yet to see more. The vehicles were acquired by the ODM budget but they will be distributed across the membership of the Cord executive board," said another source.

There is also a plan to properly fund the various lobby groups in the Cord family during the campaigns. Information available indicates that every team from the county level to the smallest region within the county will have vehicles in addition to motor- bicycles.

Apart from the equipment employed in the campaign, the Cord family is also using social media to try and get its message across.

"We currently have close to ten million mobile subscribers to the Cord network," said Friends of Raila (FORA) CEO George Nyongesa.

The more than 200 lobby groups under the Cord banner will further champion the campaign message.

ODM has set up an ODM inter- lobby groups (OIL) chaired by Jaoko Oburu, WDM has the Wiper Ambassadors under the leadership of Francis Mwangangi and Ford Kenya youth league led by Benson Wokoli.

For easy coordination, the groups will be under the Cord Inter- lobby groups (COIL).

"The groups are adequately funded to ensure that the message is driven home on time. The job has to be done and must be done well with up to date resources and transport," said Nyongesa.

He said county coordination groups are required to identify interested groups such as women and youth groups, football teams and churches.

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