I have observed that many people start their campaigns without a concrete idea of how they will win the elections. Most assume that just because they belong to a popular party, they will emerge winners. How to win an election is the in thing in any campaign and this must be your starting point.
There are some counties, sub-counties, and wards where the nominations are the most important. In such places, once you get nominated, victory is assured. It is no wonder the nominations are a do-or-die affair in some quarters.
We all know areas where irrespective of how good you are if you don’t join a certain party then you cannot win. If you are from such an area you may need to join the dominant party to win the elections. This is the norm for most elections. Unfortunately, if nominations are bungled, the electorate will end up getting non-performers as leaders.
If you belong in an area where there are two or three strong parties, then you need to change your strategy to win. If all voters and not party members are allowed to vote in the nominations, your competitors may participate in another party’s nomination and nominate a weaker candidate. There is, therefore, a need to change your strategy to your advantage to win the elections.
To win in elections, you need to know your competitors well. Are you running against an incumbent, someone who has run before, or a first runner? Depending on whom you are running against, look at any events that are likely to change the elections in your favor.
Capitalize on what the incumbent has not done or done badly. If the incumbent has performed well, raise the bar higher by selling your manifesto. Let the electorate know what you will do for them better than the incumbent. If possible join the dominant party of the area.
The other important thing you must do is to have a written campaign plan. The plan must clearly enumerate how you will win the election. This must be based on evidence, not guesswork, conjecture, labrish, or rumors.
One of the best resources in a campaign is enthusiasm. This can easily overcome the lack of financial resources. The enthusiasm of a candidate can be “caught” by the electorate and this is a good marketing strategy. You will however require financial resources to win.
To win you must focus on organizing and planning your campaign. Ensure you talk with your voters continuously. Get volunteers to participate in your campaigns. This is a demonstration that you have grassroots support. Decide the avenues to use for your campaigns.
Whatever medium you decide to use, ensure it is appealing to your voters. If you decide to use online and social media campaigns, ensure there is coherence in your communication.
Understand your electorate and tell them what they want to hear, after all, you are running to win. Sing and dance if you must, work the crowd and keep them in high spirits. Be a gentleman and issue-based if the electorate wants it that way. In other words, be adaptable and flexible to win.
What about Azimio vs Kenya Kwanza presidential candidates? Who will win the elections? Is it too early to tell or it is over? Will the running mate affect the winning formulae? Who do you think will win and why? Are we likely to see more defections after nominations? Leave us a comment.
Dr. Mary Mugo
Strategy, Governance and Management Consultant