The county commissioners and other national administration officers have been tasked to collect views on its three years in office, to help plan its reelection in 2017 by the Jubilee administration .
Although the project is officially described as a government performance and coordination review, those in the know say it is part of Jubilee’s campaign strategy.
The civil servants ,county commissioners, their deputies, assistant county commissioners, chiefs and assistant chiefs are gathering data to help the government measure perception of its successes and identify problems it can quickly address countrywide.
“We are not leaving anything to chance. There are reports of growing apathy among Jubilee supporters and we must uproot this before the elections,” a senior Jubilee government official told the Star in confidence. “In addition, we need to know what the people want to hear. A reelection is very different and we cannot run it the same way we did in the last election.”
civil servants started fanning out across the country in early November and will present their findings in early December to President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto.
The project is run from the Office of the President in Harambee House and coordinated by county commissioners under the Interior ministry.
Government sources reveal the officers will measure perceptions of Uhuru’s popularity, especially in opposition zones.
In particular, the presidency is focussed on what negative perceptions of the administration are held by Jubilee supporters. This will help strategists map their campaign structure to cover both strongholds and opposition areas.
The survey will identify hot spots where the government should deploy more security resources in case of pre- or post-election violence.
The project will review the issuing of national IDs essential to obtain voter’s cards especially on Jubilee turf. This will help the government measure the number of new ID holders and ensure they register to vote.
The opposition previously has accused the government of using the provincial administration to sway voter registration by concentrating new IDs in Jubilee zones.
The survey will be used to revise the Jubilee Party manifesto. Administration officers will map focus areas of focus for the recently named presidential campaign teams.
The project is said to have started in opposition strongholds to measure Jubilee’s inroads.
Uhuru and Ruto are on a mission to gain support, or at least reduce hostility, in opposition strongholds, especially South Nyanza, Western and the Coast.
The national government administration office is responsible for coordinating government functions in the devolved system.
It was established by Section 15 of the National Government Coordination Act of 2013.
Officers are to oversee implementation of national development projects, counter insecurity and help during disasters.
They also manage assets, inventory, planning, peace-building initiatives, coordination and organising government functions and perform other duties assigned by the Interior ministry.
Majority Leader Aden Duale, nominated MP Johnson Sakaja and Kasarani MP John Njoroge yesterday defended the use of civil servants paid by the taxpayer to gauge government performance.
“They represent the face of the national government. They do monitoring and evaluation of national government projects. They are in charge of security and so they work for the national government,” Duale said.
He added, “It is their business to propagate policies and achievements of the national government and that national government happens to be the Jubilee government.”
According to the two Jubilee leaders, the officers work for the government of the day and should be part and parcel of its determination to deliver services.
“County commissioners and others in that structure must measure the performance of government. I would be very worried if they are not doing so. A government implements a party’s manifesto. Only the party leaves once a new one takes over, but the structures remain,” Sakaja said.
He said Jubilee is focussed on delivering to all Kenyans and must be able to measure effectiveness.
Njoroge said, “It is true we are reaching out to the last man at the grassroots, not through the provincial administration. We have our own structures including lobby groups we will unveil by December.”
“Nobody should be scared of our machinery. Jubilee is past those old tactics. The national administration is not the IEBC. That must be very clear because elections will be overseen by an independent body,” he said.
This is not the first time such a project has been carried out.
Ahead of the 2007 elections, the Internal Security ministry launched a similar survey, which lead to panic after it showed President Mwai Kibaki was trailing the opposition.
Kibaki went on to win, controversially, and protests by the opposition led to the deaths of 1,650 people and displacement of 600,000 others.
The presidency wants to win decisively in the first round. Revelations of project come only days after the Star reported State House has embarked on research to measure the popularity of the six summits it has hosted to showcase Jubilee projects.
Last Sunday the Star obtained a summary report on the first summits by media analytics company Reelforge contracted by the Presidency.
State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the summits allow the President’s communications team to focus the country on sectors where the state has made specific investments.
The PR analysis evaluates ‘Transforming Kenya’ publicity in mainstream media between January and September.
It says, “A total of 426 Transforming Kenya-related media reports were captured in 47 radio stations, 11 TV channels and 10 publications during the reviewed period. The Health Summit n September at State House was the most covered Transforming Kenya-related topic during this period,” the report says.