Politics is local – Azimio failed to organize locally

“Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga and Hon. Martha Wangari Karua had a good manifesto, which our team, Azimio La Umoja, failed to sell effectively. The secretariat ignored feedback on how to make the campaign resonate with Kenyans including: withdrawing old men, and people facing criminal charges from our rallies and getting more youthful voices on the campaign stage, and having local leadership at the center stage instead of having one man run the show at all rallies.

Politics is local. Azimio failed to organize locally. We would do rallies and exit immediately with the team we came with. No one remained behind to ensure the message on the ground had taken root.

Azimio had too many self-important people doing zero work; sycophants, the presidential candidate’s family, and incompetent people in critical roles. They behaved as if we had won and failed to carry out their assigned roles diligently. They trashed feedback, ignored messages, and never returned calls. The Kenya Kwanza team capitalized on our hubris, organized better, worked harder, and got the controversial win.

Our team appointed people for their loyalty instead of their professional skills. We trusted incompetent and dishonest people with huge and sensitive responsibilities. We failed to appreciate the goodwill that was offered by many people and failed to bring in expert volunteers. Many of those tasked with huge responsibilities were criminally lazy and failed to match the expectations that we had of them.

The few technocrats in the secretariat were incapacitated due to their fear of speaking the truth lest they fall out of favor with the powers that be. Good ideas didn’t see the light of the day. The best ideas were shelved in favor of those tabled by a few people who were out of touch with reality. Honest feedback was taken as negative criticism and those who offered were ostracised or seen as possible moles while those out-of-touch with realities were the ones whose ideas that were carried.

Teams were made of loyalists and sycophants, not of people who could deliver on the expectation of an overwhelming electoral win. Very few volunteers were deployed at the Bomas tallying centre. We gave Bomas access badges to incompetent sycophants, politicians, and cronies who were there not to guard the vote but to heckle, disrupt, and take selfies to show that they were at the tallying centre. The events that took place at Bomas were nothing short of a tragic comedy of Azimio’s own making.”

This analysis here reproduced was authored and published on his Facebook wall by Mr. Boniface Mwangi, who is a human rights defender based in Nairobi and was a volunteer in the Azimio Presidential Secretariat for Kenya’s 2022 General Elections

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Thank you Mr. Mwangi for your deep and honest analysis of what went wrong; and moreover from the perspective of an insider. I took the liberty of reproducing part of your analysis, in good spirit, so as to tickle, firstly, my fellow Ugandans and secondly, the rest of Africa and the whole world too, where the “winner-takes-it-all” democracy is practiced. I have moved things around a bit to ensure the flow. Any addition of words, is just to ensure grammatically and logically correct connections.

Self-reflection after an election is a good practice that we should all adopt, but sadly which is rarely practiced these days. As I read your analysis I kept thinking of all the presidential elections we have had in Uganda in the last 36 years and what opportunities we have let go by because those who ‘lost’ were so bruised to accept responsibility for contributing to own loss.

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