ODM’s Sh1.7bn propaganda war in 2007 laid bare

The latest documents leak by anti-secrecy organisation Wikileaks has given some insight into the dirty world of political propaganda as some of the documents released on Sunday laid bare strategies that may have been used by ODM in the run up to 2007 polls.

A section of the documents indicates that ODM officials alienated the party’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with the aim of making calculated mudslinging attacks at the then incumbent President Mwai Kibaki.

But the rock that ODM intended to build its church on was the media, and a Sh29.3 million budget was placed aside for some high flying personalities to ensure that the opposition’s narrative was pushed, and to shield it from any retaliation from Mr Kibaki’s team.


A number of media personalities were facilitated to slant stories and opinion pieces. The media budget was higher than that for security, opinion polls, ICT, training and fundraising.

One of the personalities mentioned in the documents is currently a senior editor in a leading media house.

ODM’s think tank noted that winning the media war was key to winning votes. This was to be done through the activation of close ties with local and international media managers.

The opposition party had a Sh1.7 billion war chest largely financed by contributions from all quarters—individuals, local and conglomerate firms, politicians from other countries, just to name a few. By the time elections were done, ODM had a Sh6.6 million balance.

Countries like Nigeria, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Venezuela, Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo contributed to ODM leader Raila Odinga’s campaign kitty.

The Republican Party (United States), the Visa Oshwal Group, Nakumatt Supermarkets, CMC Motors Group and Stanbic Bank were not left out, the document indicates. The list of individual donors listed include two African Presidents, one of Mr Kibaki’s political arch-enemies, a convicted money launderer who recently left jail, a controversial preacher and one of the suspected architects of the Anglo-Leasing scandal.


ODM spent another Sh75 million on campaign adverts in the media as per the documents.

ODM was looking to unseat Mr Kibaki and have Mr Odinga take the reins at State House, arguing that the incumbent had violated a memorandum of understanding that would see each of the two political powerhouses hold one term in office.

Those that closely followed the 2017 General Election campaigns could notice that the hunter became the hunted as some of the same strategies were used against Mr Odinga nearly 10 years after being employed by his ODM party.

Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm, used the same mudslinging tactics but on a more aggressive level and with the newest tool of the day – social media.

Perhaps one of the most interesting strategies, owing to recent upturns in the political arena, is that the opposition intended to convince the masses that PNU was part of a ploy to rotate power between three families – Kibaki, Moi and Kenyatta.

History has started to repeat itself as close allies of Deputy President William Ruto have in the last two years claimed that there is a ploy to ensure that only those three families, and the Odingas, ever get to enjoy the trappings of power at State House.

Mr Ruto was one of Mr Odinga’s aides and key cogs in the 2007 General Election. The two would fall out a couple of years later. ODM’s think tank was largely a team of professors—Kisumu senator Anyang’ Nyong’o, Commissioner of Revenue Allocation bureaucrat Edward Oyugi Akong’o, University of Nairobi lecturers Larry Gumbe and Patrick Wanyade, and BBI vice-chair Adams Oloo.

The strategy was simple — ensure ODM remains united, secure victory for Mr Odinga and get majority of Parliamentary seats.


Eventually, the opposition was only successful in securing the highest number of seats in Parliament.

Interestingly, former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was listed as one of the biggest threats to Mr Odinga’s State House bid on grounds of being a potential spoiler.

Part of ODM’s 2007 strategy involved the use of regional point men to hit at Mr Kibaki and shield Mr Odinga from retaliation, some of the documents leaked have revealed.

As Mr Kibaki had changed his mind on a 2002 campaign promise and a coalition deal to stay in office for only one term, ODM prioritised painting Mr Kibaki as a serial deal breaker who harbours corrupt officials in government and shields them from facing the law.

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