At a time when the political heat is fast surging and politicians are traversing the country for votes, a book that looks into this politician-voter relationship has just hit the market. Titled The Art of Winning Elections: A Gem of Real Politics for Effective Leaders, it provides aspirants with a systematic approach on how they can join the race, compete for public office and emerge the winner — devoid of deceit.
Written by Wainaina wa Njeri, a former chief executive and a Chartered Public Accountant who has over 26 years experience working with the government and the private sector, the book is timely for anyone seeking public office.
It provides a complete package, offering guidance right from setting up the team, to resource mobilisation, party nominations, executing an effective campaign, how to seduce the voter through participatory discussions, what to do on the voting day and ensure that your victory is not stolen, how to handle victory, and how to ensure a continuous winning stretch.
The author approaches political leadership with friendliness and positivism; sharing best practices that would make a candidate to stand out. “There is nothing like dirty politics, it is the political actors who are dirty and use the statement to scare away would-be change makers,” he said.
He makes use of simple language, making the book easy to understand by anyone and employing both local and international examples. Wainaina wa Njeri discusses all the roadblocks that an aspirant may encounter and how to manoeuvre around them.
He delves into the thorny issue of Kenya’s coalition politics in ‘How to choose a flagbearer’, which has been a headache for the opposition coalition Nasa. “This is not rocket science. Look among yourselves and see who gives the team the biggest competitive advantage… That is the flagbearer. You do not need committees,” he says Wainaina.
Borrowing from the competitive practices in the corporate sector, The Art of Winning Elections sets out to demonstrate that there is a better way of doing things. “…Like corporates that compete on among other things: quality, convenience, packaging and price; seekers of public office should compete on ideas, policies and innovative solutions to the most pressing issues of the day.”
Thus, he shares: “A political contest should be a theatre of competing ideas, and policy choices targeting the minds and hearts of voters...” This makes an aspirant to stand out as a unique brand that understands and cares for their customers’ needs, fears and aspirations.’’
and suggests alternative, emotionally appealing solutions.
However, it is not only seekers of elective public offices; but their followers, too, have a duty to restore dignity in the political processes. He provides a checklist for readers on how to sift through aspirants until they settle for a servant leader. “There are many prejudices, like tribal politics that make us to elect the wrong people. We have to elevate the voter through civic education,” says the author.
This, he says is the reason Kenyans are ever complaining of bad leadership, yet; they keep on electing the same leaders. “In Kenya people steal and bring down institutions. They then offer themselves for elective positions and they are voted in,” says Wainaina. He singles out integrity and humility as the two key values of a servant leader.
The Art of Winning Elections: A Gem of Real Politics for Effective Leaders, also provides aspirants with a checklist on how to do a deep introspection into their motivation to vie. Wa Njeri argues that a sound motive is important, supplemented by knowing the voter; and that aspirants should sell themselves as a brand. “If your motivation is wrong, the outcome will be wrong,” says Wainaina.
He also offers useful tips that women and the youth can use in order to defeat barricades in electoral contests and emerge victorious. “Youth should seek leadership today, stop being cheated that you are leaders of tomorrow. Women should not be lied to through nominated posts. They should indeed vie and play politics like anyone else and be elected into office. This book shows them how,” says the author.
The book reflects on the ‘Trump Effect’ and the ‘Brexit Effect’. Here, Wainaina upholds that the voter does not care about the facts when making judgement on whom to vote in. Therefore, aspirants stand a better choice if they dwell on those issues that cause emotions. “Donald Trump was able to win peoples’ emotion by talking about putting America first,” he notes.
A roadmap to victory, The Art of Winning Elections is retailing at Sh1200, and is available at Dream Credit Ltd at Queensway House, Kaunda Street, 4th Floor. See: valueconversations.co.ke.