A man rushes into General Julius Caesar’s tent and says, “Sir, Pompey’s men are deploying for battle!!” It’s the morning of 9th August 46 BC, Pharsalus, Greece. Caesar has been declared an outlaw by the Roman Senate. The senate’s leader and wildly successful general Pompey Magnus has raised an army to defeat Caesar and drive him out of Rome.
Pompey had earlier in the same year retreated to Greece with a small army and had now raised a massive horde. His army outnumbered Caesar’s five to one. He had a few weeks earlier defeated Caesar in a minor engagement. Caesar noticing his numerical disadvantage had called for his general Mark Anthony to bring more troops from Rome to help in the fight against Pompey. Unfortunately, a large number of soldiers were lost at sea in shipwrecks.
Caesar’s men are hungry, nursing defeat bruises and were breaking camp to retreat to a more strategic location to resupply and launch a counter attack. As his men were breaking camp for the tactical retreat they see atop a hill Pompey’s men getting into battle formation. One of Caesar’s general suggests a hasty retreat and face Pompey when the men are stronger. Caesar in stoic yet nonchalant fashion replies “We shall give battle today; the men know they are at a great disadvantage. That is the advantage we must press, today we fight or we die. Pompey’s men have other options!”
History proves Caesar right; all of Pompey’s men were either captured or killed only a few got away, Pompey among them. This cemented Caesar’s position as one of the greatest strategists of all time.
What can our friends in NASA learn from the legendary Gaius Julius Caesar? Primarily, men with options cannot fight with all they’ve got. NASA’s leader must drill it into their foot soldiers, in this battle, we fight or we perish. There are no other options. Men who go into battle in relative comfort are not battle ready.
The general Sun Tzu’s advice in the Art of War the following: “Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.”
Two things NASA needs to stop doing: First they need to stop paying large amounts of money for live coverage on TV. This makes little sense. All it serves to do is lie to your foot soldiers that there is forward momentum and the people are with us. It presumes a victory. It also tells the competition exactly what you are doing, what you are saying and what your strategy is. A brilliant example of TV coverage working against Baba is when he brought up the emotive land issue in Kajiado. The old man has put his foot so far into his mouth he can now smell his knee. It also serves as ammunition for Jubilee, they now have evidence of Baba bringing up the emotive land issue. You Mr Odinga just gave Jubilee foot soldiers their rallying call. You just invoked ghosts that men greater than you have been unable to exorcise.
The second reason you should stop broadcasting your content on TV: It allows you to be duplicitous. This is after all politics. You can one day speak the land issue in Kajiado and the next day discuss civil liberties and freedom of movement in Njoro. Both parties are none wiser. You, like Paul teaches his evangelists (campaign team) can then: “Become all things to all people”. After all, “all politics is local”. Why be tied down today by something you said yesterday? There’s nothing more than “what’s in it for me?”
Lastly, you must telegraph weakness to ferment the opponent’s arrogance as Sun Tzu again advises. Your men must begin to think there is no win to be taken unless the presidency is won. Squabbles between the senate and gubernatorial candidates are side shows. There is only one victory. ODM already failed this step by disowning independent candidates who were otherwise friendly to their presidential candidate. Governorship victories are not victories, Senate victories are not victories. If the presidency is not won then there are no victories. All your people must know this.
Every NASA voter must know that when he walks into the polling booth, he is to first mark the presidential ballot, deposit it and then do whatever else he likes with the rest of the ballot papers. No one cares. All other candidates must be seen as swinging on the coat tails of the party leadership, not the other way round.
You must kill the side shows, stop telegraphing your intentions to your opponents and stop projecting strength you do not have. You will not see victory otherwise. Ama mnangoja Mzungu awaambie??