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SEA OF CHANGES

Sanitised Jubilee shapes up

The President, whose final term ends in 2022, has asserted his authority.

In Summary
  • It has been demonstrated there is party leadership, and there is also the party leader.
  • The unhappy have been told to either shape up or ship out. Some have opted to shape up to protect their meal-card.

When the Jubilee regime was taking its baby steps in 2013, it was possible for party MPs to declare love for the President and Deputy President.

What looked like a shared presidency was shaping up. The excitement of young power was pulpable. To love the President was to love the DP, without creating animus between the two. The two were eyeing a second term. They got it through the bungled 2017 presidential elections.

The National Assembly Majority leader, who last week survived the guillotine, personalised the loyalty pledge to the duo.

 

Aden Duale was scathing in his defence of the regime. His tongue was sharp; his attacks on enemies, real or imaginary, acidic. They were couched and calibrated to curry favour with the powers that were. He was the number one courtier of the Jubilee era. As Majority leader he ranked himself third, after the President and the DP, in the power perking order.

Duale said then he would jump from the 28th floor of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, if it were the desire of President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto. Perhaps out mercy or love for an excited subordinate, neither Uhuru nor Ruto dared him to take that suicidal leap.

There has since been a sea of change in Jubilee power relations. Duale, like others, now knows where power resides and where his tail should be. Duale of all courtiers knows better, what with a possible impeachment hovering over his head.

The President, whose final term ends in 2022, has asserted his authority. The office of the DP is now a department in the Office of the President.

There is a sense of urgency as President Kenyatta approaches the end of his tenure. His record, legacy, and national unity have acquired supremacy over partisan concerns. Which is as it should be.

The DP's obsessive 2022 presidential ambition is divisive and distractive for the President. It's been the single-most reason for indiscipline in the ruling party, attracting the envy and wrath of Executive power.

 

The illusion of a shared presidency has dissipated. There is only one centre of power—one totem pole around which Jubilee leaders orbit. The other name for this ideal is party discipline. There is no more room for divided loyalties.

It has also been demonstrated there is party leadership, and there is also the party leader. The party leader is also the President – the chief executioner of the party manifesto. The face of the party leadership is the secretary general, who takes briefs from the party leader.

The unhappy have been told to either shape up or ship out. Some have opted to shape up to protect their meal-card.

Raphael Tuju is the secretary general. He articulates party positions on arising issues. He does it with style, poise and composure, in the face of cantankerous critics.  But the former Rarieda MP executes instructions with informed grace, knowing he is cushioned against malice.

Tuju, the gentleman of the Jubilee regime, has been the target of ire from fierce, frenzied party hawks. Standing stoically for party discipline, Tuju has attracted barbs from the DP's Tangatanga allies. They are angry, but the Cabinet secretary is cool and calm, with the demeanour of a loyal delegate, carrying out orders from above his 'pay grade'.

Partisan power hawks have referred to Tuju as a member of the party 'by invitation', or ODM's envoy in Jubilee, and a strategist for the minority party in the majority formation. The subtext is in the ethnic makeup of the Jubilee power wagon. The President seeks to bridge these ethnic borders, as part of his legacy.

There is a sense of urgency as President Kenyatta approaches the end of his tenure. His record, legacy, and national unity have acquired supremacy over partisan concerns. Which is as it should be.

Multi-tasking has taken a new meaning. The fight against the deathly Covid-19, and restoring party sanity are running concurrently. It's possible to chew sugarcane and cross the road at the same time.

With this, the line between party discipline and dictatorship gets thinner as sanitisation of Jubilee gains momentum. The party leaders does not want to waste the Covid-19 disaster.