State agencies must end Jubilee Party rows

Thursday, May 25th, 2023 00:00 | By
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta at Jubilee NDC
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta at Jubilee NDC. PHOTO/Courtesy

The wrangles rocking the Jubilee Party are not only casting a pall on Kenyan politics, they are also bad for democracy and make a mockery of the long struggle for political tolerance that Kenyans have sacrificed for since the 1990s.

Whereas there is nothing wrong with internal political competition, what is happening in Jubilee cannot, in all fairness. be described as jostling for seats. Clearly, there is an ulterior agenda at play and it appears to be a battle by some in government to split the party associated with retired President Uhuru Kenyatta and its support base. This must not be allowed to happen.

It is especially important that public institutions entrusted with managing political affairs are not seen to be playing for different teams as is happening between the Registrar of Political Parties and Political Parties Disputes Tribunal. Whereas one appears to be sanctioning one of the factions, the other comes across as endorsing the other faction, meaning that the relevant agencies, which ought to provide clarity, are not doing so.

Kenya, without a doubt, still has a great deal to learn about political maturity and it would be good if politicians here can borrow a leaf from Julius Malema, their South African counterpart. When Malema could not agree with the policies and leaders of ANC party, he formed his own party — Economic Freedom Fighters — which now competes democratically with the ANC.

This is what rival factions in Jubilee need to learn. That if they disagree with how the party is managed, or who it affiliates with, then they should do the next logical thing, to wit, stepping down from the party and seeking a fresh mandate from the electorate under a different political platform.

This, however, will necessitate that all political players put aside their differences and prioritise the formation of a new electoral commission so that leaders yearning to seek a fresh mandate can do so at the earliest opportunity. Politicians must, therefore, not be allowed to hold democracy to ransom, just as government agencies cannot be seen adding fuel to the fire that is the internal wrangles within Jubilee.

The work of government agencies mandated to manage political affairs is to strengthen democracy and help in institution building. What is happening now is a far cry from the ideal.

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