Party discipline key to democratic consolidation
Thursday, February 11th, 2021
By Adhere Cavince
Earlier this week, the Jubilee party expelled six nominated senators and axed the Senate Chief Whip, Irungu Kang’ata on disciplinary grounds.
The developments are continuation of intense jostling in which the deputy party leader has broken ranks with the party boss – towing along some members to the corner of defiance.
The ensuing outcry from the affected legislators and allies is scornful of the provisions of the ruling party’s constitution, and the Political Parties Act; all of which demand that members of a particular political party should be faithful to the doctrines, policies and aspirations of the party.
Besides Jubilee, other political parties in the country have also experienced fair share of internal conflict. In May 2020, Moses Wetangula was ousted from the helm of Ford Kenya Party, before he regained control of the party months later.
Similarly, the Orange Democratic Movement has repeatedly cracked the whip on errant members in a bid to bring sanity in the management of the party.
Party discipline is the foundation of success for any political organization. It is a significant measure of the allegiance to the interests, ideologies and policies held by the party and a spring well of harmony and collective synergy. Discipline within a party also concretizes and demarcates a political grouping from similar entities thus allowing the electorate to make informed choices when parties contend for leadership.
That is why some Kenyans are agonizing to understand the behavior of tanga tanga brigade of the Jubilee party; who have since abandoned the official party dictates yet still claim membership to the party and the government.
This twisted exemplification of democracy does not promote good governance and value for the tax payers’ money that funds the political parties.
Members who no longer subscribe to the ideologies and dictates of the party should do the honourable thing to resign from the party. Similarly, members who have lost confidence of the party leadership should voluntarily relinquish their positions without waiting to be sacked. This is the only way to guarantee political hygiene, dignity and utility of a party or members.
By institutionalizing political parties through an Act of Parliament in 2011, Kenyans were moving away from the old days when parties were vehicles to fulfill individual whims and political ambitions.
Such briefcase outfits, often formed along tribal lines not only excluded sections of the country from political participation but also entrenched undesirable practices such as impunity and personal rule. The new regulations also cut out party hopping while injecting transparency in the running of the political parties.
These measures were aimed at strengthening the establishment, and management of political parties; as a panacea to improve the quality and outcomes of governance framework in the country. Ten years into the operationalization of the Political Parties Act 2011, it appears that some politicians are still tagging along the old habits of having their cake and eating it.
Kenyans must continue to demand for good party governance practices anchored on internal democracy and service to the people. World over, strong parties are crucial frameworks of political participation and democratic consolidation.
Kenyans should therefore be weary of spur of the moment political outfits and politicians who have failed to demonstrate faithfulness to professed ideologies.