LAUNCH THAT NEVER RE­ALLY WAS

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices -

The launch of the Ju­bilee Party Satur­day did not add num­bers to the orig­i­nal coali­tion mem­bers, but it did cre­ate the dud il­lu­sion of an unas­sail­able be­he­moth a year to the gen­eral elec­tion. It was a worth­less ef­fort be­cause all the so-called merg­ing par­ties brought on board were feud­ing of­fi­cials. Hence, the launch that never was re­ally a fan­tasy to tan­ta­lise ini­ti­ates, bam­boo­zle doubters and in­tim­i­date the com­pe­ti­tion into dread­ful in­er­tia. Maybe this is what the dot-com gu­rus ad­vised, but after the con­fus­ing jam­boree, one felt cheated.

The robotic del­e­gates brought a new lex­i­con to party slo­ga­neer­ing. The clar­ion call that re­ver­ber­ated at Kasarani was, “Ju­bilee! Pesa!” Hence­forth, Ju­bilee will be as­so­ci­ated with money, which is a boon for the op­po­si­tion. Ju­bilee will win or lose 2017 on ac­count of the slo­gan “Pesa!”.

While the fu­sion of a well-oiled cash ma­chine was meant to win over the im­pres­sion­able, the risk fac­tor of delu­sion was ig­nored. A po­lit­i­cal party that mar­kets it­self as ‘Mr Money­bags’ must have con­tin­gen­cies, lest its mes­sage is taken lit­er­ally and its cam­paign is mis­taken for a lot­tery. Ju­bilee hi­lar­i­ously walked into this trap and I pre­dict the op­po­si­tion can do dam­age to the party on this score.

Any Ju­bilee op­er­a­tive, ac­tivist or un­for­tu­nate can­di­date will first have to dis­play the en­ve­lope be­fore any other busi­ness in any ru­ral ham­let. A con­de­scend­ing Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto has done most of the pub­lic re­la­tions with those photo-ops show­ing him out of place, flick­ing bulbs off and on in hov­els.

But a re­peat of the op­po­si­tion’s 2002 vic­tory will come only if it fronts a non-po­lar­is­ing can­di­date against the ex­tremes of mock wealth, cor­rup­tion and de­cep­tive hype that fol­low most op­po­si­tion as­pi­rants too. The op­po­si­tion will lose hor­ri­bly if lead­er­ship hubris out­shines the num­bers game re­al­ity: In­di­vid­ual back­ing will not count a hoot against a solid Ju­bilee sup­port base.

I di­gress. I meant to say there was no launch of a new en­tity called the Ju­bilee Party at Kasarani. Yes, there was a cel­e­bra­tion of the wind­ing up of out­fits that have been spong­ing off TNA and URP. The free­loaders put on a show of ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est to join the an­tic­i­pated JP. This may sound out­ra­geous given the deca­dent fan­fare, but the free­loaders ac­tu­ally merged into a non-ex­is­tent party. Yet that is ex­actly what the whole daz­zle was sup­posed to achieve.

The Ju­bilee Al­liance Party, which a year ago was the ‘Con­ser­va­tive Party’, ap­plied for change of name to JP. You be­gin to smell a rat be­cause this was only after Ju­bilee coali­tion sur­ro­gates had ap­plied to dis­solve and join the un­reg­is­tered JP. Oper­at­ing in a fools’ par­adise, JAP only ad­ver­tised its gen­eral in­ten­tions to change its name, sym­bols and slo­gan but never touched the mat­ter of of­fi­cials.

It is doubt­ful there were ob­jec­tions be­cause on Satur­day every­one was shout­ing “Pesa!”. For­get the in­sin­u­a­tion that party del­e­gates would be paid by gov­ern­ment after Ruto promised the gov­ern­ment never ran broke. The pub­li­ca­tion of JP’s birth in the gov­ern­ment Gazette and three na­tional news­pa­pers had not hap­pened and the le­gal ner­vous­ness was ob­vi­ous as show­biz put a damper on what could have been a breach of law.

So does JP ex­ist or not? I’ve never seen one grave dug so en­thu­si­as­ti­cally deep by future oc­cu­pants. You do not reg­is­ter a party with­out of­fi­cials, so JP ex­ists only as an ap­pli­ca­tion by JAP of­fi­cials. The story that Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and Ruto are the only reg­is­tered JP of­fi­cials is a lot of bull. The Reg­is­trar of Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties would have acted with im­punity in fast-track­ing JP had she done so.

But soon the glut­tony of gob­bling ev­ery­thing and the fool­har­di­ness of de­ceit will un­ravel when the or­phans know that those who ap­plied to change JAP into JP are the of­fi­cials. By then the le­git­i­macy of the merger would have been se­cured and the door shut by the no-hop­ping law. The ex­cuse has al­ready been floated that JP will not be run by politi­cians.

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