LAUNCH THAT NEVER REALLY WAS
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.