TROUBLE IN JUBILEE PARADISE
It would be a tragedy were Jubilee, which is currently in pole electoral position, to drop the ball and give opportunity to a struggling, backpeddling and demoralised ODM/Cord
Underneath the pomp, pageantry and ostentatious display at the Jubilee Party launch lies cutthroat infighting for positions. The positions are currently held by interim officials. The Jubilee leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto is sailing very close to the wind in an attempt not to rock the boat as its members engage in behind-thescenes vicious power struggles.
The internal wrangling and backstabbing have been brought to the fore by New Ford Kenya members, who have laid stake to the powerful secretary general position. They have threatened undisclosed consequences if that position is not reserved for them. Other parties staking similar claims could seriously rattle and destabilise the new party.
Despite pretensions to the contrary, all is not hunkydory in JP as fractious fault lines appear on the surface. How these differences and infighting will be resolved will determine its future. It will be one of the biggest challenges to the JP leadership. A fallout would be their undoing.
The opposition meanwhile is watching with glee and jubilation, as what appeared to be a cut-and-dry approach to the 2017 presidential election runs into strong headwinds, granting it a much-needed second chance. A still-born JP would amount to an early Christmas present to a beleaguered opposition.
It would be a tragedy of unmitigated proportions were Jubilee, which is currently in pole electoral position, to drop the ball and give opportunity to a struggling, backpeddaling and demoralised ODM/Cord. The verbal exchange at William ole Ntimama’s funeral between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga was, to say the least, unnecessary. The President must be persuaded that he does not have to respond to every slugging match he is invited to, especially by the opposition.
A usually restrained Uhuru suddenly and unexpectedly flew off the handle and gave as good as he got! Responding in anger and not weighing his words carefully had the effect of lowering the status and esteem of the presidency while correspondingly raising the profile of the opposition leader. In tennis terms this would be “advantage Odinga”. Like George Bernard Shaw, the President should learn never to wrestle with a pig (no offence meant) as one gets dirty whilst the pig enjoys it.
It is a known fact that the opposition leader has never accepted the Uhuru presidency. It is doubtful that he ever will ever concede to the younger man, having been deeply stung by the March 4, 2013 election defeat. He will, therefore, employ every trick in the book to discredit the presidency in a classic case of sour grapes. The rivalry of Kenya’s most famous political families continues. The script is eerily similar as another Kenyatta outfoxes and outwits an Odinga in a political duel.
It is the duty of the President’s handlers to avoid situations where the two can get into direct confrontation. In politics, public perception is everything and cannot be ignored. The chest-thumping and brinkmanship in Narok elevated Raila’s status. Those in charge of state protocol made a serious error by over-exposing the person of the President. It is an almost foregone conclusion that the 2017 general election is Jubilee’s to lose. All they need do is maintain the status quo and not do anything foolish or thoughtless in the next six months. In so doing they would deny the opposition a much-needed election platform.
Their obsession with 2022, however, is becoming unhealthy. One gets the uncomfortable feeling that someone is attempting to enforce settlement of a 2022 “debt” in advance. They must exercise humility even if the stars are aligned in their favour for the future. Displaying unparalleled arrogance breeds resentment.
UHURU AND RUTO SAIL CLOSE TO THE WIND AS MEMBERS ENGAGE IN BEHIND-THE-SCENES POWER STRUGGLES