JP of­fi­cials off to China for lessons

Those trav­el­ling have in­struc­tions from Pres­i­dent Keny­atta to learn how the Com­mu­nist Party of China has been in power for so long.

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - BY IMENDE BENJAMIN AND GIDEON KETER @TheS­tarKenya

IT is not just aid Kenya is get­ting from China. The Ju­bilee Party is also now learn­ing to be in power for many years from Bei­jing.

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto have dis­patched al­most 100 of­fi­cials to China to learn how that coun­try’s only po­lit­i­cal party has main­tained a hold on its peo­ple since 1949.

That party – the Com­mu­nist Party of China – is the world’s sec­ond largest party, with a mem­ber­ship of 88 mil­lion-plus as of this year.

The CPC es­tab­lished the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China and has ruled it for 67 years.

The first group of the Kenyan of­fi­cials from the 12 par­ties that folded up last month to form JP left yes­ter­day for Bei­jing by night and the rest will de­part in batches through­out the week.

They will be in China for about a month.

Once the first team re­turn in three weeks’ time, the sec­ond group will then travel to the Asian coun­try for what they have been told is “train­ing on how to run and man­age a party for 100 years with­out col­laps­ing”.

“I can con­firm they are trav­el­ling,” said former TNA sec­re­tary gen­eral Onyango Oloo.

On Thurs­day, the JP of­fi­cials were hosted to a brief­ing at the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Nairobi.

“We were at the em­bassy, where we were briefed on a num­ber of is­sues. The aim of the trip is purely train­ing on gen­eral or­gan­i­sa­tion of the party, mo­bil­i­sa­tion of re­sources and reg­is­tra­tion of mem­bers – and ca­pac­ity build­ing,” a mem­ber of the steer­ing com­mit­tee who sought anonymity told the Star yes­ter­day.

The Com­mu­nist Party of China is the found­ing and the rul­ing po­lit­i­cal party of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China.

The CPC, which is or­gan­ised on the ba­sis of demo­cratic cen­tral­ism, was founded in 1921 by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao.

Two months ago the CPC an­nounced that it works closely with the Ju­bilee Coali­tion to strengthen co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

Speak­ing when he paid a courtesy call on Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta at State House, Nairobi, in July, Guo Jin­g­long, a party of­fi­cial, said the CPC and Ju­bilee share com­mon prin­ci­ples of mu­tual equal­ity and non-in­ter­fer­ence.

Guo is a mem­ber of the Po­lit­i­cal Bu­reau of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and Sec­re­tary of the CPC Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mit­tee.

Guo, who was ac­com­pa­nied by other se­nior of­fi­cials of the CPC and Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to Kenya Liu Xianfa, said the two par­ties will con­tinue to en­hance high-level ex­changes to boost ties.

“We value our re­la­tion­ship with Kenya and now see a lot of op­por­tu­nity for fur­ther co­op­er­a­tion be­tween our par­ties,” he said.

Pres­i­dent Keny­atta ap­pre­ci­ated China’s sup­port for Kenya, es­pe­cially in in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment.

“With China’s sup­port, we are re­build­ing our rail­way line which will help re­duce the cost of trans­port and do­ing busi­ness not just within Kenya, but the whole re­gion,” Keny­atta said.

The Pres­i­dent said the Ju­bilee Party is com­mit­ted to trans­form­ing the lives of Kenyans and wel­comes sup- port from par­ties that share the same po­lit­i­cal val­ues.

“We want both our po­lit­i­cal par­ties to work to­gether to meet the de­vel­op­ment as­pi­ra­tions of the peo­ple of our two coun­tries,” the Pres­i­dent said.

The CPC is the le­git­i­mate sin­gle party that gov­erns Main­land China. The party has re­mained re­silient, re­ly­ing mainly on repression. The regime has used repression as a means to sup­press po­lit­i­cal dis­sent and de­creas­ing rights and free­doms in the name of so­cial sta­bil­ity. But since mar­ket re­forms in 1978, repression, al­though still present, has de­clined sharply.

“Ju­bilee is the party of the fu­ture. We are try­ing to build a strong party that will serve Kenyans for long. We will ob­vi­ously only im­ple­ment what is good and rel­e­vant to us. Repression can­not be one such thing,” said Nom­i­nated MP John­son Sakaja.

The Com­mu­nist regime has sur­vived be­cause it is able to man­age elites well. The 88 mil­lion mem­bers

‘JU­BILEE IS THE PARTY OF THE FU­TURE. WE ARE TRY­ING TO BUILD A STRONG PARTY THAT WILL SERVE KENYANS FOR LONG. WE WILL OB­VI­OUSLY ONLY IM­PLE­MENT WHAT IS GOOD AND REL­E­VANT TO US. REPRESSION CAN­NOT BE ONE SUCH THING’

fi­cials es­sons of the Com­mu­nist Party, ac­count­ing for 6 per cent of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion, are re­warded for their loy­alty with ac­cess to in­flu­ence in var­i­ous as­pects of po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial life.

The nine ac­tive mem­bers of the Polit­buro Stand­ing Com­mit­tee and the 2,270 del­e­gates of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress who forge an even fur­ther elite co­hort are man­aged through closed-door di­a­logues and com­pro­mises, and are rep­re­sented in the public un­der the guise of lit­tle to no dis­sent.

The party’s abil­ity to mon­i­tor pop­u­lar sen­ti­ment has also strength­ened its hold on power. It uses se­cre­tive opin­ion polls, and mon­i­tors ru­mours and anti-regime thoughts on the In­ter­net. At­tempts to con­trol the In­ter­net have also proven to be use­ful to the regime.

The fourth the­ory sug­gests that the party sur­vives be­cause it is able to main­tain pop­u­lar le­git­i­macy via its so­cial com­pact with so­ci­ety. The mod­ern so­cial com­pact is per­for­mance-based, and founded on eco­nomic grounds.

Crudely put, in the words of former leader Deng Xiaop­ing, “to get rich is so glo­ri­ous”. The state en­cour­ages both the elites and masses to pur­sue in­creas­ing their wealth port­fo­lio.

The fi­nal the­ory thus sug­gests that such po­lit­i­cal strate­gies play a role in en­sur­ing the en­durance of the Com­mu­nist Party.

The cur­rent CPC’s re­silience sug­gests China may not see any mean­ing­ful po­lit­i­cal in­sti­tu­tional changes in the near fu­ture, in spite of a new Xi Jin­ping ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Nev­er­the­less, the new ad­min­is­tra­tion will have to show an in­creased com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing the liveli­hoods of those who do not ben­e­fit from the cur­rent so­cial com­pact. Against this back­ground, there are a grow­ing num­ber of Chi­nese cit­i­zens who have not achieved higher in­comes, and have ex­pe­ri­enced re­duced so­cial ser­vices.

/ MONICAH MWANGI

Former TNA chair­man John­son Sakaja and sec­re­tary gen­eral Onyango Oloo when the party was dis­solved to form the Ju­bilee Party at the Kasarani Sta­dium on Septem­ber 9

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