JP begs questions of ideological leanings A
number of officials of the newly launched Jubilee Party are flying out to China, where they are expected to receive critical lessons on political party management from the Communist Party.
The purpose of the trip, it is alleged by those pushing it, is largely to ensure that JP rules Kenya for many years to come. They compare their intentions to those of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi in Tanzania, the African National Congress in South Africa, the National Resistance Movement in Uganda and the Communist Party of China itself – all of which have had a long period in government.
Much as the idea looks good, the reality is harder and little is as simple as it seems.
The aforementioned parties have a very long, if not treacherous, history that explains their longevity in government at a time when JP has to seek its first reelection.
First, these parties have very strong ideological anchorage. The ideological leanings of the CCM, ANC or even the CPC is never in doubt. At its unveiling little over a month ago, the founders of JP did not give the country as much as a glimpse of its ideological standing. In any case, all the parties that dissolved to form JP are, by and large, capitalist in orientation.
That would automatically make the Jubilee Party a capitalist party! As far as I am concerned, I did not hear of a possible ideological shift that would make JP a Communist party.
In fact, these parties have a long history and are products of the liberation struggle of their respective countries. They are vessels for social change, which resonated well with the people. The CPC is a product of the long march to Beijing under Mao Zedong. The same can be said of the CCM, ANC, and Zanu.
In fact, you can add Kanu to this group because it remains a core engine in the liberation struggle, which is why it remains an important element in Kenya’s political history.
It is not just that JP has not articulated its ideological leaning. It is yet to inculcate its values at the grassroots. You cannot easily say what it stands for.
For now, all indications are that JP is a vehicle to capture power, not for social change: The same as Narc
(2002-2007), PNU (2007-2013) and TNA (2013-2016).
Otieno is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and an expert in electoral law