GIVE POLITICIANS ROOM TO DEFECT
Jubilee has failed to leave some leeway for members to manoeuvre, escape or retreat
Senator Kiraitu Murungi, addressing a group of aspirants at Thiiri Convention Centre in Meru county, described the Jubilee Party as a house with one entrance and no exit.
Many presumed this was in reference to the recent anti-party hopping law. Media reports indicate over 100 elected leaders have defected from Jubilee as the Registrar of Political Parties shut the door for more resignations within the 30-day window period which ended on October 8.
Why the mass exodus? It just goes to confirm that no politician wants to be locked in without options. To them, it is a form of death or suicide. Even in the animal kingdom, the lion — the feared and terrifying King of the Jungle — cannot enter a dark, unlit cave. It may stand at the entrance and issue a mighty roar in the hope of scaring out any quarry but it will not enter. A warthog enters a hole in reverse, always leaving a clear radius of vision. Similarly, never let a snake’s tail at the entrance of a hole deceive you — because the head is never far from it.
Kiraitu’s warning, whether sanctioned by the Jubilee leadership or not, was an exercise in futility. Attempts by both Jubilee and Cord to put political aspirants into straitjackets will be vigorously resisted. It was a strategic error that left no safety valve for those aggrieved at the nominations. Litigation to declare the party hopping law unconstitutional is currently ongoing, obviously financed by disgruntled political hopefuls.
Ancient Chinese writer and strategist Sun Tzu in his 2,500-years-old but still authoritative treatise, The Art of War, advises, “Always allow for an escape route (even for the enemy). They must see that there is an alternative to death. Let them know an escape route is open and they will flee and disperse. ”Tzu goes further to say, “You must also leave yourself a line of retreat so that you will have less trouble retreating.”
Men fight at their fiercest when trapped and, often, battle to their deaths. For example, some 300 trapped Spartans held off a 100,000-strong Persian army at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae in 480 BC. They valiantly fought to their deaths.
Jubilee Party strategists fail on both counts by failing to leave some room for members to manoeuvre, escape or retreat. Consequently, the new outfit has lost 54 elected leaders to the Amani National Congress in one month!
There was an inexplicable urgency in the dissolved Jubilee Coalition to fold up and form a single party. Many tactical errors have been made in the process, leading to the collapse of JAP. It would be a tragedy of unmitigated proportions were JP to follow suit. This urgency is not driven or tied to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reelection but it could easily jeopardise it. UhuRuto were popularly elected under an umbrella of parties that included TNA and URP in 2013 and can undoubtedly replicate the same feat in 2017. Even diehard opposition principals such as Kalonzo Musyoka in a recent interview appear to acknowledge this fact. So why the urgency?
Jubilee insiders intimate that JP is tied to Deputy President Ruto’s election in 2022. They say Ruto wants to inherit a single cohesive unit covering the populous areas held by the Jubilee Coalition to drive his 2022 campaign. The Deputy President has undoubtedly worked indefatigably hard to popularise Jubilee across the country. He is a deserving and meritorious candidate for President.
The trouble may lie in attempts to hog-tie the Gema nation and drop it in a single calabash in order to enforce a promise. Such an action is bound to meet some resistance and it’s in his best interests to tread carefully.