Party seeks to em­u­late CPC’s suc­cess

China Daily European Weekly - - Comment - Robert Ka­giri The au­thor is a con­sul­tant for strat­egy and pol­icy and a lec­turer at the In­sti­tute of Diplo­macy and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies of the Univer­sity of Nairobi in Kenya. The views do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect those of China Daily.

Par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive is the na­tional co­he­sive­ness that is an in­te­gral char­ac­ter­is­tic of Xi’s Thought

Last year, the 19th Na­tional Con­gress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China amended the Party Con­sti­tu­tion to in­clude Xi Jin­ping Thought on So­cial­ism with Chi­nese Char­ac­ter­is­tics for a New Era as an ad­di­tional com­po­nent of the Party’s guide for ac­tion. The re-elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Xi to a sec­ond term presents an op­por­tu­nity for Kenya, and in­deed the whole of Africa, to deepen po­lit­i­cal en­gage­ment and strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion with their largest trad­ing part­ner and highly es­teemed friends.

That the defin­ing fea­ture of so­cial­ism with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics is the lead­er­ship of the CPC is an im­por­tant judg­ment of Xi’s pre­science that Kenya’s cur­rent lead­er­ship seeks to em­u­late. In China, the CPC is the high­est force for po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship in all as­pects, and glob­ally it has the sec­ond­high­est party mem­ber­ship. The “defin­ing fea­ture of so­cial­ism with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics in the lead­er­ship of the Com­mu­nist Party of China” is an im­por­tant judg­ment of Xi’s Thought. Ad­di­tion­ally, de­vel­op­ment and sta­bil­ity should ide­ally be the over­ar­ch­ing goals of any rul­ing party that can boast the num­bers of the CPC, which has sur­passes 89.5 mil­lion mem­bers.

The Party came into be­ing in 1921 and the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China was es­tab­lished in 1949. To mark the 100th an­niver­saries of these two im­por­tant dates, the CPC has set the “Two Cen­te­nary Goals”, which are to be met by 2021 and 2049, re­spec­tively. By 2021, to cel­e­brate the CPC’s cen­te­nary, the goal is to “build a mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety in all re­spects”. This es­sen­tially means mak­ing sure that China’s de­vel­op­ment im­proves the lives of all its peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly those who are be­low or near the coun­try’s poverty line. By 2049, the cen­te­nary of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China, the goal is to “build a mod­ern so­cial­ist coun­try that is pros­per­ous, strong, demo­cratic, cul­tur­ally ad­vanced and har­mo­nious”.

These goals are closely aligned with Kenya’s own Vi­sion 2030 ob­jec­tive to trans­form Kenya into a “newly in­dus­tri­al­iz­ing, mid­dle-in­come na­tion pro­vid­ing a high qual­ity of life to all its cit­i­zens by 2030 in a clean and se­cure en­vi­ron­ment”. The twin goals are also an in­spi­ra­tion to the African Union as it pur­sues its Agenda 2063, which is a strate­gic frame­work for the so­cioe­co­nomic trans­for­ma­tion of the con­ti­nent over the next 50 years. It builds on, and seeks to ac­cel­er­ate, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of past and ex­ist­ing con­ti­nen­tal ini­tia­tives for growth and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

Of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s Ju­bilee Party is the longevity of the CPC and its mass mem­ber­ship and amaz­ing suc­cess, par­tic­u­larly over the past two decades, in lift­ing so many of its cit­i­zens out of poverty. More than 700 mil­lion have been lifted out of poverty, a scourge that is ex­pected to have been com­pletely wiped out by 2020, the year be­fore the CPC cel­e­brates its 100th an­niver­sary.

Also at­trac­tive is the fo­cused com­mon agenda es­poused by most cit­i­zens and the lack of hu­man re­source up­heaval that oc­curs with changes of ad­min­is­tra­tion in the Western-dom­i­nated demo­cratic model, whereby well-trained and qual­i­fied civil ser­vants and other qual­i­fied staff are shown the door when their party is voted out.

Par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive is the na­tional co­he­sive­ness that is an in­te­gral char­ac­ter­is­tic of Xi’s Thought, which the Ju­bilee Party views as a model that can be adopted and “trop­i­cal­ized” to help in com­bat­ing Kenya’s sin­gle most chal­leng­ing so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment and breed­ing ground for po­lit­i­cal di­vi­sive­ness – trib­al­ism. These are key in­gre­di­ents of Pres­i­dent Keny­atta’s “Big Four” agenda, which fo­cuses on food se­cu­rity, affordable hous­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and affordable healthcare as key pil­lars an­chor­ing his de­vel­op­ment poli­cies dur­ing his sec­ond term in of­fice.

Pres­i­dent Keny­atta is there­fore look­ing East to­ward adopt­ing the Chi­nese model and Pres­i­dent Xi’s Thought in a bid to de­velop a new and fresh na­tional outlook that is geared to­ward shift­ing the coun­try’s mind­set from pol­i­tics to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment di­vorced from and bereft of pol­i­tics. It is look­ing to em­u­late the Com­mu­nist Party of China and other sim­i­lar mod­els to be found in Cuba, South Africa’s African Na­tional Con­gress, Tan­za­nia’s Chama Cha Mapin­duzi and Rwanda’s Pa­tri­otic Front. In this re­spect, the rul­ing Ju­bilee Party has in­ten­si­fied plans to trans­form it­self into a pow­er­ful, dom­i­nant, pro­fes­sional and long-stand­ing out­fit.

As a con­se­quence, the Ju­bilee Party lead­er­ship has vis­ited and led del­e­ga­tions to study the Com­mu­nist Party of China, the African Na­tional Con­gress, the Pa­tri­otic Front and, re­cently, the Com­mu­nist Party of Cuba. Ac­cord­ing to Ju­bilee Party Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Raphael Tuju, “The longevity of these par­ties is of note, given the high mor­tal­ity rate of our par­ties in Kenya af­ter ev­ery elec­tion.” This is be­cause, ac­cord­ing to Tuju, “in­sta­bil­ity in the po­lit­i­cal space re­sults in an un­sta­ble coun­try. When the coun­try is not sta­ble, we all know the re­sults: job­less­ness, eco­nomic down­turn and in­se­cu­rity.”

The party there­fore sup­ports learn­ing from Xi Jin­ping Thought on So­cial­ism with Chi­nese Char­ac­ter­is­tics for a New Era; look­ing at the CPC’s struc­tures and or­ga­niz­ing prin­ci­ples that can de-trib­al­ize our pol­i­tics in Kenya; adopt­ing its fi­nanc­ing struc­tures, which tran­scend state al­lo­ca­tions; the Party’s and lead­er­ship’s ac­count­abil­ity to its mem­bers and the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly in the fight against cor­rup­tion; and em­u­lat­ing the Chi­nese suc­cess story in lift­ing its peo­ple out of poverty and plan­ning suc­ces­sion to en­sure Party sus­tain­abil­ity.

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