Party seeks to emulate CPC’s success
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.