MACHEL WAIKENDA: Jubilee is dead, needs urgent rebirth - Beaking Kenya News

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

MACHEL WAIKENDA: Jubilee is dead, needs urgent rebirth


Jubilee Party's losses in the by-elections last month, especially in Juja have made many believe that the party is dead. Many have actually opined that the party cannot recover from the hit that came with the losses.

But why shouldn't they? In politics, perception is everything and the belief that the party no longer enjoys popularity in Central Kenya has damaged its reputation. In fact, it is now hard to sell Jubilee as a party of choice because people see it as dead.

Additionally, there have been concerns the party will lose the by-election in Kiambaa, which is the heart of President Uhuru Kenyatta's backyard and a seat that should ordinarily have no contest.

It would be a major blow for Jubilee if the party lost that seat, becoming the second in the President's home county in just three months.

But it would be a waste of time to start thinking of how to save the party at this point, when the country is facing major challenges that President Kenyatta needs to focus on.

In fact, it is my view that many people associate the party with Uhuru to the extent that his exit next year makes it more irrelevant to many.

For one, the President is primarily focused on the transformation of the country and the completion of legacy projects that are underway countrywide. There is a lot that he must deliver before he leaves office.

In addition to leaving a formidable legacy, the President is also laying the foundation for the future of the country. As Mwai Kibaki did, the President is focused on ensuring he leaves a foundation of prosperity that will ensure every Kenyan meets their aspirations.

It would be a waste of time to start thinking of how to save the party at this point, when the country is facing major challenges that President Kenyatta needs to focus on.

But the question beckons, who will a strong and resurgent Jubilee benefit?

Parties are seamless and the revamping can be done, albeit painfully. The electorate in 2022 will be vastly different from the one faced in 2013 and 2017, which were the building blocks for the formation of the party.

The younger, more vibrant electorate will need faces and policies that resonate with their daily lives. Many of them do not identify with the politics of the old days where patronisation has been the end game.

Most of them are looking at how their future will be better and want to see political parties meet them halfway in those aspirations. A political party like Jubilee must, therefore, think of how it can accommodate them in its plans for the future.

When you look at some of the people complaining about the death of the party — instead of thinking of how to rebuild it — you realise they are party hoppers. Some of them have in the last four elections vied for and won elections on different political outfits.

Therefore, instead of mourning the dead king, plans must begin for the new replacement king and must be done with speed. A shiny new party, with all the bells and whistles that would come with it, is the only reprieve for Jubilee.

Those within Jubilee must think of how to give it a rebirth by either starting a new party or getting into strategic political alliances that will ensure it remains relevant after Uhuru leaves office.

There are lessons to learn from parties such as ODM and Kanu. Though ODM has had the same party leader since its formation, it has managed to get enough elected leaders to ensure its voice is not drowned.

When President Daniel Moi left power 19 years ago, many thought Kanu had died. It is, however, still a key political outfit in the country that all political players are seeking to have an alliance with.

Jubilee can be this kind of party, if only those who are there decide to focus on rebuilding it with the President out of the picture. As the President of Kenya, he has more duties than attending to party politics.     BY THE STAR  

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