What you need to know:
- Nearly every misfortune that has beset this government can be traced directly to the astonishingly bad decisions of its elites.
- The party’s elite do not believe in institutions in any shape or form.
On Tuesday, a whimpering Jubilee collapsed to an abject third place in low-key by-elections held in Kisii, Kiambu and Nyandarua counties.
This miserable performance belied the robust efforts of a rampant state machinery, which mobilised administrative capabilities of the government in a bid to secure Jubilee wins by all means fair and foul.
We have long subsisted on the old political superstition that a serving government cannot lose an election. Therefore, the strong inverse correlation between intensity of illegitimate state mobilisation and the degree of electoral humiliation has been remarkable and eye-opening.
Disjuncture between political resolve, administrative zeal and feedback from the ground is now emblematic of Jubilee’s governing style. Like an irascible behemoth, the administration stumbles from profligate misadventure to disastrous foray, leaving ruin and angst in its wake. Nearly every misfortune that has beset this government can be traced directly to the astonishingly bad decisions of its elites.
The Attorney-General, for instance, spent the week scooting frantically about the court corridors, hoping to ameliorate the lethal sting of the constitutional court decision invalidating the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). Unfortunately, he kept colliding with the ghosts of his own and his client’s bad decisions, missed opportunities and unforced errors that only compounded his parlous strategic position.
A clutch of High Court judges, destined for promotion to a severely short-handed Court of Appeal, have been en route for years. The appellate court itself is overwhelmed with a huge case backlog. The irony of a harried state lawyer seeking urgent indulgence at the very court his client spitefully neglected to staff is simply staggering.
The cognitive ability to formulate a connection between one’s actions and their consequences is a fundamental signal of infant moral development. Jubilee leadership seems deficient in this elementary faculty, and is frequently flabbergasted by predictable outcomes of its heedless deeds.
Disdain for knowledge
The party’s elite do not believe in institutions in any shape or form. Power is pursued and deployed through ad hoc personal channels. Thus, the entire Jubilee system is an assembly of transactional encounters, not sustainable networks of reciprocity or common purpose. It is a congregation of shallow, fly-by-night proto-kinships that cannot reproduce themselves.
Under these conditions, power acquires the malevolent flavour of impunity, and is principally exercised to gratify the base physiological yearnings of its wielders.
A salient characteristic of the Jubilee elite is the utter disdain for knowledge, reasoning or ideas. The performance of visceral contempt for the abstract or theoretical is de rigueur in their circles.
This elite is defined by a notorious penchant for staging earthshaking pantomimes of loyalty and hollow displays of devotion to the president. Their fraudulent performances are typically accompanied by self-designation as hawkish political vigilantes, repressive loyalty police and vicious enforcers of “respect” for the president.
Institutional systems, processes and restraints are loathsome encumbrances for this group. Instead, perfunctory formalism and cursory performativity are reluctantly offered whenever the application of raw force is inconvenient.
Taken together, these traits portray a brash, crass elite steeped in impunity, corruption and a boastful VIP culture.
Having demolished essential structural boundaries, Jubilee’s pungent stench of lawlessness oozes ubiquitously, polluting the nation’s institutions. Jubilee’s headquarters are afflicted by kangaroo courts. Implacable extortion ravages legislatures both in Nairobi and the counties. The bureaucracy is overrun by nauseating corruption scandals and tyrannical excesses.
Beastly in every conceivable way, Jubilee potentates conceive government as a vast orgy, indulging their vulgarities at the public expense. With maws perpetually agape – the better for gluttony and logorrhea – they evince the grace and discretion of the Mara’s famished crocodiles at the sight of struggling wananchi.
Ordinarily, tyranny, corruption and mediocrity are aberrant blights on well-conceived endeavours to uplift the state and society. Under Jubilee, they seem to be the dominant ideology, anchoring a default policy of plunder.
From an aspirational monument to 50 years of self-government, Jubilee has devolved into an embarrassment. In its derelict framework, some of the worst characters to walk this earth are perched high up in positions of tremendous consequence.
Economic governance, BBI, Big Four Agenda, coronavirus pandemic management and many potentially transformative signature projects have suffered calamitously under the tender ministrations.
Arguably, the president is a major casualty of these self-imposed and predatory praetorians, who perpetrate their worst rampages in his name. They pervert his every pronouncement and corrupt every grand project, so that it is hard to tell saboteurs apart from accomplices.
Kenyans, struggling to avert further victimisation, are using every opportunity to protest against Jubilee’s cruelty and imprudence.
It is now abundantly clear that unless things change drastically, only blistering chastisement awaits Jubilee at every ballot box , and nobody will mourn its early demise.
Mr Ng’eno is an advocate of the High Court and a former State House speech writer. @EricNgeno