What you need to know:
- In Nairobi, there was the dissolution of several so-called political parties followed by the creation and launch of the Jubilee Party.
- Mombasa witnessed the celebration of 10 years of the life of the Orange Democratic Movement.
- With the activities around the Jubilee Party in Nairobi, there is something happening that has not been seen before.
The Kenyan political landscape experienced somewhat of an earthquake this weekend. Here in Nairobi, there was the dissolution of several so-called political parties followed by the creation and launch of a new outfit called the Jubilee Party.
Mombasa witnessed the celebration of 10 years of the life of the Orange Democratic Movement.
There seems to be something new happening in Kenyan politics. What could that be? Given what we have seen over the years, it is hard to tell. After we got into the multi-party system of doing politics there emerged smart people who registered parties and kept the certificates waiting for the right moment. There emerged yet others with loads of money to create parties or even buy those that had already been registered by other people.
Clearly with the activities around the Jubilee Party in Nairobi, there is something happening that has not been seen before. It could be something with the political ingredients of the past but it is something anyway.
The tendency has been to form parties whose followers are members of a particular community or whose leaders belong to particular interest groups. One would hope whatever is happening represents positive growth of our political culture.
The real test of this progress will be felt through the kind of party structures that will be put in place by the new outfit and more specifically how those structures will deal with the fallout that usually occurs after party nominations.
Up to now we have had pragmatic “politicians” who just join those they cannot beat or where there is funding and very little of the brand of politics that is guided by an ideology. There have even been those who see politics as business.
Incidentally when we look at a bit of our history, the late Mzee Kenyatta never really founded any political party. He found a popular movement that was ongoing and he became a member and eventually its leader. President Moi inherited Kanu and refashioned it to fit his own ideas of governance.
During the era of the latter, multi-party politics became a reality but, as we have seen, many of those parties were just ethnic entities.
If what has happened represents a movement towards building political parties that are truly national in composition and operations, then we are growing. If, however, it is all fanfare and business as usual, then the effort was not worth it.
Wamugunda is dean of students, University of Nairobi [email protected]