Finally, Jubilee’s Kanuesque tactics knock it off its moral high ground
3 months ago, 14 Feb 16:02
Folklore has it that bullies are insecure people; that the stronger a person is physically and psychologically, the less likely they are to bully others. However, in the context of political power, it would seem that the more powerful a regime is, the more paranoid it becomes. In the Soviet Union of the 1930s, for instance, the more powerful the state became, the more paranoid and brutal it became. Even its most loyal sycophants lived in fear that an inadvertent gesture or pronouncement could be construed as a threat to the state. In Kenya of the 60s, 70s and 80s, the more powerful the Kanu regime became, the more brutal it treated those it perceived as nonconformist. In order to put themselves beyond suspicion, Kenyans cheered the regime ever more loudly, pledged allegiance ever more obsequiously, avoided contact with banned books or suspect individuals ever more assiduously. At one point, imagining the death of the president was declared high treason. At this time, the title “president” was a protected state honorific, to be used solely by the president of the country. Even at the zenith of its power in the 80s, when the Judiciary and Parliament were mere extensions of the Executive, the state still saw the need to change the voting system from “secret ballot” to “mlolongo” (public queuing) and to abolish the security of tenure for judges. Kanu's manifestation And now, it is beginning to look as if recent actions and pronouncements by the Jubilee government in Kenya are a manifestation of the same paradox of power. Why would a government, whose election on October 26, 2017 was upheld by the Supreme Court, and which has complete control of all the instruments of power, and which is recognised regionally and internationally as being legitimately in power, feel threatened by what, for all intents and purposes, is “political theatre” by an opposition, which, while still enjoying the support of millions, was losing the moral high ground in the eyes of the progressive national community, and regional and international diplomatic powers? The Supreme Court ruling that annulled the re-election of Uhuru Kenyatta last August gave the opposition an unprecedented second chance to wrest power from Jubilee. Many observers, therefore, felt strongly that Nasa should have participated in the repeat poll of the 26 October. Armed with knowledge of the areas where it had lost footing since the 2013 election, Nasa stood a good chance of turning the tables on Jubilee in the second round. Nasa's theory But instead of going into full campaign mode, pouring every ounce of resource into those areas where Jubilee had made inroads, the opposition instead went into full complain mode. It advanced an improbable conspiracy theory. According to this theory, the government, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, ballot paper printing firm, Safaricom, foreign companies providing IT support, and pretty much everyone else who disagreed with Nasa had ganged up to rig the election in favour of Jubilee. Meanwhile, as Nasa made demands that were ...
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