Desperation does strange things to individuals. Acute desperation has the propensity to induce hallucinations that, to the afflicted, accord them some false comfort. Post the September 1 Supreme Court ruling that nullified Kenya’s presidential election results, tempers are frayed in the Jubilee Party camp.
From throwing tantrums to issuing threats, there is a palpable resignation in the camp; so much that the confidence earlier exuded about attaining a 70+1 vote win has toned down to the mournful “Even if you elect him, we shall impeach him within 90 days”.
The impeachment proposal was first floated by the new Kipipiri Member of Parliament, Amos Kimunya, a man notorious for the retort, “I would rather die than resign” in reaction to a demand by then Member of Parliament for Ikolomani Boni Khalwale for his resignation as minister over the controversial sale of Government-owned Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi (now Laico Regency).
As the Minister for Finance at the time, Mr Kimunya was adversely mentioned. Sense prevailed and he realised that resigning was the lesser evil to departing this beautiful world.
Incredibly, the false comfort that the ‘power to impeach’ narrative offers Jubilee was taken up by President Uhuru Kenyatta. He went on to give a specific time frame (90 days) in which to impeach Raila should he be elected president in the repeat October 17 poll.
This ‘us’ versus ‘them’ concept has never come out more forcefully than now, debunking any half-hearted allusions to the “our mission is to bring Kenyans together" refrain so common at Jubilee rallies. It has never been about ideologies, principals or love for country, rather who sits at the apex. And what better proof than the brag that Jubilee could change the Constitution merely on account of superior numbers in Parliament?
Impeachment entails charging a high Government official, such as the president, a senator, a governor, a minister or a judge, with wrongdoing. The impeachment itself has a threshold for effectiveness, namely the committing of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours. Impeachment would require a two-thirds majority vote in the bicameral house.
Jubilee might be close to the two-thirds majority but it should not lose sight of the fact that the Kenyan politician is not principled.They are responsive to bribery and coercion. Take a look at the current and past defections. What would stop the Opposition from prevailing upon a few MPs from Jubilee to switch sides?
The reaction to the National Super Alliance (NASA) appeal for funding from party supporters was baffling. Political party funding is not a new occurrence, and the Constitution makes provision for it. Why Jubilee attack dog Aden Duale would complain that aspiring legislators on the Opposition side had to part with nomination fees, while this is a requirement of every single political party, defies common sense.
How do political parties survive in terms of operational costs? Jubilee governor aspirants paid Sh400,000 nomination fees in addition to Sh100,000 registration fees. Senators, MPs and women representatives parted with Sh250,000 while MCAs paid Sh50,000.
From the Sh2 billion that parties collected in nomination fees in 2017, Jubilee had the lion's share at over Sh715 million. Early this year, Jubilee came up with the idea of using smart cards. Not only did the party seek to raise additional funds by selling each card at Sh20, it has also been said that was part of an elaborate scheme to rig in the establishment's blue-eyed boys during the party nominations.
When the absurdity of the idea and the divisions it was causing among party supporters became apparent, the plans to use the cards were withdrawn. Mr Duale has not confirmed to Kenyans that the money accruing from the sale of the cards was refunded. The loquacious, quarrelsome group of individuals within Jubilee need to get their facts right before shooting off at the mouth.
As the people’s representatives, MPs represent the wishes, interests and aspirations of the people they represent. Where legitimately elected, they speak for their people, unlike the frenzied political rejects from various parts of the country seeking political favours by leading delegations to State House Nairobi while hiding behind the masquerade of being representatives of their tribesmen.
It is on this basis that the President’s studious silence while his MP Moses Kuria chants war songs, spreads hate and dares security agencies to arrest him confounds many. This silence from the entire Jubilee house, rightly or wrongly, bespeaks tacit support for Kuria’s vitriolic outbursts, no doubt in defence of Uhuru.
Mr Chagema is a correspondent at The Standard. [email protected]