The events in Jubilee this week are reminiscent of the words of 18th century French counter revolutionary Jacques Mallet du Pan in his controversial but popular essay entitled “de Saturne, la révolution dévore ses enfants”. Loosely translated, the sage’s arguments was that like Saturn, revolutions eat their children.
Who would have imagined, a short year ago, that David Murathe would have resigned as vice chair of Jubilee and Moses Kuria would be on the verge of losing his seat courtesy of his utterances? In the lead up to the presidential elections, these two erstwhile gentlemen danced themselves lame fighting for the Jubilee duo’s re-election.
Murathe is known to be a close friend of the President while Moses is the President’s MP and an energetic Jubilee activist. When did the rain beat Jubilee so hard that its first casualties are its strongest proponents? How could the Jubilee revolution so easily start to consume its children? It is believed that soon after the elections, the TNA and URP wings of Jubilee started sliding apart. While there were murmurings of problems in the marriage even before the elections, it is the March 9 handshake that brought the challenges to the fore. It was clear that for some reason, the DP had not been as involved in the handshake process in the manner which many particularly in the URP wing had expected.
Even more worrying for the URP wing, there were indications entry of Opposition chief Raila Odinga into the political scene was part of a political realignment which would naturally prejudice the “mimi kumi na yeye kumi” promise. What followed were latent and patent battles between the foot soldiers in the two wings with the TNA wing generally affirmed by NASA, Jubilee’s new bride. While it was expected that the URP wing would naturally take hard-line positions, it was the entry of several TNA politicians in support of DP Ruto that complicated the equation.
And yet, in Kenya’s tribalised politics, these TNA supporters of the DP were, for whatever reason, the best thing to happen to Jubilee. They de-emphasised these tribal fault lines and gave the impression that the challenges in Jubilee were issue-based. All appeared to be going well until the stakes were raised by Murathe, who stated unequivocally, what many had only dared whisper; that the DP could not be the successor to Uhuru in 2022. Was this the President talking? Could Murathe attack the President’s deputy without at least a tacit affirmation from his boss? Murathe insisted he was his own man, and we have no reason to doubt him.
It was soon clear that the DP was not as toothless as many believed when Murathe got the sack. The Jubilee revolution had chewed its first child. Around the same time, and some believe in reaction to Murathe’s attacks on the DP, Moses Kuria, never one to unduly hold his tongue, did the unthinkable. He went into a tirade against Uhuru appearing to suggest that he (the President) had been a let-down in Central Kenya.
The tirade was a shocker. Interestingly, there was initial silence from most Central Kenya leaders. Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri even poured more fuel into the fire. It looked like the matter would die until the President’s “shenzi” remarks in Mombasa. Thereafter what has followed has been a well-choreographed wave of statements in support of the President. It would appear from the big guns that have been unleashed that the target of this campaign is not Kuria but his “backers”.
By the end of the week, it was clear that Kuria had crossed the line and there were believable rumours that he had resigned, though what he issued was a lengthy mea culpa to the President. In fant, No 2 had survived, but badly bruised. What does this portend for Jubilee? The next two years are going to be high octave, high stakes politics.
There will be no prisoners. The bulk of the victims in these pre-2022 fights will be those that believed they owned or were owned by Jubilee. We will live in interesting times.