What a political theatre the country has been treated these past few days!
First, it was the president’s party – or shall we say parties. The Jubilee crowd pulled no stops in painting the city in party colours. The convoys were generous, complete with 47 branded SUVs, apparently to represent each county. The source of the cars and their terms of engagement are still being hotly debated, but that is not the point. It is the sheer largesse shown by a party that likes to tout its austerity credentials that was shocking. Its new multi-billion shilling headquarters sprouted almost out of nowhere and even parties that had barely been present on the ground, had hundreds of happy delegates trooping in for the grand merger. And, as anyone would expect, the opposition coalition, CORD condemned Jubilee’s open wallet. They question the source of the funding and even revived the little matter of Eurobond. But hello, pot, meet kettle!
ODM politicos went ahead and tried to match this show of might themselves with a lavish party in Mombasa County. Of course no one has loudly questioned the source of funds for the Mama Ngina Drive Jamboree, but ODM has reminded everyone that it is the largest party in parliament. In the end, what the country has been subjected to is reminiscent of children on a playground arguing over whose daddy has a bigger car than the other.
Contrary to common rhetoric, the expenditure and conduct of political parties is not a private affair. These outfits are partly financed by you, the tax payer. In a country where demand for development constantly outstrips its supply, one expects better from the party in power and the one that seeks to replace it. How can Jubilee convince anyone that it meant well when they could spend millions – perhaps billions, on the Kasarani extravaganza only for hapless supporters to show up stranded at their headquarters for non-payment of the famous allowances? Who would believe that ODM, or CORD for that matter is an alternative if they are only too easily enticed into this vanity contest? With just 11 months to the next general election, the country expects better from its political parties – for unfortunately – it would appear – this is the lot from which the bulk of the country’s leaders will come from, once the votes are in and counted in August 2017.
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