OPINION: It’s time to end factionalism in Jubilee and work for country

By Michael Cherambos

They say that loyalty needs to be a two-way street. If it is not requited or returned, then it is certainly not deserved.

The members of the Tangatanga faction, and their kieleweka counterparts would do well to remember this after President Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly saved parliamentary committee heads from the former from losing their jobs.

The sniping inside the Jubilee Party has gone on long enough. Too many members’ only thoughts and actions are about the succession battle ahead of the elections in 2022. This needs to end, immediately.

It is not good for the party, and above all, not good for the country.

There is so much to be done and one can be forgiven for thinking that only one person, President Kenyatta himself, is rising above the factionalism and putting people and nation first.

Whether it is the fight against corruption, the handshake, the Big Four Agenda or the Building Bridges Initiative, President Kenyatta is trying to lay the foundations for equality, progress, development and prosperity for all.

However, not even a superhuman can succeed if they have to spend so much time on petty politicking and bickering between those who do not think of today or tomorrow, but rather two years’ time.

Now that President Kenyatta has shown his loyalty to those Jubilee Members of Parliament, who are not necessarily his allies and even attack him frequently, it should send an important message throughout the party.

It is time for unity.

President Kenyatta might be seen by some as the first post-party Kenyan leader, but he needs the members of the Jubilee Party to all be moving in the same direction.

When he reached out to ODM’s Raila Odinga and other opposition leaders, he put the country before politics. He made sure government and opposition were moving in unison.

This unnerved many people who are used to the combative and tribalistic nature of our politics, and the splits from within began almost immediately.

These politicians, mirroring their own intentions, saw in the handshake, not a brave and courageous leader reaching out to his opponent to find common ground, but an attempt to undermine their place in the hierarchy of power.

It is these ruinous suspicions that have been behind so many headlines ever since. These must now stop.

It would have been supremely easy for President Kenyatta to have simply washed his hands with the rebels and allowed others to remove them, giving him credible deniability. These troublemakers had made their own beds and perhaps should have laid down in them.

Nevertheless, Kenyans who have been paying attention know well that we live in different times and under a different type of leadership.

President Kenyatta is not the type of leader to hold a grudge. If he was then there would have been no handshake and certainly no BBI.

President Kenyatta is the kind of leader who has sought resources and funds for regions that did not vote for him, equal to those who did. He has not privileged one group or region over another and has tried hard to share the development across all counties.

Thus, in Kenya, we are witnessing two diametrically opposing models of politics.
Those that do not move until they see what they have to gain and sweeten the gifts to those who are closest to them, ensuring tribe and region are loyal.

Then there is President Kenyatta who looks at the country and those around him with a blank slate. Background, tribe or religion are of no concern.

He doesn’t seek unnecessary fights and looks at unity as a lofty goal. He is merciless towards the corrupt who steal from or cheat the people but has mercy on those who can and should still make a contribution.

Now it is time for this loyalty to be repaid. It is time to end the factions within the Jubilee Party and move forward together. The intrigues and plotting must end now, and all politicians should follow the example of the Commander-in-Chief.

Loyalty is a rare thing in politics and is a commodity with a high value. The members of the Tangatanga faction should accept this graciousness and repay in kind.

If not for the sake of President Kenyatta, then, certainly, for the country.

Michael Cherambos comments on topical socio-political issues; Michaelcherambos1@gmail.com