By Shem Beverton
Ariel Durant, a Russian-born American writer and researcher, made a timeless observation, ”A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” A similar observation was made by one of the greatest American statesmen, Abraham Lincoln, in Â a speech history has titled as ‘The Perpetuation of our Political Institutions Address’, Â August, 1838.
Speaking before the Young Lycern of Springfield, Lincoln Â observed, ”America will never be destroyed from the outside,if we falter it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
The twin observation, although made many years ago, ring true today more so in the modern conduct of political affairs. It is customary for political outfits to try to shirk responsibility for their tribulations even when they clearly have an internal genesis.The republicans of the Republican Party (GOP) facing a public confidence crisis fomented by their blind intransigence towards the Obama administration that resulted in the famous partial government shutdown, took to bashing their democratic counterparts as a face-saving gimmick.
Such frenzied histrionics resoundingly failed to score a bull’s eye with the American public and the republicans were grudgingly forced to eat the humble pie paving the way for the re-opening of government. Political scientists have since made the case that the intransigence would work to the advantage of the democrats in the upcoming 2016 presidential contest.
American politics aside, the bungled ODM elections has elicited a litany of reactions from different quarters. For the party’s stalwarts,it was a moment of self-inflicted ignominy unrivalled in ODM’s chequered history. For its perennial critics, it was a strong vindication of the party’s hypocrisy in matters democracy.
Emotions run high reaching their ugly crescendo that saw the destruction of election paraphernalia in spite of spirited exhortations of ”Hapana haribu mali ya chama” from a party official.
The calls for good sense and reason went unheeded succeeding only in hardening the resolve to unleash chaos. If successful,the poll would have surely added a big feather in the cap of the party. On the contrary,the spectacle attracted very bad and mocking press for the manner in which the whole affair was handled. It was a public circus that appeared to render internal party democracy a will- ‘o’- the-wisp for the largest single party in Kenya.
I don’t think I would be overstating the case by observing that the image of ODM as a proponent of popular democracy has been seriously diluted thanks to Friday’s drama to which the Kenyan public and perhaps the world was freely treated. Two factions,diametrically opposed to each other,have since emerged; those who hold the view that the disruptive chaos was planned before hand by mandarins privy to the party’s internal workings, and those holding a contrary view have chosen to take solace in blaming outside forces.
This is pending a full-dress probe pledged by those in the upper echelons of the party leadership to determine the identity of the chaos-mongers.
During the press conference, the conveners remained vague on the all-important issue of those to carry the investigation.Without wishing to pre-empt matters or appear biased, after much cogitation I came to the conclusion inconsistent with the conspiracy theory of external infiltration: the responsibility lies within the party’s administrative purview.
That’s the plain truth.
The misplaced arguments that have dismally failed to convincingly establish any nexus between the chaotic proceedings and statecraft only seek to destroy the party and mislead it’s rank and file. Rubbishing ODM’s official connivance is tantamount to evading a bitter reality. How come rigorous checks were never run to guarantee the integrity of the process that went haywire?Who was responsible for the shoddy security arrangements that have since proven to be a PR nightmare?Were black suits the only way to identify those tasked with providing security?
Responsibility lies with all of us-lovers of ODM. We must take responsibility for not asking more of those entrusted with management of the affairs of our beloved party.
We must take responsibility for choosing to close our eyes to the tell-tale signs of our humiliation.
Bombarding external forces with accusations is childish at best and an exercise in self-destruction at worst.At it’s most embarrassing, our tragedy has been simple-we failed ourselves.