IT is not just aid Kenya is getting from China. The Jubilee Party is also now learning to be in power for many years from Beijing.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto have dispatched almost 100 officials to China to learn how that country’s only political party has maintained a hold on its people since 1949.
That party – the Communist Party of China – is the world’s second largest party, with a membership of 88 million-plus as of this year.
The CPC established the People’s Republic of China and has ruled it for 67 years.
The first group of the Kenyan officials from the 12 parties that folded up last month to form JP left yesterday for Beijing by night and the rest will depart in batches throughout the week.
They will be in China for about a month.
Once the first team return in three weeks’ time, the second group will then travel to the Asian country for what they have been told is “training on how to run and manage a party for 100 years without collapsing”.
“I can confirm they are travelling ,” said former TNA secretary general Onyango Oloo.
On Thursday, the JP officials were hosted to a briefing at the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi.
“We were at the embassy, where we were briefed on a number of issues. The aim of the trip is purely training on general organisation of the party, mobilisation of resources and registration of members – and capacity building,” a member of the steering committee who sought anonymity told the Star yesterday.
The Communist Party of China is the founding and the ruling political party of the People’s Republic of China.
The CPC, which is organised on the basis of democratic centralism, was founded in 1921 by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao.
Two months ago the CPC announced that it works closely with the Jubilee Coalition to strengthen cooperation between the two political parties.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, in July, Guo Jinglong, a party official, said the CPC and Jubilee share common principles of mutual equality and non-interference.
Guo is a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee.
Guo, who was accompanied by other senior officials of the CPC and Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa, said the two parties will continue to enhance high-level exchanges to boost ties.
“We value our relationship with Kenya and now see a lot of opportunity for further cooperation between our parties,” he said.
President Kenyatta appreciated China’s support for Kenya, especially in infrastructure development.
“With China’s support, we are rebuilding our railway line which will help reduce the cost of transport and doing business not just within Kenya, but the whole region,” Kenyatta said.
The President said the Jubilee Party is committed to transforming the lives of Kenyans and welcomes support from parties that share the same political values.
“We want both our political parties to work together to meet the development aspirations of the people of our two countries,” the President said.
The CPC is the legitimate single party that governs Mainland China. The party has remained resilient, relying mainly on repression. The regime has used repression as a means to suppress political dissent and decreasing rights and freedoms in the name of social stability. But since market reforms in 1978, repression, although still present, has declined sharply.
“Jubilee is the party of the future. We are trying to build a strong party that will serve Kenyans for long. We will obviously only implement what is good and relevant to us. Repression cannot be one such thing,” said Nominated MP Johnson Sakaja.
The Communist regime has survived because it is able to manage elites well. The 88 million members of the Communist Party, accounting for 6 per cent of the country’s population, are rewarded for their loyalty with access to influence in various aspects of political, economic and social life.
The nine active members of the Politburo Standing Committee and the 2,270 delegates of the National People’s Congress who forge an even further elite cohort are managed through closed-door dialogues and compromises, and are represented in the public under the guise of little to no dissent.
The party’s ability to monitor popular sentiment has also strengthened its hold on power. It uses secretive opinion polls, and monitors rumours and anti-regime thoughts on the Internet. Attempts to control the Internet have also proven to be useful to the regime.
The fourth theory suggests that the party survives because it is able to maintain popular legitimacy via its social compact with society. The modern social compact is performance-based, and founded on economic grounds.
Crudely put, in the words of former leader Deng Xiaoping, “to get rich is so glorious”. The state encourages both the elites and masses to pursue increasing their wealth portfolio.
The final theory thus suggests that such political strategies play a role in ensuring the endurance of the Communist Party.
The current CPC’s resilience suggests China may not see any meaningful political institutional changes in the near future, in spite of a new Xi Jinping administration.
Nevertheless, the new administration will have to show an increased commitment to improving the livelihoods of those who do not benefit from the current social compact. Against this background, there are a growing number of Chinese citizens who have not achieved higher incomes, and have experienced reduced social services.