Jubilee Party and the National Super Alliance (Nasa) offline and online warriors early this week decided to take a break from swapping insults, innuendo and propaganda to discuss issues.
The launch of the party’s manifestoes (Jubilee’s on Monday and Nasa’s on Tuesday), was expected to take the election campaigns to a new level where the things that really matter would take prominence.
Many hoped that the virulent bloggers and the fire-spitting politicians would leave the stage momentarily to allow the policy wonks to crunch the numbers, simplify the abstractions and convince Kenyans how the parties would deliver the moon and the stars promised in the manifestoes.
Hard luck. The ceasefire did not last long. Soon the manifestoes became new arsenal in the fierce political war. Since Kenyan manifestoes are more or less photocopies of each other – with slight variations in wording and colour – the quarrel became about who copied who or who came up with the idea first.
In the ongoing dispute, everyone also wants to take responsibility for every success and wash hands of everything that has gone wrong. Both Jubilee and Nasa want to claim responsibility for the Standard Gauge Railway. Nasa leaders claim the idea was their dream; Jubilee’s says they turned the dream into rail and locomotives.
Both Jubilee and Nasa have conveniently washed their hands of corruption while pointing an accusing finger at each other. Unlike the beautiful SGR which everyone wants to claim as their baby, everyone is denying Monster Baby Graft.
Then a bridge under construction in Ababu Namwamba’s Budalang’i crumpled like a biscuit and the finger pointing intensified. Gleeful Nasa warriors blamed Jubilee’s alleged inefficiency and corruption for the collapse while Jubilee conspiracy theorists could not help seeing Nasa’s evil engineering in the incident.
That was until the contractor did something that was very un-Kenya: he took responsibility for the collapse.
Jerome Xzue, the general manager of the Chinese Overseas Construction and Engineering Company, did not look for an excuse for the incident.
For once, someone took responsibility for something that went wrong in Kenya.