Thursday, August 11, 2016

Even stupid people vote, Miguna

I rarely get to engage with true believers. These past three days, I have had the pleasure of engaging with four online true believers in Miguna Miguna and his Quixotic, independent campaign to become Nairobi County's governor. They believe what they believe and no amount of reasoning, mockery, inquiry or debate will shake their beliefs. It is, as always, something to behold.

If you are a regular visitor of this blog you are well aware that I get many things wrong, whether it is in my disquisitions on the law or economics or public policy or sex. I admit freely to not being perfect or in possession of perfect knowledge. From my engagement with Mr Miguna's followers, I came away with the impression that he is almost infallible, absolutely incorruptible, resolutely focussed and the One True Antidote to the Kiderorisation of Nairobi City County. Those of us who dare challenge Mr Miguna, his vision, his manifesto or his words are in the pay of faceless cartels, in bed with looters, thieves and drug-peddlers, stupid and blind.

Mr Miguna wishes to replace Evans Kidero in 2017. He hopes to accomplish this feat despite the naysayers in the media and the charlatans who publish opinion polls that do not show Mr Miguna as enjoying the overwhelming popularity he and his team believe he has amassed. Mr Miguna will do so, or so he believes, without affiliating himself with any political party. He will construct an independent political organisation that will crush his opponents at the hustings. Whatever Mr Miguna and his team are on, it should be bottled; they will make a killing in the market of mind-altering substances.

If Mr Miguna is elected in 2017, he will have pulled off the political coup of the decade. So far, his campaign exists almost entirely on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook or on Jeff Koinange Live! on TV (where he gets to call his opponents thieves, looters, idiots or drug-peddlers). So far as I have been able to discern, the barrister, solicitor, poet and author spends part of his time earning a living in Canada and has not yet headlined a rally or gone on a meet-the-people tour of the county's vote-rich enclaves of Nairobi's vast Eastlands.

If he is truly determined to run an independent campaign, he has yet to identify a running mate, he doesn't seem to have appointed a campaign manager, his campaign messaging is overseen by him in person and his nascent team so far consists of true believers who are yet to internalise the maxims of Dale Carnegie's How to Make Friends and Influence People. So far in our engagements I have been accused of a bias for Mike Sonko, of being an apologist for Dennis Waweru and a defender of incompetence. I have not been approached with a view to changing my perceived anti-Miguna stance. It has also been strongly alluded that I am stupid. (That last part may be true.)

Which brings me to the reason for this post: how does Miguna Miguna expect to be elected when so little about him, his campaign, his campaign platform, his campaign team and his campaign end-game remain shrouded in secret and firewalls? No matter how many volunteers he recruits, Mr Miguna must go out and meet Nairobi City's voters in person. This means that he must expend time and resources to publicise his campaign. So far, all he is willing to commit to is the publication of a manifesto "some time soon" and to demand, directly and through acolytes, our trust. You would think that a man who had worked on Raila Odinga's 2007 presidential campaign would appreciate the nuances of an election.

A good politician never loses his temper unless it is for strategic reasons. A good politician never loses his temper with an inconsequential blogger such as I am. A good politician leaves open all channels of communication with him; blocking bad reviewers from his Twitter feed is petty and small-minded, and raises doubts about his temperament and judgment. Churchill, I think, said that it if a candidate wins by one vote, that is all that counts. Mr Miguna won't win if he chases away single votes because of some perceived disrespect or slight. He needs all the votes he can persuade to his side. If he doesn't understand this basic premise of retail politics, he is in for a drubbing at the hustings.

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