Thursday, February 16, 2017

Could Miguna take it?

Make no mistake. Nairobi doesn’t belong to the rapacious cartels. Nairobi belongs to the 99% of voters who can hardly make ends meet. The power is in our numbers. Join our movement. Let us crush the cartels. We must transform Nairobi City County into a prosperous and glorious place to live, work and grow together. Viva!
Donald John Trump, the forty-fifth  president of the United States, and Barack Hussein Obama, Mr Trump's predecessor, have radically different perceptions of the United States. In Mr Trump's eyes, the United States has fallen on hard times, is the laughingstock of China, is constantly being undermined by its friends and allies, is facing cataclysms on its southern border that only a wall will fix. In other words, the United States is not great. Mr Trump vowed to Make [the United States] America Great Again and restore it to True Americans. Since his election he has set off to do exactly that.

Mr Miguna is Nairobi's Donald Trump. In his eyes, Nairobi is divided between the 1% made up of rapacious cartels who have not only robbed the peoples of Nairobi blind, they have inculcated a culture of looting, lying, thieving and incompetence that has denied Nairobi City County prosperity and glory, and the 99% [of voters] who can hardly make ends meet. Mr Miguna will lead Nairobi City County to prosperity and glory by crushing the cartels by implementing the promises he has made in his manifesto and policies he is loath to share lest his ideas be stolen by members of the cartels.

Stripping Mr Miguna's words of their hyperbole leaves one with the unvarnished reality of Nairobi's straitened times. Evans Kidero, Jonathan Mueke and the members of their county executive committee have singularly managed to make the former City Council of Nairobi look like the paragons of Six Sigma effectiveness. In the four years that Mr Kidero and Mr Mueke have been in charge, not only has Nairobi become filthier, it has become more chaotic, congested, loud and hostile.

If Messrs Kidero and Mueke were solely to blame, we would leave it at that but special mention must be made of Nairobi's county assembly, its senator, MPs and woman representative, whose antics have done little to compel the incompetent Kidero/Mueke team o do better. As the saying goes, sooner or later the chicken will come to roost. That day is fast approaching and Mr Miguna and a host of rivals are hoping to make Mr Kidero a one-term governor. No one will be sorry to see Mr Kidero go. In fact it is possible that many might wish to see more muscular outcomes for Mr Kidero including robust prosecution by the DPP for what they believe has been a government of the corrupt.

Mr Miguna is neither soft nor cuddly; he is one of the most abrasive politicians in Nairobi today. He faces off against the suave and urbane Peter Kenneth, the spectacularly colourful Mike Sonko, the celebrity businesswoman Esther Passaris and the combative woman of God, Margaret Wanjiru. Mr Miguna brings a razor-sharp intellect; perhaps Mr Kenneth is the only politician who can match wits with him.

Mr Sonko, Mr Kenneth and Ms Wanjiru have served as elected representatives; Mr Kenneth was even celebrated for his stewardship of the Gatanga Constituency CDF kitty. Mr Miguna has never held elected office before, two previous attempts never having seriously gotten off the drawing board. His only stint in the public service ended in bitterness, accusations and public displays of pique that left every party involved looking foolish and small.

In 2013, the city's politics were a tribal census with the "dominant" ethnic communities in Nairobi dominating the elections. Mr Miguna argues that in 2017, the people of Nairobi are ready to put tribal identities because they are fed up by how their city has been run. Mr Miguna may be onto something. However, Nairobi is also the principal operating base of all political parties in Kenya and national political party leaders command a sizeable share of the loyalty of the city's voters. For Mr Miguna to prevail in August, he must not only smash the seemingly white-knuckle grip that Mr Odinga or Mr Kenyatta seem to have on Nairobi's voters, he must also convince the voters that he has the ability to govern and govern well, regardless of his personality, uhmm, traits.

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