Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Whom will you rally to?

Evans Kidero or, as I love to call him, Le Kidero, Mike Sonko and, so far as we can tell, Miguna Miguna, all wish to be elected as Nairobi City County's governor on the 8th August. So too, if he carries through with his threat to stand as an independent candidate, does Peter Kenneth, one of the losing presidential candidates of 2013 and a popular former MP representing Murang'a between 2007 and 2013. It seems that Mr Kenneth's masochism knows no bounds; ever since he set his eyes higher than being the popular shark in a Murang'a pond, he has faced nothing but failure. However, it is possible the sting of losing the Jubilation's nomination to Mr Sonko must sting the most painful.

Mr Sonko is not known for the depth of his intellectual rigor. He has a street-smart and colourful approach to political combat. It helped him win a by-election that had been brought about by someone else; essentially, when Mr Sonko became an MP in 2010, he did so after Reuben Ndolo had spent months and boatloads of cash to bring down Dick Wathika. Mr Sonko has a complicated relationship with not just the ruling alliance, but the ruling alliance's leadership, but also some of its most influential thought-leaders. Mr Kenneth was thought to represent at least one half of the alliance's leadership and a large swathe of influential members who backed that half. He was seen as the urbane, suave, civilised and cosmopolitan foil to Mr Sonko's crude, ghettoised, hoi-plloi-sh wrong-side-of-the-tracks persona. Those who voted in the Jubilation's "primaries" pissed all over those plans to keep Mr Sonko in his place.

Mr Kidero has fans in the same way that rotting roadkill attracts swarms of maggots. No matter how much he tries to defend himself or explain himself, Mr Kidero cannot persuade the residents of the City in the Sun that is no longer green that he has done much to satisfy their needs. Indeed, regardless of the preposterousness of the claim, many residents of Nairobi City County miss the erstwhile City Council of Nairobi that, at least, removed the garbage from the streets and, no matter how heavy-handedly, kept the hawkers and street families from the CBD's streets. Instead, Mr Kidero will be remembered with a little hostility for promising first-world solutions but presiding over the sinking of the city in a quagmire of garbage, traffic congestion and the worst water crisis in twenty years. If he gets re-elected, it will not be because of what he has done or what he promises to do but because the other candidates are about as appealing as rusty nails driven through tender feet.

Which brings us to the barrister-solicitor-advocate-poet-author-bench-warmer, Miguna Miguna. He was the first man in Kenya to declare an independent campaign for the governor's office. He has been relentless in reminding Nairobians of his integrity, probity, intellect and accomplishments, though his accomplishments don't seem to have benefited Nairobians or Kenyans that much. He is a man of bombastic combat, certain that he is in the company of intellectual pygmies with a penchant for billion-shillings five-fingered-discounts and pharmaceutical-induced wealth-generation. We are, collectively and individually, unfit to be in his presence or to question the wisdom of his pronouncements. We are to sit in the corner, shut up, bow our heads in respectful silence and See How Things Are Done when he is in charge. Mr Miguna is the saviour we don't know we need but whom his most ardent acolytes know for sure we definitely need. If only we could just open our eyes. VIVA!!!

As usual we are faced with the devil and deep blue sea, rocks and hard places, the devil's we know and the angels we don't. Pick a metaphor. We've had Le Kidero in charge since 2013. Only the blind still believe that if we only gave him a chance, things will get better real soon. Mr Sonko has a long history of acts that raise serious doubts about his judgment or wisdom. Mr Kenneth creates the impression that he is a carpetbagger who will try his luck anywhere and everywhere so long as he his online fan club keeps his hopes up. Mr Miguna is probably trying the Trumpian political version of reverse psychology: the more he insults us the more we will love him and vote for him.

These are the men who claim that they wish to govern Nairobi. No wonder no one is inspired to rally to their banners. Whom will you rally to?

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