Friday, September 21, 2012
Miguna Miguna has finally revealed his political interests by declaring that he will be vying for the Nairobi governorship position. He announced his candidature during the popular K24 TV Capital Talk show hosted by former CNN journalist Jeff Koinange.
The first instinctive reaction is to laugh it off, wonder if he has seriously thought about his chances and dismiss him as one of the many political jokers and comedians that strut Kenya's political landscape gambling with the lives and livelihoods of Kenyan citizenry. One also sees his writing of the controversial book "Peeling back the mask" that has attacked the integrity and political honesty of Prime Minister Raila Odinga as an intended springboard to raise his profile before the announcement rather than dealing with impunity and corruption within the ODM ruling class.
On hearing such an announcement one immediately struggles to reconcile Miguna Miguna's abrasive, arrogant and self-important style of dealing with people with the required humility, patience and compromise required to deal with the complex personalities he will be interacting with on a daily basis. One cannot fail to imagine that if Miguna were to become Nairobi governor, he will easily misinterpret it as a mandate to rule the whole of Kenya and to
talk down look down upon every other elected leader.
However, looking at the list of politicians who have offered themselves for the same position, Miguna Miguna does have a point and his candidature is worth a second look and consideration.
Ferdinand Waititu, the current MP for Embakasi, is currently seen as a leading contender on the basis of tribal maths (being a Kikuyu). He is at best thuggish going by his many media appearances and uneducated. One wonders how he would govern professionally without resorting to his violent ways. He also has not articulated his vision for Nairobi county other than his desecration of the newly built overpasses and roads with his campaign graffiti.
Philip Kisia, a former Nairobi City Council town clerk has had a corruption-ridden and under-performance stint at the city council. He has also been linked to dubious dealings such as the fake ISO certification of the city council. He delivered no change to the way services are delivered by the city council and was only keen to increase council revenue by increasing rates paid by Nairobians without corresponding improvement in service delivery. He is not bound to change his leadership style if he were to become governor.
Evans Kidero, a former public listed Mumias Sugar Company CEO is so far the best professional bet (on paper) for Nairobi Governor. Miguna had an interesting take on Kidero's candidacy citing that he is not a politician (governorship being a leadership as well as a political post) and questioning how he acquired his vast wealth.
Nairobi county, albeit cosmopolitan and among the wealthiest counties has its politics dominated in the past by a convergence of thuggish, corrupt and tribal interests. A fact that may not change soon. If the list of previous mayors, MPs, councillors and town clerks is to be considered, Miguna Miguna is a saint in spheres of integrity and tolerance to corruption. So far he is also among the most academically qualified (maybe after Evans Kidero) and passionate for change for the sake of a better country. This means that Miguna Miguna is not so far off the mark when it comes to his candidature for Nairobi governor.
There are however pertinent issues that Miguna Miguna has to deal before his governorship candidacy becomes viable. One has to bear in mind that despite the reforms happening in Kenya, the Kenya voter has not reformed. The Kenyan voter is still tribally aligned, corruptible and worships wealth and handouts. This will be a headache for Miguna Miguna. Further, a majority of voters are in the low income earning group that may not resonate with Miguna's ideology and style of politics. No wonder, Miguna said he will target university students and ask them to register massively in Nairobi.
The other issue is that a majority of Raila Odinga's fan base have not forgiven Miguna Miguna on his 'peeling back' their hero's inner clothes. A majority of these fans in Nairobi are fanatical and a substantial number of them belong to the low-income group and would do anything
including massive voter registration in Nairobi and other mass-action-oriented ways to make sure Miguna's dream does not materialize.
Miguna Miguna also has to contend with the fact that Nairobi county has a majority of its voters perceived to be from the Mt Kenya region who will vote for a Kikuyu inclined candidate, currently embodied in Uhuru's The National Alliance (TNA). Will he align himself despite his assertion that he is running as an independent candidate? Will TNA embrace him?