By Leonard Wanyama Any political observer who believes that Peter Kenneth is a goody two shoes is immensely naïve. This is a very likely mistake analysts and the general Nairobi public might make in the examination of his gubernatorial ambitions within the county. For one, it is absolutely strange and astonishing how an individual who got only 1 per cent of the city’s votes – 15,662 to be precise – when he was gunning for the presidency in 2013 believes that he is the best bet for the position of governor. The man he is currently challenging, Dr Evans Kidero, won with 692,483 votes, thereby even beating President Uhuru Kenyatta in popularity by getting 32,993 votes higher than his 659,490 votes. With that in mind, Nairobians must ask themselves, if majority of the county’s gubernatorial aspirants are crying wolf about Kenneth, aren’t they bound to take a closer look at him? Regrettably, the first thing that emerges from the foundation of Kenneth’s pitch lies only in the nostalgia of having been born and raised in Nairobi. Yet, this is not a really good platform for the future considering the city has to move forward and that most of the electorate today have no clue of what he is talking about when he speaks of the Nairobi of “those days when I saw things working well”. Also, when he had the chance to offer public service, he preferred Gatanga Constituency to any of the city constituencies where he grew up and worked considerably during his time on the corporate scene or while pursuing his sports interests. He also has not fully responded to the tribal nuances around his candidature and entry in to city politics. This is particularly in relation to the shadowy Nairobi “City Fathers” who have been mentioned as the real force behind his campaign. This should worry the electorate greatly because Kenneth may clearly represent the vanguard of localised disaster capitalism – predatory exploitation of the majority poor by sleek insurers, business people, speculators and tenderprenuers. Considering the obscure links to so-called “City Fathers”, his candidature is likely a Trojan horse whose glowing rhetoric may cloud the reality of future inefficiencies and corruption. If one goes back to the basics in politics of who gets what, when, where and how then it would seem that Kenneth is actually a candidate out to protect the interests of a privileged minority in a city of 4 million people a majority of whom live in squalid conditions. Undeniably, if Kenneth was true to his so-called ideals and keen on the service delivery issues within Nairobi, he would have offered a proper or concrete critique of Dr Kidero’s public presentation of how he has kept his promises that is now months old. Yet he has tactically evaded even giving a hint of detail about what Nairobi city residents should expect other than reminiscing over his nostalgia. Because this is the essence of how impressive Nairobi County Special Treatment Centre would look when you walk on Charles Rubia Road, benefiting from automated water dispensers in Mashimoni village, and the completed road going into Donholm. It is also at the heart of the now open drainage at South C/Nairobi West that nearly killed children from Makini School during a previous flood, or the complexities of having to prevent another building tragedy like events in Huruma from ever happening again. Neither has he pronounced himself on the matter of school title deeds in legitimising land ownership for these institutions so that there isn’t a repeat of scenes witnessed at the Lang’ata Primary School where children were tear-gassed. More peculiar is that he really didn’t seem to have an opinion on increasingly suspect voter transfers and registration of voters into Nairobi, which is a matter any honest politician running to become the governor should be concerned about. As he goes round speaking of the inabilities of other politicians within the city he should remember that talk is always very cheap and that no one envies the fact that his only recent claim to fame is that he is an expert at only managing to win elections on social media.
The author is a development practitioner and a part time lecturer of International Relations; @lennWanyama; lennWanyama@gmail.com