Governor Dr. Evans Kidero has shown that he is capable of building a united country.
When Dr. Kidero took over Nairobi City Government; his first major act was to clean the payroll of Nairobi county.
Unknown to many people; the issue of the payroll was at the crux of Shebesh’s historic slap. For sometime, Nairobi City Council had been bloated by ghost workers who earned salaries either doubly or people who didn’t even live in Nairobi.
Even before this, Dr. Kidero had appointed one of the most inclusive cabinets at a time many people, especially CORD supporters, wanted him to follow President Uhuru’s ethnic example and flood his cabinet with members of his ethnic community or those communities that overwhelming voted for him.
Not only did Gov. Kidero institute a multi-ethnic cabinet, his own chief of staff and county secretary came from a tribe seen as ‘enemy’. In doing so, he debunked the myth that you must be surrounded by members of your ethnic group to ‘survive’ in Kenyan politics.
Soon after, the Nairobi governor started renegotiating the terms of mutli-billion debts that certain financial institutions and individuals claimed to be owed by Nairobi City County.
He found that many of those people had supplied ‘air’ to the defunct city government while some financial institutions (banks) were raising interests rates on loans they’d given the defunct city government as they wished.
Boldly, Kidero would end unattainable financial relationships with some banks and open new ones where the city county wasn’t the loser.
Unknown to many people; a huge chunk of allocations to Nairobi County for the last two financial years went into servicing debts. Even now, the county still repays some of these loans.
But the above were not just the things that he promised to do to Nairobi residents. His manifesto had education, health, security, affordable housing etc as major cogs.
However, for the better part of the last two years, these would suffer major blow as funds were committed elsewhere.
What is amazing about Dr. Kidero is how he has maintained a cordial working relationship with the national government, a government that often sabotaged him, including many of his initiatives.
Throughout last year, Nairobi city experienced serious hawker crisis. Then there was the Matatu sector, ever apathetic to reforms. Then there were the city hall thieves who had a parallel tax collection system. Then Shebesh and Sonko. Then David Waweru. Then the media whose brief appeared to bring him down at all costs.
There were other self-inflicted wounds, like the anti-Raila Harambees in Nyanza (what has changed?) or the snubbing of important party functions in Nairobi. I remember urging the governor to never lose sight of his base, his political side, even as he balanced them with the duties of the multi-party, multi-ethnic county.
In his attempts to bring on board everyone, he also collected so many former opponents, many who became saboteurs to his agenda. He realised this grave mistake and sacked some of them. Those who remained were hit by the fear of God.
But where Dr. Kidero towers all is how he has made inclusion a corporate issue in his government. People accuse Gov. Kidero of all kinds of scam but I am yet to come across any credible accusation of him as a tribal person.
Ethnicity is such a big issue in this country and to have a city government which in DEEDS truly reflects the face of Kenya is such a huge leap forward.
President Uhuru long stopped posting the names of those he is employing as every time he employed 10 people; it would be by the Grace of God that seven do not come from Mt. Kenya!
The idea that every deserving person stand a chance is critical to forging a united country. This can only happen when leaders go beyond empty rhetoric of national integration and exercise, in their own offices, what national integration should look like. That’s the lesson from Gov. Kidero.
Nairobi County government has overhauled the national health infrastructure it inherited from the city council. There are more health centres and dispensaries which are fully stocked and well resourced in terms of human capacity.Indeed, when all is said and done, Nairobi county health services will be way ahead of Machakos County with no advertisements.
More link roads have been opened and attempts at curbing traffic in the city has been tremendously successful, despite earlier jokes. Even the GRASS is growing!
Save for re-emergence of central Kenya gangs, propelled by ‘Turihamwe politics’, Nairobi is much safer today than it was when he took over.
Business is booming. People are selling everything, including themselves.
Indeed, better city, better life (for those with money).
Dikembe is a pro-CORD blogger.