By William Makora
The first Governor of Nairobi County, Dr. Evans Odhiambo Kidero, is a man held with high esteem among many people due to his impressive academic background and past performance at Nation Media and Mumias Sugar Company Ltd.
That explains why when he sought to be the President of Nairobi, the Kenya’s capital and regional commercial and transport and communications hub in the last general elections, the people saw it appropriate to elect him against a horde of candidates. He beat Ferdinand Waititu 692,483 to 617,839 votes. Nairobi hosts over 5000000 people.
Dr. Kidero has no political background. The people either voted for his sponsoring coalition or past managerial reputation.
Sponsored by ODM under Coalition of Reforms and Democracy, CORD, which is an opposition team after Jubilee Coalition formed the government, the University of Nairobi (BPharm) and USIU (MBA) graduate completed his partyâ€™s and coalitionâ€™s dreaded capture of the main cities in the republic alongside Ali Hassan Joho and Jack Rasanga for Mombasa and Kisumu respectively. That is where the bone of contention rests, especially because Jubilee [was] boxed out of contol of the hubs.
Nairobi is not a showroom for foreigners but a hub for Kenyans. Whatever a leader does in the city should not put interests of the locals at bay.
From the onset, Dr. Kidero began like a caged livestock with his neck delicately held by unseen yet quite predictable political hands. With the volatile nature of politics of the city, scales were heightened for the Governor to perform above board; intelligently balancing politics and service delivery to the people of the City County.
How was he going to do ensure he remained relevant to the people of Nairobi, the political backing he received and Jubilee government without scarring his face?!
Such is a question that demands a lot of soul search, guidance and counsel. Without well purposed wall of consultations, a haughty heart rushes, slips, falls and fails.
How would Kidero prevail?! How would he know when Jubilee schemes to disposes him of control the capital city?! How would he resist when a wedge is drawn between him and the masses?! How would he separate right from wrong or raise the flag of Nairobi above the reach of contrasting politics?!
When Dr. Kidero choose, in earnest, to team up with President Uhuru Kenyatta against the backdrop of Raila Odinga, leader of CORD, it is believed he is trying to apply balanced measure for his delicate position. When he says no one can stop him from working with the government, it is thought he disregards control of tongue. His voters still believe he understnds his mandate and is keen of keeping focus. However, caution on his political future remains a sound subject continually discussed by competitors and closely considered by his sponsors.
Indicators of the ruling cliquesâ€™ clear interests to manage Nairobi and Mombasa Counties for their economic and/administrative importance earnestly featured in the first 100 days in power when workers went on strike and demonstrated by rummaging the streets and scattering the garbage. It is this inception that would test and weaken targets for the hawk to catch its prey! Governor Joho saved his neck when he heard caution from his political sponsors and acted decisively. The vulnerable Kidero is yet to learn a lesson. The city workers are on his neck again; with some worse density and intensity this time round. They are demanding increase in wages.
Taking evident advantage of Kideroâ€™s weaknesses, the ruling coalitionâ€™s leadership has put him in a collision course, not only with his workers but also, with the people of the entire city. He is not only convinced that the workers require reduction by more than half the size, which is from 11000 to 5000, but also that the city can make its own money for its budgets. In achieving the latter, Kidero has outrageously levied taxes on packing, hawking, etc, and the people are wondering whether he thinks Nairobi is his home or not!
Jubilee also pushes him to outsource garbage collection cleaning services ostensibly privatizing the city workforce where the workers will be at the mercies of exploitative companies. That does not auger well with the masses. Nairobi is not a showroom for foreigners but a hub for Kenyans. Whatever a leader does in the city should not put interests of the locals at bay.
If Kidero is not careful the people may recall him within less than one year and Waititu may be the man in the music of the city. A good manager does not ignore welfare of the people under him. Nairobians deserve their Nairobi.