By G O
There is some bullshit being peddled around by young Luos minds rebuking those against the re-election of Dr. Evans Kidero, as Nairobi Governor.
Let me tell you something.
I voted here in 2013. Kilimani Primary School was my station. When I went to that booth to cast my vote, I looked at every contestant on their own merit. I did not vote for MCA, Kilimani Ward, because I hadn’t interacted with any of their policies and so voting anyone in there would have been dishonest on my part. That paper went back to the box blank.
I voted for Simba Arati as MP, Dagoretti North. Arati was ODM, but that isn’t the reason I gave him my vote. He won the seat, and every time I go back to that boda boda base in Kawangware where I first saw him articulate youth empowerment ideas, I feel my vote was not in vain. If I were to vote in there again, I’d re-elect him without batting an eyelid.
Next up was the Governor’s vote. This one went to Dr. Evans Kidero. Of all those who presented themselves on the ballot that day, Dr. Kidero was the best of the lot. Best because I saw Nairobi County as this commercial capital of East Africa where all the major international bureaus have their regional launchpad. Reuters have their base here. Aljazeera broadcasts from here. CNN were reporting Uganda elections from here. IBM have their base here. The UNEP have their global HQ here.
Whenever I was in Europe and I said I am Kenyan, 1 in 4 of the strangers I interacted with always told me how nice the Nairobi experience was for them. This city is on the global map. No one talks about Kampala out there. You will hardly hear them speak about Dar Es Salaam. If you get someone who has been to Kigali, they, most probably, have passed by here first.
That day, when I was evaluating the Gubernatorial candidates at the privacy of my polling booth, the race narrowed down to Ferdinand Waititu and Dr. Evans Kidero. Based on the immense weight the Governor of Nairobi carries on his shoulders, I chose Dr. Kidero without a second thought.
He was fit for the bill, Dr. Kidero. When I was inside that booth, I asked myself one important question: “If there was a global conference in New York and the Nairobi Governor was chosen by his African peers to deliver the keynote speech on their behalf, who, between Ferdinand Waititu and Dr. Kidero, would I have entrusted with my flag?”.
Of course, Dr. Kidero. He has been in the boardroom with these executives, he knows their language, they will trust him more. He would tick almost all the boxes in my checklist. Ferdinand Waititu had also his positives. He is a grassroots guy, they love him more down there. He, probably, wouldn’t have allowed himself to be steeped in needless red-tape, as Kidero and his boardroom guys love procedure. I have a soft spot for down-to-earth politicians. Those you ring their hotline and they come down the ground to protest with you. Instant justice Embakassi style works all the time. The guys down there like that kind of dispute resolution, and Waititu would have been their man.
However, I did not give Ferdinand Waititu my vote because I viewed him as too rough to lead this regional geo-economic hub. Waititu suffers from the straight-jacket syndrome. He, like ruffians his type, are not easily malleable. If Waititu resolves to hit you with a stone as punishment for grabbing land, he will, 9 out of 10 times, dispense instant justice on you using Oldowan tools. And that is not how 21st century boroughs are run. Dr. Kidero came off as more civil and patient than the contested graduate from Punjab. It wasnt even a tie, Dr. Kidero was always going to the choice to protect our investments.
He did get the job, and now we have seen we were wrong, after all.
If we expected Dr. Kidero to lead this County with utmost dedication and unwavering servanthood, then he has miserably failed us. Whether you are that poor Luo in the slums of Ngomongo whose house is next to raw sewage, or you are the ivy-league trained blue chip banker in Kitisuru, the general consensus is that Dr. Kidero has failed to live up to the hype, and we must boot him next year.
I will not be less of a Luo if I don’t vote Dr. Kidero back. If anything, the most notable Luo figures made their global names from impeccable careers borne out of utmost professionalism and distinctive service. Prof. Bethwel Allan Ogot. Chiedo Argwings Kodhek. Thomas Joseph Mboya. Ask anyone next to you what Luos are famous for and they will tell you three non-negotiable virtues: (i) Intelligence, (ii) Principle, and (iii) Pride.
No Luo would would want to associate with a second-rate brand. Mercedes Benz. Apple. Giorgio Armani. Pierre Cardin. You will never hear a Luo man deriving pride from not being a member of the Senior Common Room, University of Nairobi. That’s the nadir of scholarship. Only the finest lecturers are allowed to sip tea from the Senior Common Room.
Which begs the question: Which Luos are these who want to force other Luos to consume a political brand that has adulterated the air we breathe in this city? Who are these Luos who want to force other Luos of fine taste to continue running their imported tyres on raw sewage flowing freely in downtown Nairobi? Where do these Luos come from? Can someone interrogate their heritage?
As a country, we must begin to live the same virtues we demand of our leaders. There is no way I am going to ask you to vote for my Akala mechanic because he’s a Luo yet the last time I took my sole there for a glue he did a bad patchwork on it I had to walk barefoot back home.
I did not elect Dr. Kidero because I expected him to send a plate of Githeri my way. I did not go to the ballot box to vote for the man/woman who bought me a pellet of Juicy Fruit. If it were so, then I would have told you. I voted for Dr. Evans Kidero because I was afraid of staying home and entrusting this city to an unpolished ruffian who’d stone our skyscrapers at the slightest disagreement with a potential developer.
The problem with democracy is that my vote and that of the intoxicated tribalist has the same voice. So, if I stayed home, and the Kikuyu supremacist who vowed to die for Waititu went and voted, Waititu would have won, and this city would have been unbearable for us all. So, I went out to vote because, at the very least, I wanted my vote to neutralise the buffoon’s vote. At the very best, I wanted my vote to be the decider in the case of a tie. This is why I don’t entertain people who keep yapping at us that they wont vote next year, thinking that they’re doing anyone any favour.
If I were to vote again next year, here in Nairobi, I wouldn’t care about my Luoness or Kikuyuness, or Luhyaness, or crap like that. We vote because we want better services for all.
Anyone who does something contrary should be taken back to the village and be fed to the dogs.