Nairobi Governor Dr. Evans Kidero is once again at the centre of a new storm after queries were raised on his commitment to Raila Odinga’s 2017 candidature.
In ODM high places, Kidero’s hand, and money, is seen in Ford Kenya Party Leader Moses Wetangula’s direct challenge to the CORD throne. Kidero is also accused of funding Ipsos to run negative opinion polls calling on Raila to retire, something that Kenya Today can authoritatively confirm has been formally discussed within ODM Party.
The Nairobi governor sees himself as the next in line to inherit the Luo vote, together with a larger CORD alliance; and together with Wetangula are in the early stages of preparing a joint run for 2017. Their joint ticket has sidelined Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka and ODM Leader Raila Odinga.
So bad is the sabotage by Kidero that ODM’s staunchest support base has shifted from Nairobi to Mombasa, where Governor Ali Hassan Joho has become the steady hand of the party, together with Kakamega’s Wycliffe Oparanya.
Kidero’s critics see him as a spoilt brat who has consistently bit the hand that fed him. For starters, Kidero’s leadership has been the most exclusionist to Luos, the same group he wants to ride on post-Raila to advance his fledgeling political career.
“Save for a coterie of sycophants, Kidero who got to power riding on Luo, Luhya, Kisii and Kamba votes immediately turned his office into a Kikuyu affair; same Kikuyus who are now plotting his downfall,” says Masira, a resident of Kawangware.
Critics of Kidero say he has been the worst CORD governor when it comes to sharing political spoils with the CORD Nairobi base. Some say he believes the CORD votes are his because he says he pays the party and coalition a lot of money; a charge that people around Raila have always disputed.
“This perception that ODM and CORD runs on Kidero’s money is hogwash, untrue and fallacious. Kidero is not the only billionaire in CORD and certainly CORD has not had the kind of money to warrant someone to boast of being a financier. Kidero himself has created these falsehoods to look too important to ODM and CORD,” an ODM insider told Kenya Today on condition of anonymity.
In 2014, Kidero had all but bolted out of ODM and CORD affairs, and for almost a year dallied with Jubilee in the guise of ‘working with the government’. During the same time, Kidero joined a group of rebellious Luo MPs who were toying with forming another party in Nyanza to rival ODM, or outrightly cross over to Jubilee.
It remains to be seen what becomes of the MPs in 2017, though many have made about turn and returned to ODM, save for Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno, Ugenya MP David Ochieng’ and Karachonyo MP James Rege who have indicated they will contest their current positions on other parties.
Sources say Dalmas and Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura may not contest altogether, while Rege (who has been waiting a cabinet appointment since 2008) is toying with decamping to Jubilee – in other words – political oblivion.
Kidero’s dream to inherit the Luo vote is itself not guaranteed. The Nairobi Luo under Kidero feel excluded and insulted, considering Kidero has surrounded himself with good-for-nothing Mt. Kenya plutocrats who have been accused of embezzling the county and at the same time stalling service delivery.
The other challenge facing Kidero is his governance record. Nairobi under Kidero is dirtier and more dangerous than it was under a Nairobi Metropolitan Minister during the Grand Coalition government.
There is also the perception that Gov. Kidero is a primitive accumulator, whose appetite for people’s properties and city ‘idle’ land far outweigh his resolve to serve the public. In the national psyche, Kidero only comes second to the country’s number one tragedy when it comes to grabbing: DP Ruto a.k.a Arap Mashamba.
Many see many city youths allegedly killed in dubious land deals in Nairobi as victims of Kidero’s ”wealth-by-all-means” philosophy.
But it is the sabotage to the larger CORD agenda that Kidero may face a rough 2017. Increasingly, ‘anyone BUT Kidero’ is becoming a popular political banter by CORD supporters, many who say they will vote for any candidate but the incumbent.
In Nairobi, CORD’s headache is who to replace Kidero with; a terrible indictment of a man who got power without breaking a sweat, and may lose for being too obsessed with political machinations whose end game is to attempt a referendum on Raila Odinga’s suitability for 2017.
Kidero is an internal saboteur, and should be dealt with as such. Period.