Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WILL EVANS KIDERO SURVIVE THE BIGGEST TEST OF HIS POLITICAL CAREER?

Wisdom tells me if a giant falls the hills tremble.

That is what happened when Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero tumbled. News of his fall came late in the afternoon on Tuesday, and most Nairobians - his subjects - did not get the astonishing news until they got home and saw the Breaking News on their television stations. The lucky ones picked it up from their car radios.

As the news spread, one could literally feel the rolling Ngong hills tremble. As Governor of the richest, most populous cosmopolitan county, Kidero is no ordinary Nairobian. He is the most powerful citizen after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. As a former corporate whizz-kid, Kidero is as urbane as they come; sophisticated, dignified and articulate.

What Kidero lacks is political savvy. In the short time he has held the position of Chief Executive of Nairobi Inc, he has gathered more enemies than seasoned politicians have done in a lifetime. And the reasons are many.

Kidero, it seems, has failed to excite folks at the grassroots, folks he needs on his side during difficult times like now. He is said to choose his friends selectively, and in doing so, has alienated himself from the powerful lobbies that are so crucial for his political survival in the city.

Also, as a member of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Kidero is seen to be blowing cold and hot. His close association with the ruling clique is not a secret. As a result, he has lost the backing of his fellow ODM adherents.

And since he doesn't come out as a strong supporter of the party leader, Raila Odinga, hard-core party supporters tend to treat him with suspicion.

Then there is the all-important matter of performance. Nairobians had high expectations that with Kidero at the helm, the city and its environs would be propelled to a higher level of modernity: the county would be safer; trash would be collected on time; traffic congestion would ease; efficiency at City Hall would be enhanced and corruption would be a thing of the past. Nairobians are still waiting for results.

The High Court decision that his election as Governor did not meet constitutional threshold has now left him exposed to all manner of verbal attacks and mirth in the social media. Few are saddened by the dramatic turn of events.

For the Kidero, the Supreme Court remains his only lifeline. On Wednesday, the Court gave him a temporary relief by permitting him to continue in office pending hearing and determination of his appeal.

If the Supreme Court overturns the High Court decision, Kidero will get a chance to continue serving. However, if he loses the petition at the country's highest Court, he may have to kiss politics good bye.

The good news is that the High Court did not cite him for any electoral offence, which means, he can plunge back into the Governor's race - or any other - in 2017. He is still young enough to serve; and to serve for many years to come.

And that is my say.