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Blunders that could cost Evans Kidero in 2017 elections


Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero’s four years in office have been characterised by what critics describe as miscalculations and blunders that could cost him the next elections.

The first mistake Dr Kidero committed was to detach himself from the voters who put him in office. As a result, his presence is not felt on the ground.

Out of curiosity, I have been attending ‘kamukunjis’ in the perceived CORD zones in Nairobi that  overwhelmingly voted for the governor, and the discontentment is overwhelming. For instance, residents of Ruaraka constituency claim the last time they saw Kidero was in 2013 when he attended a church service at Baba Dogo Catholic Church. It was a thanksgiving mass following his election.

Kidero’s critics accuse him of using most of his time and resources trying to build his name in Nyanza and in the process has failed in his duties as governor. As a result, Kenya’s capital is in chaos after he failed to streamline operations as he promised during campaigns.

To start with, the city is choking under the weight of solid waste. Streets, markets, playgrounds and residential areas are littered and the stench is unbearable as the county government struggles to manage thousands of tonnes of waste generated every day.

Meanwhile, heavy traffic jams have continued to be a major problem in the city. The only thing Kidero has done is increase parking fees to the detriment of hardworking city residents. Kidero has also failed to tame county askaris who have been terrorising residents. The askaris have been accused of kidnap, maiming, torture and even murder.

Recently when we visited Huruma to see the victims of the building that collapsed in April, it emerged that structures that had been earmarked for demolition were still standing, posing a major risk to the public. Criminals are also said to be using the buildings as hideouts.

Kidero is also viewed as arrogant, proud, over-confident and temperamental - qualities that have conspired to ensure poor relationships with his colleagues. This was seen on May 8, 2014, when he lost his bid for the Council of Governors’ vice chairmanship to the little-known Salim Mvurya of Kwale County.

His political style is his main undoing. Kidero must learn not to draw his claws every time. It is good to appear vulnerable sometimes.

The governor was once accused of slapping Nairobi Woman Representative Rachel Shebesh when she allegedly stormed his office, and critics quickly attributed this to his temper and arrogance. Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko has also experienced the weight of his punches, even though he is said to have provoked the governor.

However, Kidero’s biggest blunder was to fall out with his party leader Raila Odinga, forgetting all the efforts the CORD boss made to make to make sure he was elected in 2013. This has not gone down well with ODM supporters and some have vowed to punish him in 2017. This was seen in June 2014 at an Uhuru Park rally just after Raila returned from the US. Party supporters forced Kidero to sit down as he attempted to address them. He was again booed and forced to cut short his speech at the same venue during the viewing of the late Otieno Kajwang’s body.

Since then, the governor has avoided CORD rallies and this has raised concerns about his support for the party that sponsored him to office. This could very well give him problems during the 2017 nominations if he plans to run on a CORD ticket. Kidero has a work to do if he is to win back voters and save his political career.

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