Posts Tagged Sonko

A baptism of fire for Peter Kenneth

Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
~ John Kenneth Galbraith

Peter Kenneth, the guy Miguna Miguna says he’d put in charge of beauty contests in the county, is a funny guy; either that or very naive, or both. He’s written a formal letter complaining that Nairobi Governor nominations aren’t free and fair, hahaha….

So this man gets into a contest for arguably the most lucrative job in Kenya (besides the presidency) with two of the most battle hardened, crude, unscrupulous, and recalcitrant Jubilee mandarins in Nairobi and then he expects it will be a clean fight? What is this guy smoking? He thought nominations in Nairobi would be a smooth affair like chomping on an aromatic Habanos Cohiba cigar while lounging on the terrace of his mansion in Runda as a flute of Chateau Margaux wine percolates on his quartz topped table? What a joke.

This is Kenya, and Nairobi is the capital city that’s inhabited by the toughest of the lot: the status quo operatives, the pharmacists without chemists, and the wheeler dealer tenderpreneurs that supply air to the City Council, they run this joint. There’s no Madam Head of Civil Service to hold anyone’s hand here, bedroom bully credentials won’t count, you’re on your own. This is a fight to the death and rules don’t apply. This is Sonko and Doctor Bishop territory, straight out of MKU and St. Paul’s Universities with two year degrees without ever attending class; this is jailbird space and your opponents have already earned their stripes, with Mike having already done time at (and escaped from) Shimo La Tewa, and Doctor Bishop cooling her heels at Parklands Police Station cells as we speak. This is blue-collar roll up your sleeves and pop your collar work, it requires people that have lived by their wit and balls before and amassed wealth by taking food out of the mouths of babies by either the sword or the word; white collar stroke of the pen chicanery like the sort that brought Kenya Reinsurance to its knees won’t work here.

You’re in the throes of the very contest that made Baba Yao throw his hands up in exasperation and decide he’s better off retreating to face Don Kabogo in Kiambu. You’ve been thrown into the pits of the coliseum my friend, and there’s no escape, you’ll just have to grapple with these baby powder producing and “the seed” eating street fighters.

Like Johnny Vigeti of Kalamashaka rhymed in Punchline Kibao
“Zinedine Zidane, starting line up ya Real Madrid na hiyo inamaanisha huku hutoboi kudai number
Plus striker wao ashachoka, ako hoi anadai sub- ha!
Ni mambo na ku-mark territory, kwa hivyo ma-doggy za mitaa zingine hazikojoi mitaani hapa
Kuifanya iwe ngumu kwa huyu jamaa wa yoh-yoh ku-buy manga”

Besides, I’d have thought having been in Starch and all that, PK must have heard of the George Bernard Shaw quote

“I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

Welcome to Nairobbery Muthungu wa Gatanga, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere


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From the crypt of shocking ideas: Consider Ending Universal Suffrage

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
~ George Bernard Shaw

What is the point of decreeing Governors should have University degrees (and MPs and Senators too; before the sneaky exemption made at the last minute by MPs to void the requirements for this general election) if at the end of the day everyone, including those that are completely illiterate, is allowed to vote?

If the argument is that people without a tertiary education are not capable of leading (and are in fact forbidden by law from trying), how then are the same people proscribed as incapable of leadership supposed to have the competence to choose leaders? It is almost like being forbidden to cook (and eat), but then being told to choose the best cook?

Maybe we should just throw out all pretence and state that only those meeting the requirements to run for a position should have the right to vote for that position. Of course that runs counter to rights of universal suffrage. Therefore we should just cut the charade and allow anyone, regardless of academic credentials, to run for any office.

Come March 5th, Nairobi will be in the hands Sonko or Wanjiru and most likely Clifford Waititu. So much for constitutional requirements…..

PS. I came across this on where a somebody in attendance at the Aspen Ideas Conference wrote this:

Fortunately, one speaker shattered that fear when he presented his big idea: abandoning our enthusiasm for universal suffrage.

I’m sorry to report that I did not catch his name. I’ll try to track him down for a proper interview later in the festival.

His argument had two parts. The first was that some people simply are not ready for democracy. They have no functional conception of the state in their minds, much less an understanding of representative, deliberative democracy. Some are so poor that they can be bribed to vote this way or that for “five dollars,” he said. The application of the principle of universal suffrage was not a recipe for successful government in these circumstances, the speaker argued.

The second point of his argument was that the developed Western democracies did not start out with universal suffrage. Almost all allowed only a portion of their citizens to vote at first, only slowly expanding the right to participate in elections over the course of decades. Why force the developing world into instant universal suffrage?

This pretty much runs against the grain of everything decent and serious people think. In fact, in a place like Aspen — which is dominated by progressives of various sorts — it felt like he was standing athwart history yelling “Go back!”

So what should replace the model of universal suffrage? How do we decide who should get the franchise?

The anti-universal suffrage guy didn’t have the answers to those questions. But just because an answer isn’t at hand doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask the question. Perhaps if people started taking them seriously, we’d be at the beginning of something truly new in world politics.”

Link to complete article

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Governor Clifford Ndung’u: the inevitable

“The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while”
– Albert Einstein


Kenya, we are a very interesting people, we claim there are two tribes –poor and rich–, but the reality I’m seeing is that we are still very partial to literal tribe, to an ethnic agenda that is no agenda at all, because it is informed by nothing rather than a response to the most base of feelings, a need to prop up our tribesmen first and damn the consequences, after all we reckon the elevation and enrichment of one is a collective victory for us, us being a loose nation of one tongue.

Look at the Clifford vs Jimnah battle, most young and learned friends who gravitate towards TNA were with Mbaru because frankly he was better qualified. Same scenario on the ODM side where many were with Kidero over Dr. Bishop Mrs. Kamangu for obvious reasons. Now Wanjiru of course got knocked out on a technicality, but Clifford somehow beat Jimnah (the snotty middle-class friends said it was slum dwellers’ fault, never mind Jimnah beat Waititu in Embakasi but lost to Clifford in Westlands).

The dilemma for my schooled car-driving mortgage paying friends who had fronted Mbaru was what to do: stick with the incorrigible hooligan representing the petite bourgeoisie in Clifford, or switch to the condescending Karen denizen and representing the nouveau riche in Dr. Kidero. The choices were not easy, it is not easy in Kenya to abandon tribal affiliation for the sake of competence, especially not when it pits the lakeside vs the mountain.

Then came the debate yesterday. Kidero came out to attack Clifford, Clifford took the insults with unexpected grace. Kidero wanted to show he had travelled the world’s capitals and their slums, Clifford effortlessly showed he had come from the gutter and still had a pass to the gutter. Kidero looked out of touch. Clifford connected with the informal population, and they heard him, they are the majority. They saw only privilege and entitlement in the Doctor bemusement at Clifford’s simplicity.

And so a lifeline was handed to the more educated voters who had rooted for Mbaru but were now facing the prospect of holding their noses and voting for Kidero; voting for perceived competence over the cold comfort of voting for “one of ours”. Now they could update blogs and facebook and twitter with self-righteous pontifications on Kidero’s non-performance and arrogance, and in one fell swoop endorse one who had hitherto been termed an utter and complete hoodlum. Kidero seemed to have the ear of the middle-class thanks to his qualifications. But Clifford was reborn, thanks to Kidero’s poor performance that turned away a fickle swing vote. And Clifford might just become governor, thanks to this swing vote that is now back to being beholden to the politics of tribe.

Get ready for governor Clifford Ndung’u

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