Peter Kenneth: An Unwanted Guest in Heated City Affairs?
The joke around the blogosphere is that if online votes counted in Kenyan polls, Peter Kenneth, the independent gubernatorial candidate for Nairobi would be gearing up for a second term as Kenya’s fourth president.
However, he finds himself grasping at the coattails of a political career dimming with every passing election. But from where he stands, his political future has never been brighter and after being floored by the then unpolished, self-styled man of the people in the Jubilee Party nominations, a visibly well rested Kenneth announced on live TV that he had decided to run as an independent candidate.
On that sunny Friday, Kenneth, in a polo and slacks, appointed himself saviour of a city begging to be rescued from the jaws of death.
“Nairobi needs a governor who will not only manage but implement. He should have information about the county, meet with investors and not the kind who will be prepped on city issues,” said Kenneth.
Once in a while, the only person who takes a politician seriously is himself. And Kenneth takes himself very seriously.
In 2013, this writer had the privileged of interviewing Kenneth on his ambitions for the top seat, his genuine chances and what he would do if elected. He seemed polished and almost presidential in his office at the Mayfair Building in Nairobi’s Upper Hill.
He was boisterous. His chances, he said, were almost certain. It was as if the oracles had shown him a sign that no one else knew about.
On Twitter and Facebook, he was well ahead of his competitors. Kenyans forgot their tribal allegiances, religious preferences, sexual orientations and rallied behind him. From those seeking a fresh, unblemished page to write Kenya’s history to those who just wanted a good looking president. It was PK all the way complete with a #Tunawesmake hashtag.
He had the goodwill. And the potential. He even had one over his competitors on several occasions.
For instance, he was the first presidential candidate in that election to make public his manifesto, a lofty document that promised employment and food security.
He also pledged an improved national security, better infrastructure, improved health care, education, revamped tourism, a slum upgrade programme and many others.
On Election Day, just a fraction of his nearly half a million followers on Twitter showed up. And by the end of tallying, he had 72,786 votes. He conceded defeat.
“Peter Kenneth is the worst myth that has happened in this country, other than the fact that he is a handsome man, there is nothing else he is bringing,” Miguna Miguna, his competitor in the race for City Hall said on a local radio show.
This hasn’t always been the case. PK served the people of Gatanga as MP for two consecutive terms. The people of Gatanga must have seen a hell lot of good in him.
“Under his leadership, Gatanga was consistently ranked top in the utilisation of its Constituency Development Fund (CDF) money nationally,” a blub from his website reads.
Although he lists many achievements in his life, perhaps, in the quietest of moments, it is this particular one that nudged him towards seeking more visibility on the national platform.
Logically though, his career ought to have progressed in an undisturbed graph. Presumably from a well performing legislator, perhaps to a senator, then governor and finally president. But politics can be illogical.
When the call of the people reaches the ears of a good leader he answers them. Kenneth heard his people call out to him. But whether they wanted him to be president then, or governor now is yet to be established. Sometimes, the wind can carry away a few syllables, and distort the message, leading to misunderstandings.
Splitting the vote
After he announced his candidacy in 2012, some analysts believed Kenneth’s candidacy could split the Kikuyu vote and somehow jeopardise the chances of an Uhuru Kenyatta presidency.
He didn’t dent the Kenyatta block. Today, others still believe he will split the Jubilee vote in Nairobi and possibly hand Evans Odhiambo Kidero, the NASA candidate, a second term.
Speaking at a meeting with Muslim business community on Wednesday, Governor Kidero said he was almost certain that Kenneth’s insistence in pursuing his democratic right will work to the opposition’s advantage.
Kenneth continues to pledge his allegiance to Uhuru and none to Jubilee, a party that was no longer at ease with his intrusion after folding up Kenya National Congress (KNC).
At a table with his competitor Mike Sonko, Johnson Sakaja, Dennis Waweru and Margaret Waweru, Kenneth always looked like the unwanted guest whom everybody made face at whenever he looked down towards his bowl of soup.
He, however, keeps trudging on. Stubbornly charting his own path while getting lost, getting found and bouncing back.
Sadly though, the bounce is never high enough to leave him perched on the political seats he so covets.
Follow us on Twitter @theglobengr
GET YOUR SMS INSTANT DELIVERY ON SFWSMS.COM. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AND ENJOY CHEAP RELIABLE SMS DELIVERY.