On Kenya Presidential Race

February 13, 2013   

I have just watched the first ever Kenya Presidential debate! It was pretty baffling experience because I didn’t understand how to feel, proud of the fact that I grew up in Kenya or the general rhetoric ( well, bullsh**t) I had to put up through the three hours. The thing is I have missed my VLC player because I would have cut that precious hours into minutes by blasting through the video at 2 times the speed. Patience has never been one of my fortes’.

Truth is not a commodity in short supply. The problem is, there’s very little demand for it.

Most of the candidates did as well as they could, I was pretty impressed with Professor Ole Kiyiapi and Peter Kenneth because they showed the reason why they were there, to sell themselves. Everything they said was leadership this and that, and you can hardly fault them for that after what Kenya has been through over the years in that department.

Kenya leadership

Talking about poor leadership brings me to Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta, I know a lot of Kenyans may elect them come March 4th and they are already front-runners, but my issues with them is that they have never sweated over anything, they have been given to them by their fathers. And the way they treat Kenyans as though we owe them the seat. They always put their names on the ballot with little to show for their previous civil service jobs. I know a good old state house networking will get you very far in Kenya but i would take a very good grassroots movement any day of the week. I hate to be one to hope someones’ dreams and aspirations be shattered and hard work to go unrewarded but I do hope Kenya elects the best candidate and see through all the rhetoric and hate-speech.

From what I know so far ( I know very little), I won’t put their names on the ballot. Uhuru, for one, has a case pending in court and I was so happy to see Linus Kaikai, who by the way was excellent, make him squirm when he referred to his charges as “Crimes against humanity”, Talk about implicit political correctness. Raila, with his long civil service career and the perceived, though fallacious charisma may be enough to win him votes but I do think he will have a poor presidency.

Paul Muite was Mitt Romney in disguise, I don’t think a lot of people will take him serious anymore especially when he prematurely suggested he will deploy Kenya’s military against a government led by a gorilla war General in Yoweri Museveni. Paul, a simple I will look into it will have sufficed.

For Mohamed Dida, it was too far, too fast, too soon for him. However, he asked the right questions and seemed to provide good anecdotes without the punchlines. I will never work out how he remained so unaffected through the whole ordeal and was, to borrow a phrase, as calm as a monk on morphine.

Musalia Mudavadi was Musalia Mudavadi, lifeless and oblivious to what was going on. He didn’t sell his ideas, didn’t attack or challenge anyone and spent the whole evening answering questions, Go big or go home, Sir. His presence seemed at best middling and at worst piddling.

For Charity Ngilu, well sorry, Martha Karua’s ( cheap shot, yeah I know!) approach was subtle and efficient, her game graceful and faultless, and Underneath her explosive, belligerent, uh some would say, borderline psychopathic exterior, and the media refer to this as Iron lady, was by far the winner of the night. She contested every point, went as deep to issues as time would allow, uttered few rhetoric words (well may be when she said she will deploy satellites that cost millions of dollars to track a few cattle that isn’t even worth a few grand, but who could fault her? Technology seems so mystifying these days and will solve all humanity’s problem with a single click. I blame the media for this, not hers), and have casually referenced her clean, somewhat unproven track record over the years. Her calling out Raila on the ICC case won me over.

In the end, Julie Gicheru’s monotone drone and her odious subservience to being cool on TV, accompanied with her unreserved remarks of “OK, owkey! do this” ruined it for me, I registered in a VPN service just to watch the debate and not you. I guess she now can expect a stern letter from my lawyer demanding compensation. I stopped the video it just over 2 hours to come and rant over here.

Future Debates…..

I think the number of candidates should be reduced to may be four, so they can debate real issues such as healthcare, poverty reduction and sharing of resource, and all the noise could then be eliminated. Now what the candidates are doing is look calm, forthright, and use rhetorical nonsense to avoid real issues(Uhuru, I’m looking at you.)

Time should be reduced to may be 2 hours, quality over quantity.

More policy discussions and less tribal stuff, I know tribalism is contentious issue but look over at your Somali cousins, more discussion means more problem. Kenya is good as it’s. In school, my friends made fun of me being Somali, not because they hated me but how my fellow Somalis pronounced the word ‘P’ as ‘B’, same as I made fun of Kikuyus, Kikambas and Jaluos.

I want to see one of the candidates come up with an ambitious plan, like reducing Vision 2030 to may be 2020 or even 2025, I think it’s doable and discuss such things in public. Kibaki was very successful in 2002 because of his plan to tackle corruption outright, debatable if he was successful but he tried and made all Kenyans put away Mzee Moi. I guess Kibaki is the best Kenya has ever had.

Less Julie Gicheru please!

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