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The best of the first Nairobi gubernatorial debate

“I will take all the golf courses and build shops on them for the hawkers,” said Macharia/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – Nairobi’s first 2017 gubernatorial candidates’ debate was reduced to a contest between the incumbent Evans Kidero and the contender Miguna Miguna.

In what was a no hold barred affair, the two candidates tore into each other’s plans for the city bare knuckles in a ‘take no hostage’ debate style.

The incumbent Kidero claimed that Miguna lacks practical management experience and therefore can only talk about theories which will be hard to implement.

“Let’s not confuse an activist for a manager. For someone who has never been a manager before, it is easy to point fingers and have theoretical ideas of how the city can be changed,” said Kidero.

Miguna did not take long to send a rebuttal Kidero’s way on allegations that he is an activist and not a manager.

“Evans Kidero was hiding under the bed when we were busy liberating this country,” quipped Miguna.

Miguna threw the integrity question in the debate when asked about his plan for growing the city.

“A city cannot grow when there is no integrity,” affirmed Miguna.

In a veiled attack directed towards Miguna, Kidero said that there are many allegations that have been leveled against Miguna, but they remain just that.

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“An allegation remains an allegation until it is proven otherwise. You have been mentioned in a number of scandals that I would not dare repeat here, does that make you guilty?” asked Kidero.

On the physical planning of the city, Kidero decried the lack of an urban plan that has paralysed Nairobi and reduced it to a massive slum.

“There was no functional planning that was guiding the growth of the city. When we came on board, we worked with JICA to establish the first urban planning. We also came up with the communities and neighbourhood Act that guides the growth of the city,” explained Kidero.

Macharia Kamungu who is also a candidate vying on a Democratic Party’s (DP) ticket, almost got booed by the audience when he said that he will take Nairobi National Park and give the land to needy families in a bid to sort out the congestion in the CBD.

“My ideas are very radical. Let’s take the Nairobi National park and build houses in it for the poor,” said Macharia.

He also added that given the chance, he’d convert the city’s golf courses into trading centres for hawkers.

“I will take all the golf courses and build shops on them for the hawkers,” said Macharia.

Tasked with explaining how he would take possession of the park or the golf courses without breaking the law, he said that there was nothing wrong with breaking bad laws.

“If the end is good, and will help all Nairobians, I will break all the bad laws and forcefully repossess the golf courses,” said Macharia amidst booing from a section of the audience.

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Miguna who said he intends to build a light rail and subway system just as Ethiopia has, was taken to task to explain how he will raise the money for his ‘grand’ ideas.

“Some of these candidates should first familiarise themselves with how the county works. Maybe then, they will come up with practical ideas,” added Kidero.

In what appeared to be ‘on a light note’, Kidero – on two occasions – pleaded with the moderators to “protect” him from Miguna whom he accused of having big hands that could throw a jab.

“Please protect me from Miguna,” Kidero pleaded with the moderators. “Can’t you see how big his hands are? And he looks agitated.”

The event which was organised by Kenya Alliance of Residents Association (KARA) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) was however skipped by Peter Kenneth and Mike Sonko who sent his running mate Polycarp Igathe.

Other candidates who attended the event included Godfrey Wanyoike who is an independent candidate, and Michael Mutinda of the Agano Party.


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