Dear Peter Kenneth, congratulations for finally being decisive. As Plato said, one of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
I personally believe that regardless of the party you chose to vie through, you are likely to save us from the pending and inevitable total meltdown of the city. Over four years after the elections, we have humongous rats majestically roaming our streets in broad daylight.
The city is in such a mess that we urgently need a hero to dismantle the cartels, restore the glory of the city and make life easy for the residents.
We urgently need someone to rescue us from the pending Sonkonization of the city.
In the March 2013 elections, a section of Kenyans begged you to vie for the city’s gubernatorial seat. You, however, decided to go for the top seat against overwhelming evidence that you weren’t going to make much headway with the decision. As a believer in rising after a fall, I know that you have grabbed important lessons from the disaster that was your presidential elections in 2013.
However, as you move forward to battle it out for the city’s gubernatorial seat, I have a few suggestions for you:
Politics isn’t a logical game
Your attempts to be logical and realistic were noticed and well applauded. We were awed by your ability to speak fluent facts that made a lot of sense. Thank you for trying but the time to move on from that brand of politics is now. Politics isn’t a game of logic only. You must connect with people. Connect with their hearts; fears, aspirations, ambitions, challenges and such.
People will only care when they know that you care much. Speaking to their logic alone doesn’t yield much, you must be willing to inspire hope and whip up their emotions so that they can follow you. Elections in Kenya have been won through euphoria. A state of ecstasy and delirium are great catalysts for election victory. There is not a single candidate who has mounted a logical campaign and won.
When I was vying for the post of president in the university where I pursued my undergraduate studies, I made sure that all my policies made sense. I ensured that my manifesto was going to solve the issues that the students had been raising over time. In fact, I was convinced that the university being Christian, urban and elite, it was going be a walk in the park to speak to their logical sense.
Well, that’s a lesson I’ll never forget. My opponent sang, he spoke generally, and he won. The next day when results were announced, I was 12 votes less to clinch the coveted seat. But I learnt a lot of lessons through the process. I learnt that human beings are just human beings. Regardless of how learned or exposed they are, one must do those basic fundamental things that speak to them. And one of them is to appeal to emotion over logic.
Relate with people
The image you cut is that of an elitist. Sadly, perception is a reality. In a nation where the majority reside in rural areas and the ones who live in urban areas dwell in the informal settlements, your polished English will be an insult to many. You need to ensure that the image you cut out is of an ordinary man.
Uhuru Kenyatta is probably more elitist than you are but he has managed to cut the image of an ordinary man who can mingle with people from all walks of life. Raila is equally elitist but he cuts the image of an ordinary man who understands the problems that afflict ordinary people.
I hope your Public Relations team is crafting a good plan to help you drop the limiting image that can only appeal to the urban affluent who are a minority. We want to see you eating githeri in mathari Valley. Let’s see you folding your sleeves and doing the cleaning in Dandora and such areas. Sponsor football tournaments in ordinary places and ensure that you get coverage. Speak a bit of sheng and use relatable words. Bring out your Bahati estate self with vigour and pride. Demystify who PK is. Unpack your ordinary, relatable self and let it appeal to the people of Nairobi.
One of the veils that messed you up in 2013 is the joke perpetuated by the middle-class section of Kenyans that you could win the presidency. It was a mirage, a joke stretched too far and you swallowed it hook and line. Please wake up from that opium of lies you smoked in 2013 and smell the coffee. Simply because online conversations are favourable towards you doesn’t make you a winning candidate. It probably got into your head and you bought the lie that you were a serious contender.
Elections are not won on Twitter, they are won at the ballot. And it takes sweat, blood and tears to convince people that you have what it takes to lead this great Nation. It takes a strategic team that can help you craft a winning formula regardless of the opinion polls and their erroneous predictions.
Return fire with fire. Poach a good running mate who will complement you. You must do what other contenders do. Get dirty literally, traverse the county, sell your agenda, hire the right campaign team. Conduct the campaign like your life depended on it. If you don’t do that, this time round your results will be less than the highest retweets you have ever garnered.
There can only be two leading horses in Kenya’s political scene.
In 2013, the choice was between Jubilee and CORD. Anyone who tried to put himself in the race was going to lose. History has shown us that in Kenya’s political scene at any particular election, we usually have just two leading horses. One might be way ahead than the other but in Kenya, the idea of a third force is yet to happen. That is a national reality and a county reality too.
Currently, we have an incumbent Governor who enjoys support from a big party. He doesn’t seem to have any challenge within his party. But in the Jubilee Party, you have to deal with the fact that Mike Sonko could be more popular than you are. The race is too crowded.
What will it take you to have them back you up? Seeking endorsement from JP honchos? Defending Uhuru Kenyatta at every turn? Being vocal and attending rallies to boost your presence? Having a more active online presence than your competitors?
You must do something drastic. Because as it is, you are a late entrant to the race. But because of the brand you have cut for yourself, it is very easy to win favour with the party officials for them to back you. Go for it.
Finally, as Martin Luther King, Jr said, the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict. There is a perception being created that you were neutral when our nation was battling with moral dilemmas. Find a way to counter that stereotype. Prove that silence didn’t mean consent.
All the best as you fight out for the Governor’s post in Nairobi county.
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