“The media was wrong like they are always wrong. The pundits were wrong. The bookies were wrong. The OPINION POLLS were RIGGED,” tweeted the fiery Nairobi Governor hopeful Miguna Miguna.
Since he declared his candidature for the Governor’s position of Nairobi, his rallying call has been about clearing corruption and stopping the cartels. In his numerous TV interviews especially on Jeff Koinange Live, he has constantly focused on painting a picture of a man who is not tainted by the webs of corruption that in his words have crippled the current holder of the office.
But how true is it that Miguna Miguna can ‘surprise’ Nairobi County as Donald Trump did to the US? For me, I think it is stretching the imagination too long and milking unnecessary fame for anyone to compare Trump’s ‘unpredictable’ victory and Miguna Miguna’s gubernatorial candidature.
Well, their egos might rival each other but remember that Trump’s persona, as a celebrity billionaire is different from Miguna’s who has cut an image of a serious intellectual drowning in his own arrogance. The son of Kano has cut out a public image as a brainy lawyer and not a celebrity politician.
First, Donald Trump’s message was so compelling that it forced segments of society that had never voted in large numbers to come out and cast their votes. He stirred their fears and raised their hopes. He reminded them of the ‘old good’ days that America enjoyed. Remember that some of these promises and words were merely populists but not necessarily factual.
He appealed to those who are oppressed by heavy taxation and the shifting tectonic plates of the new age of technology and foreign manufacturing deals. His message painted her opponent as crooked Hillary.
But even in the GOP primaries, he was always good at giving his opponents tag names that were demeaning and typical of a bully. He called Jeb Bush low in energy. He referred to Rubio as little Rubio. He systematically decimated his opponents in a mafia style starting with the strongest then finishing with the weakest. His message was very simple; Make America great again. It’s one of the best slogans in recent political times. It almost rivalled Obama’s yes we can.
What does Miguna Miguna stand for? What does he believe in? The more I listen to him, I only hear him compare our nation to Canada. He is proposing to develop underground train system in a place that used to be a swamp.
He is talking about grand plans that might not resonate well with the ordinary voter. While it’s good for us to be put on a scale of competing with the global giants, I believe that it is misplaced for the prospective governor to use an example of a far away country.
He must understand his audience. Who votes in Nairobi? Is it the middle-class guy who keeps tweeting or the industrial area casual labourer who goes back to his house in an informal settlement?
If he understood the needs of his audience, he would be able to package a message that resonates with the over 60% of Nairobi residents who live below Kshs 10,000 a month. These people don’t care about vocabularies. They surely don’t care about someone’s polished English. Neither does someone whose only claim of experience is writing a book ‘snitching’ on his boss move the voting masses in Nairobi.
Miguna Miguna must do better; at least if he is serious about the Governor’s position. He must cut down the rhetoric and climb down the ladder of his seemingly ivory tower of a complicated life. He needs to go to the level of his target audience. Remember that KOT might love you, but their voting influence is extremely limited, at least looking at what happened to Peter Kenneth in March 2013 elections.
Donald Trump has always had a political constituency. He took his time to study them and he knew their needs. He then packaged a message that resonated with them. He defied all odds erected against him and won despite not holding any other political office before. He beat someone who has had 30 years experience in public life as a first lady, senator and a secretary of state. He beat her hands down on his first shot to the public office life.
What is Miguna’s political constituency? It’s good for us to be realistic. In Kenya, our voting patterns are generally advised by our ethnic affiliations. The political figurehead of our communities by far and large decides whom we support. Now, Miguna might not appeal to the Luo community because of the perception that he ‘betrayed’ their own in the 2013 elections.
Peeling back the mask and kidneys for the king books were largely interpreted as a well-calculated move sponsored by the enemies of their community to deny their son a chance to lead the country. Adding salt to injury is the fact that he was a trusted aide to Raila.
So who will vote for Miguna? Is he banking on the Kikuyu nation or the Kalenjin nation? Or perhaps he is banking on the generosity of the Kamba community to pull a trump on us. Well, the reality is that the liberal urban Nairobi who forms a very small percentage of the voting bloc cannot save Miguna.
If he is serious, he may as well identify a political constituency to appeal to so that he can boost his chances of winning. Or at least if he loses, it happens graciously.
Money is necessary to have the electoral machines moving. Donald J Trump is the wealthiest president in the history of the entire US. The celebrity billionaire at some point funded his elections from his personal coffers.
Miguna Miguna, on the other hand, boasts of having a house in Runda and two books to his name. He says that he built a successful law firm in Canada. Well, nobody knows the net worth of the said law firm. Nobody knows how much money he owns. While in politics, its either you have the money or the people or you have both. Miguna has no political constituency and I don’t think he also has deep pockets to oil the wheels of his campaign.
This will be the biggest obstacle that he must overcome. It will be an uphill task for him to fundraise when his campaign doesn’t seem to be promising. No one bets on a losing horse.
But maybe we are analysing a man who is not keen on winning. Maybe he has the plan to attract the right attention that he will then milk to his advantage. Only time will tell.