A requiem for Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero’s political career

Evans Kidero, the Governor of Nairobi in the clutches of a woman-beating scandal, last weekend missed an opportunity to rescue his political career.

First, he suffered memory loss and could not remember slapping anybody. Then he recovered from his initial shock and crossed the town to report at the Central Police Station that he had indeed been slapped by Nairobi Women’s Representative Rachel Shebesh.

By Saturday morning, having reviewed amateur video footage of the slap, Mr Kidero had made sufficient and full recovery to instruct his County Executive Secretary for Information, Communication and e-Government to issue a statement.

In it, he said that Ms Shebesh had groped his privates, thus disgusting and humiliating him into reacting with lightning speed.

By this time, the tweeps and other social media animals were roasting Kidero’s T-bone, having dispatched the tender parts to ingesting destinations.

Mr Kidero’s sudden misfortunes come at a time when he has been profligately cohabiting with the political enemy. Even though elected on an Orange Democratic Movement ticket within the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy Alliance, Mr Kidero has seemed a more natural fit with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Alliance than Cord’s Raila Odinga.

Even though he performed memorably poorly in a pre-election television debate with Ferdinand Waititu, and is still fighting an election petition in the courts, some consider him a possible presidential candidate in five years.

He has been linked to successful efforts to arrange meetings between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cord leader Raila Odinga. With his tribulations coming when the President is preoccupied with his case at the International Criminal Court, it remains to be seen if he will move to save the Governor. If he does, it will be to weaken him and turn him into his errands man.

Yet, Mr Kidero could have changed the script so dramatically and catapulted himself onto the presidential ballot in 2017 by one simple step. He could have signed a settlement with Ms Shebesh for non-criminal action and paid her off.

Then he should have subsequently called a media conference to express his deep regret at having acted so out of character. He might have spoken about the strains and frustrations of office, the folly of his error, and his desire to continue to serve in some other capacity in the future.

He should have said that he recognises how the Kenyan people expect a higher and better standard from their leaders. And that he hoped that in the future, they might find it in their hearts to forgive him and permit him to contribute to this country’s greatness. Exit stage left.

That is how Ted Kennedy, a presidential candidate in the 1974 US election, got off Chappaquiddick: He drove home inebriated with a young woman and crashed the car into a river. He left her in the car, and went home to sleep. “I hope the American people find it their hearts to forgive me” comes from Mr Kennedy’s contrition speech. He died a respected politician, revered as the Lion of the Senate.

As for Mr Kidero, he seems to be heading to the title of former Governor of Nairobi.



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