The shocker hit the airwaves like a comet from space. The beleaguered Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has nominated political lightning rod and NRM firebrand Miguna Miguna to be the new Deputy Governor of Nairobi County…
Predictably, the nonplussing move sent shockwaves through the political spectrum and rendered tongues wagging to infinity. “They called each other names, he dubbed him cartel, functionally illiterate….how can they work together?…”
Miguna has since rejected the offer, terming it a malicious distraction. But it is how Kenyans reacted, toying with the idea of the fire-spitting general deputizing Sonko, who seems overwhelmed.
Well, there are acres of print and live cases to buttress Sonko’s choice. Just look around you. The ink has yet to dry on the vaunted “handshake” between Uhuru and Raila. Tellingly, the handshake hubbub was witnessed in parliament during the State-of-the-nation address and crescendoed with Uhuru shaking Babu Owino’s hand much to the chagrin of parliamentarians.
If the President had no qualms making peace with his hitherto political arch-nemesis Raila Odinga and then turned around and shook the hand of a political newbie who made a killing out of calling the president derisive sobriquets, then why can’t two men who went after each other in a political contest not reconcile and work together for the betterment of Nairobi?
For the twosome, the talking points can’t be any simpler. Here are a few examples:
Raila and Kibaki went after each other in one of the most controversial and deadly elections in the history of Kenya, but they later worked together and ushered a new Kenya complete with new superhighways and a stable economy, they delivered a new constitutional order! It is because of them working to inculcate devolution in the new Constitution, that we are able to partner together as Governor and Deputy Governor-designate of Nairobi County.
In 2007, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President WSR were on the opposite sides of the political spectrum but five years later, they would unite to give Kenyans a dominant political juggernaut.
Beyond our shores, history is replete with cases of political foes coming together in the interest of national comity and development. We remember Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson, and surely, we can’t forget Obama and Hillary Clinton, JFK and LBJ etc.
Governor Sonko and Dr Miguna had a tough campaign. They gallivanted the streets of Nairobi making their cases to Nairobians and in the end, the voters chose Sonko. Since each candidate had a vision for Nairobi, this new “team of rivals” as Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin laid out in her classic book, will give Nairobians a punchy policy concoction that will put Nairobi on a path to prosperity.
We all wanted Nairobi to succeed albeit with different ideas of going about it. This combination will give Nairobians the best of both worlds.
In Miguna, we would have had a fearless crime-buster and attorney at law who will be a breath of fresh at City Hall.
Lastly, in mathematical parlance, if X is equal to 2 and Y is equal to 5, the answer to the simultaneous equation remains the same no matter which method of evaluation is deployed. Nairobians may be destined for greatness, we are just using different formulas.
Mike Dande is a political analyst based in Washington DC