Dear Governor Ann Kananu, a journalist and a fisherman have one thing in common: They will both often have to rue the one that got away.
On my laptop has been lying the intro to a missive addressed to Your Excellency.
Sometime before the court challenges to your assumption of office were exhausted, I started penning unsolicited advice on what you must do as governor lest you be condemned to a footnote in the annals of the capital city.
The one that got away was the warning that you must develop ... umm, er ... gonads of steel.
This was not just in respect to the challenge of running a city where the civic leadership is populated by the most uncivil types but the risk of crossing your benefactor, ousted Governor Mike Sonko.
If you had ever been part of the Sonko groupies on the party scene and overseas junkets, heavy duty shock absorbers are an absolute necessity. Your predecessor has an unmatched penchant for surreptitious video and audio recording of private conversations, drinking binges and intimate encounters.
Any acquaintance who provokes his ire is sooner or later bound to be victim of the clandestine recordings.
Woe unto you if you have ever told Mr Sonko a personal secret, given him confidential information on a third party or shared salacious gossip, prohibited substances or inappropriate coupling.
Even if you have never got mixed up in close engagements, Mr Sonko can be relied upon to dredge up your ‘best friends’ to lay out the dirt on video.
My warning never made it to print before Mr Sonko struck again.
His main target may have been High Court Judge Said Chitembwe, who played a substantial role in throwing out legal challenges to his impeachment and your swearing-in, but you were similarly in the radar.
The salacious and murky details of ‘Sonko’s Revenge’ executed in sensational social media episodes must serve as a rude welcome to the dirty world of politics.
You may feel like bowing your head in shame and throwing in the towel. Realisation might hit that you were never meant to be governor. You were simply the muse expected to jump to Mr Sonko’s every command, the pawn in power games as he cocked a snook at the powerful Establishment around President Uhuru Kenyatta that he blamed for his ejection from City Hall.
Well, you showed some mettle in grabbing the opportunity with both hands and in and showing Mr Sonko where he can jump off. But you would have known that the petulant brat would not take rejection lying down: He has hit back on social media but, unless you know that he has more damaging tapes, you have to hang in there.
But henceforth, it must not be about simply being a wallflower in unexpected bonus but making Nairobi a better place. Of course, we all know that you inherited a denuded office. The most important governorship in Kenya was left bare after Mr Sonko signed away the most important functions to a national government overlord.
You are currently not in position to challenge President Kenyatta’s almost childlike fascination with the military; so, the best you can do is work closely with his handpicked Lt-Gen Mohammed Badi, who runs the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.
You have lost authority on critical functions such as roads, transport, health, water, sanitation and housing but you can still make a mark with the ‘little’ things that are critical to the realisation of the bigger picture.
Go read up on the adage of ‘one broken window’ and get about fixing all of them before the whole house comes tumbling down. In the process, the moustachioed general will realise that he needs you as much as you need him.
Reclaim lost glory
Make him a partner rather than a rival or boss.
Give your ideas on how the capital city can reclaim lost glory. You can make it your business to fix the disgraceful public toilets. Ensure that streets are swept, garbage collected and grass mowed.
Launch a campaign to identify for reclamation all the grabbed public playgrounds.
For selfish reasons, I’d point you to one in Nairobi West, between Gandhi Avenue and Kisauni Road, now occupied by a private health enterprise. By the way, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga should have an interest in that one, having led protests against the grabbers when he was area MP.
Pay serious attention to the explosion in numbers of street families, beggars, ‘parking boys’ and attendant crime, and seek the social interventions necessary.
Just start fixing each broken window.
[email protected] @MachariaGaitho