Former aide to Mr Raila Odinga and author of Peeling Back the Mask’, Miguna Miguna, who has declared he will contest for governorship of Nairobi as an independent candidate, spoke with KINGWA KAMENCU.
What happened with your candidacy in 2013? You had announced you were running to be Nairobi governor.
I had the intention, but when I analysed the situation, I saw it was not viable. It was too soon after my fallout with Raila and my candidature would have attracted diversionary issues. This is the right time.
Despite your experiences after you published your book – being attacked and maligned – you still came back to engage in politics. What inspires this?
It’s my ideology. I’m a committed transformationalist. This is the difference between me and the other candidates.
They believe in the status quo while I believe in restructuring it for the benefit of all. Apart from integrity, which I believe is the cornerstone to leadership – my ideology is not to rest until I’ve done all that I believe I can do to make life better than I found it for everyone. I can’t stop. There’s too much injustice in the world – especially in Kenya.
Kenya has a lot of potential it is not utilising. Cuba has free education until university. It has the best health care system in the world yet it, too, is a developing country like Kenya.
Canada where I have lived and worked has free health care for all and free and compulsory education from kindergarten to high school. The tax rate in Canada and Kenya is the same. So why can’t we have the same services and utilities?
Coming back to Kenya’s politics, do you think we’re going to see violence in the 2017 elections?
That’s a difficult one. But the tensions are there, the signals are bad, the utterances by politicians are worrying. So, there is a risk. Right now all the ingredients for catastrophic elections are there. Cord right now is presenting a narrative that Jubilee will steal the election.
Jubilee is saying it will win because Cord has surrendered. These are very bad utterances. We’re facing a very bad situation, but most people might not realise it.
What will you do differently as Nairobi governor?
First of all, there will be no corruption. Because corruption is the number one enemy of development and entrepreneurship in Nairobi. Hundreds of billions are lost in corruption; money that if was utilised well, would lead to the creation of jobs. Unemployment right now is over 75 per cent among the youth, most of them graduates.
This is a ticking time bomb. Second, I would build infrastructure: roads, a solid waste management system, sewers and storm drainage system. I would build decent, modest and affordable houses for the homeless which is what the slum dwellers are. I don’t want “slum upgrading;” that is rubbish.
I want to eradicate slums so that we can build housing for the people. Third, tribalism would be history in Nairobi. People would be hired on the basis of integrity and qualifications only. I want to bring honour to governance and public service.
How are you going to fund the campaign – through your own pockets or that of friends?
My campaign is being run fully by volunteers and from small donations by residents. I don’t accept donations from the cartels.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
In terms of strengths, I am meticulous, I work hard, I’m disciplined, very focused. As for my weakness, I don’t have enough fun. I’m a workaholic.
I also don’t tolerate stupidity. It’s a weakness because I don’t have the patience to cushion blubbering idiots.