Consequently, Governor Kidero is now in the list of the select few with hotline connection to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Sources at both State House and the City Hall who talked to us confirmed that Kidero, who the President fondly addresses as “Bwana Governor”, is now in constant consultation with State House on a “wide range of issues” and not just City Hall affairs.
So good is the rapport between the two high offices that it did not escape observers that on President Kenyatta’s first and so far only visit to Nyanza region last month, he flew in the same plane with Kidero.
The president had flown to Kisumu to attend the burial of immediate former secretary general of the Kenya National Union of Teachers, the late David Okuta.
We have reliably been informed that on the morning the president was to fly to Kisumu, State House telephoned Governor Kidero to inform him that the president wished to travel with him.
The other VIP in the president’s plane was Kericho Senator Charles Keter. Two key players in the State House/City Hall rapport are Kidero’s chief of staff Mr George Wainaina and Nairobi businessman Mr Jimmy Wanjigi.
Wainaina is a long time personal friend to both President Kenyatta and Governor Kidero. He was the first person to hold an electoral seat on the then ruling party, Kanu, ticket following return of multi-party politics in the 1990s. That was the time when retired president Daniel Moi was making strenuous efforts to initiate young Uhuru into politics.
Wainaina had been elected a Kanu councillor in Kiambaa division, Kiambu county, a rare achievement that Moi used to convince Uhuru to make his debut in politics under the Kanu banner though the party was then treated as a pariah in central Kenya. Wainaina was to play a key role in the campaign to have Uhuru elected Member of Parliament on a Kanu ticket in the 1997 election.
All along, he had been close to Kidero, then the chief executive of pharmaceutical firm, Glaxo Smithkline. On the other hand, Jimmy Wanjigi, a well known power broker, was Uhuru’s schoolmate at Saint Mary’s School in the 1970s.
He is a seasonal deal-maker with keys to virtually every political and business door in town. Getting Uhuru and Kidero to do business, say sources, has largely been made easy by the fact that the two have an agreeing chemistry that make them get along effortlessly well.
They are not only age-mates but have their roots deep in Thika district of Kiambu County.
Uhuru has his family roots in Gatundu area of Thika district while Kidero spent six years (Form one to six) at Mang’u High School where he was school captain and chairman of the Christian Union.
Majority in Kidero inner-circles are people he met at Mang’u and who have remained close friends, advisers or business associates, including his chief of staff, Wainaina.
Behind the scenes activities aside, Uhuru and Kidero themselves have publicly stated that the season for politics is over and that the national government and respective county governments should work together without undue regard to political loyalties in the last General Election.
Speaking in Nyeri county last weekend, President Kenyatta said his government will closely work with all 47 Governors irrespective of their party affiliation to enable the Jubilee government deliver on its’ manifesto in every corner of the country.
The president said: “I will work with each of the 47 governors in the country for the good of all citizens of this republic. The success of the governors will be my success as well.” On more than one occasion during the Nyeri tour, the president insisted that he would be working hand in gloves with the Nyeri Governor, Nderitu Gachagua.
The Nyeri County head is the only governor in central Kenya not elected on the president’s TNA party. He came in through the Grand National Union (GNU) party which was not even an affiliate party to the ruling Jubilee Alliance. “You elected Gachagua as your governor and that is your decision”, the president said in Nyeri. “As the president, I will work with the person you elected.
I will ensure Gachagua’s agenda for your county is achieved”. And speaking in Nairobi the same week, Kidero, who came in on opposition Cord coalition ticket, was quoted delivering the same message as President Kenyatta. “As Nairobi governor I will disregard politics of the last election and closely work with the central government”, Kidero had told his audience at a City Hall function.
He said there was so much that brings together Nairobi County and the central government that none could work to the exclusion of the other. As the capital city and controlling over 60 percent of the country’s GDP, no central government can afford to work in exclusion of the Nairobi County government.
The capital is not only the seat of the central government, but that of the foreign embassies as well as multilateral institutions and corporations the central government has to deal with on daily basis. Besides, a huge chunk of the central government budget has to be spent in the capital city in virtually every facet of development; from health to infrastructure to education and health.
Such projects are either entirely funded by the central government or through grants and loans secured by the central government. Politically, Kidero and Uhuru need one another given that control of city politics is virtually a tie, with the Cord coalition having majority of just one in the county assembly.
The latter has 43 elected county representatives against Jubilee’s 42. For Governor Kidero, working closely with State House is also not just a matter of numbers but some sort of leverage against elements in his own political party, the ODM, who were never sold to his candidacy in the first place.
It is an open secret that party top brass were not for Kidero as the person for Nairobi gubernatorial seat, on reasoning that coming from the same region as the ODM presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, he did not have much to bring to the table in Kenya’s ethnic-based politics.
On that score, ODM’s preferred choice for Nairobi governorship was former assistant minister Margaret Wanjiru but who was knocked out at the nomination level on a matter of technicality.
And even though Kidero went ahead to secure the ODM ticket, there were murmurs that top luminaries in the Cord coalition were rooting for the immediate former city clerk, Philip Kisia, who was also vying on a Cord ticket but on sponsorship of Cyrus Jirongo’s Federal Party of Kenya, a Cord affiliate.
Close confidants of Kidero say that a good number of functionaries in the ODM inner circle have to date refused to warm up to the Governor, a situation that could be made worse by his emerging good rapport with State House.-