Where to begin… Well, a couple weeks ago together with what I would call a bloggers target group I attended a round table discussion with Presidential candidate Raphael Tuju. I do not know the wisdom behind me making to be part of the audience but I was pleasantly surprised at the turn of events at the gathering. It was a semi-formal setting, round table, some coffees and beers, questions and answers and general banter.
I must give it to ‘Rapho’, as he fondly explained how his children call him. He came through as a very sober character, what I have always thought him to be; even after the ‘sheng’ promo-ad. Of course he was put to task, extensively to explain why and how he got to that decision. Any other person would have bowed to pressure from the animated conversation and suggestions to pull down the advert but he didn’t. He instead affirmed his stand, the advert was meant to create a buzz, and it did, at least in circles that I subscribe to. As @NiNanjira put it at the said meeting, publicity is just that; publicity.
I am interested in things Economy. Raphael’s scope is wide on the subject is wide, and informed. I sunk in my chair with a smile as he went on detailing the Chinese interest in Africa, since the early 1950’s when they built relationship with the African nations such as Algeria, Zambia and Egypt to create a foundation for negotiation pitted against the west’s issues with the Chinese – Hong Kong and Chinese – Taipei. The relationship of course has evolved through decades, with interests and partnerships through other African countries Kenya included. With the world’s G8 having weakened and the emergence of the G20 informed by the growth in other emerging world super powers and democracies, he detailed their dominance in their region, economically so to speak with clarity and passion.
Raphael also to a great extent detailed the strength our nation had in the 70’s and 80’s before the full effects of the attempted coup and the fight for multiparty politics taking centre stage, leaving us lagging behind to date from nations we compared favorably with; some who even relied and adopted some of our Structural Adjustment Programmes that have since seen countries like Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea develop to be at the centre stage of innovation to become economic powerhouses in their region and globally. Clearly we missed steps, a whole lot of steps and this candidate, Raphael Tuju thinks, believes he is the man to make that difference.
He got one thing right over the Vice President’s meet up; he had value at his meeting. He communicated his agenda better and he had a focus group that was basically interested in just understanding his interest in running for the said office. I was particularly impressed with his answers to the question on whether he is a stooge to ‘spoil votes’ for yet another candidate from his region. He went to a great extent explaining what his running for office in 2007 was like. He had a simple option to just tell his people he had made a mistake in the previous election, apologize and seek the said candidate’s ticket… His retention of the Rarieda seat would have been easy and assured but he says he is a man of principle and holds his own ideology on what things political and development should be like. He cannot compromise his values for a position for his interests, he can only work hard to excel and to change his people’s perspective. With the difficulty and challenge that gave him, Raphael still managed to garner half the votes his opponent did, Impressive.
But lets get some things right, my opinion. Raphael is a cool guy, he probably has a chance at this country’s leadership, he is a well informed person and seems pretty much that whatever office he will hold, he will make a difference. He did make difference in his landmark repossession of the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (K.I.C.C) from the grabbing hands of the K.A.N.U party, publicly so. He instituted some reforms in Information, Communication and helped to set up policy that was geared to positively regulate our mischievous mainstream media. He has worked with the current President and has been in government, he made a whole lot of significant difference for the people of Rarieda as their MP but in a nutshell, Raphael is not going to be President, at least not in 2012.
The dynamics of our politics are beyond being a gentleman and showing your track record. He is not going to be our Barack Obama, just yet. He should probably use this as a foundation to build his profile to the larger bit of Kenyans in view of future elections. I say so because I asked him how he really intends to get to statehouse, and he did not answer that question, he did not even have a party by the time we had the meeting, he was not sure which people he wanted to form alliances with and he did not give straight answers to what he would do in event that an alliance with corrupt and notoriously no reforming folks came to play to his favor. Running for President is much more than just being cool, being the good guy and having a fair track record. Nonetheless, I wish him well, I am not yet sure whom I’ll vote for, maybe there is still chance. So, Rapho and other guys out there, Kimechu and like, give us the meal, not the salad. I hate cabbage…and garbage… ouch.
That aside, I entered some course nomination papers a couple months ago; to travel around Asia and learn a whole lot of things about SME’s, MFI’s, Finance and Economics together with some other ten Africans… This is probably the most fun I have had in a while. For those who know me better, the actual fun is outside the class… I will have some interesting blog posts here, in the meantime, there is this Ethiopian…Got to go now! Ha!
Till Then, Cheers!