Martha, I remember you as a fiery young lawyer going by the name Martha Njoka
Those days, you rattled powerful people in President Moi’s government. Your courage and audacity made many admire you.
I am happy to note that the fire in you still burns.
Now you have demonstrated that you are a real warrior by resigning as minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs.
Unlike other politicians who change once they taste power, you have remained steadfast.
You are bold, too bold for the powerful men in government.
They actually fear you, but because you are a woman, and you are making dangerous blunders, they will try their best to bring you down.
That is why I have some advice for you. To defeat your enemies, change your tactics.
It is good that you have declared interest in the highest office in the land. That is why you shouldn’t use the same tactics your competitors do. You are different.
Unlike a number of them, your upbringing resonates very well with the experiences of ordinary Kenyans.
You were not born with a silver spoon between your lips. As the daughter of peasant parents, you understand poverty very well.
You are fully aware of the pangs of hunger, the devastating effects of jiggers and the suffering of a mother who has nothing to feed her children.
Some of the people you worked with did not need to struggle for leadership as you did. Use this fact to move close to the ordinary Kenyans in every corner of the country.
No one can contest the fact that you are eloquent.
But you are not using this quality to enhance your image. In a number of cases, you have been involved in shouting contests with your colleagues.
As a good debater, use this quality to cajole, persuade and endear yourself to ordinary Kenyans.
Since you are going for the top seat in the land, don’t attack everyone. Spare your breath to expound on your philosophy, ideals, values and principles.
A good number of your competitors have been implicated in corruption scandals.
For that reason, you are ahead of them. As they try to clear their names, you should be marching ahead.
We all saw you putting up a formidable defence for your party during one of the most trying moments in our history.
You fought hard for your boss and your party, but look at what they are doing to you.
They have sized you and think you do not have the pedigree for the top position. They look at you just as a “mere stubborn woman”.
Most of those who see you in this light are from your native Central Province. They want to lock you out of that important voting block to neutralise you. That is why you need to change strategy.
Since they can only mobilise along ethnic lines, do not take the same path. Ethnic ideology, as you know, is bad.
You are the kind of person who can mobilise Kenyans along the lines of a new ideology. So what is your new ideology?
You seem not to have one. Evolve one immediately. We know you are fighting corruption, yes, but put this in a framework that can appeal.
Go national with the ideology. Once you have a sizeable following in other parts of the country, your home province will fall in place.
Martha, you have another weapon which you have never used. Do you know that it is good to be a woman?
Use the secrets of your femininity to charm Kenyans to declare they want to try a woman for the top seat. Do you know the secrets of femininity? Through self-effacing strategies, women rule the world.
Go for the hearts of Kenyans. Women disarm men using this tactic. Borrow heavily from this inborn quality.
Sometimes you should present yourself as a Cinderella in need of their support. Tell Kenyans that it is time for a Mama.
Use all means at your disposal to appeal to Wanjiku in every village.
Repair your image with the media. At the moment, I am sure you know that you have not strongly come out to defend the media. Free media will be useful to you.
Lastly, don’t take on everyone at the same time. Know when to retreat and when to attack. When you take on everyone at the same time, you give your enemies enough ammunition to neutralise you.
Before I forget, please Martha, get some little time and study Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power.
It will give you great insights into this game you are involved in. I wish you success.
Prof Kabaji is a Fulbright scholar in Residence based in Pennsylvania, USA. (firstname.lastname@example.org)