Gideon Mike Mbuvi Sonko lost his powerful office as Nairobi Governor after the Senate voted for his removal, affirming county assembly’s decision to impeach him on grounds of gross violation of the Constitution, abuse of office, gross misconduct, and other crimes under the national law.
Sonko’s predicament elicited mixed reactions from Kenyans, because of the love-hate relationship he had forged. Some Kenyans were literally rejoicing after his ouster, while others felt that the will of the over 800,000 Nairobians who voted for him in 2017 had been betrayed by ‘the system’.
For these 10 Kenyans, Sonko’s ouster was cause for celebration:
- Evans Kidero
The first Governor of Nairobi City County, Evans Kidero, is definitely not a sad man after the impeachment of Mike Sonko.
When Kidero was the chief executive at City Hall, Sonko was the senator for Nairobi. Throughout the five-year term, the duo did not see eye to eye.
Sonko was constantly accusing Governor Kidero of corruption and mismanaging county resources. Without mincing his words, Sonko on numerous occasions referred to Kidero as the face of ‘cartel’ in Nairobi.
Some senators differing with their governors on how their respective counties are run is not a rare occurrence, but it was only Sonko-Kidero one that turned violent during one of Senate committee hearings in June 2016.
Senators who witnessed the scuffle say that Kidero had only gone to demand an explanation from his senator over his allegations of involvement in a murder case, only for Sonko to throw punches at the then county boss.
Sonko successfully dislodged Kidero from City Hall in the August 2017 elections. While whishing his successor all the best when he was handing over power, Kidero told Sonko “It is very different to talk while outside, wait until you are inside so that you can see how things are done.”
2. Mohammed Badi
When MCAs were impeaching Governor Sonko, one of the charges against him was, “frustrating the work of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).”
While appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Administration, NMS boss Mohammed Badi accused Sonko of frustrating the agency’s effort of transforming the city.
Apparently, Sonko has been questioning and challenging each and every move made by NMS. NMS has been lamenting that some of its projects are stalling because of Sonko’s refusal to approve the Nairobi City County Appropriations Bill, 2020, which could have seen NMS get KSh27.1 billion to hasten its projects.
Badi will be hoping that the next governor will be cooperative to NMS, unlike Sonko.
3. Janet Ouko
In January 2019, former Nairobi County Education CEC Janet Muthoni Ouko resigned citing frustrations and intimidation from the then Governor Sonko. However, Sonko slammed Ouko claiming she misused bursary funds.
He accused her of being in cahoots with other individuals who together operated an illegal bank account where county funds were channeled.
Ouko also accused Sonko of disrespecting her and making defamatory statements against her. She appeared as a witness during Sonko’s impeachment trial at the Senate, and she was about to shed tears when she explained how Sonko mistreated her.
4. Esther Passaris
Sonko and Passaris have had a love-hate relationship throughout their tenure as the City’s governor and woman representative respectively.
The two have previously worked together in executing a few projects for the benefit of Nairobians. However, all hell broke loose during 2019’s Madaraka Day celebrations.
In her speech just before the Governor, Passaris accused Sonko of sidelining her on matters county leadership and even snubbing her phone calls. She had also questioned Sonko’s source of wealth.
In retaliation, Sonko exploded! “Mimi si bwana yako, ati niwe nashika simu yako wakati unataka, kwa hivyo hapo tuheshimiane,” he said. Unable to stomach it, Passaris stood and walked out of the event amid shouts from the crowd.
5. Kalembe Ndile
Former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile also locked horns with Sonko. In July 2020, Ndile reported Sonko to the police for threatening his life and abusing him during a telephone conversation.
In audio that was leaked, Sonko is heard insulting Ndile with unprintable words, for doing shoddy work in an unstated project in Embakasi.
Ndile had called Sonko to demand for payment after having completed the project, and this irked Sonko.
“The above named has reported a case of threatening vide our OB 77/9/7/2020 against HON. MICHAEL MBUVI SONKO (Nairobi governor) but due to the personality involved we have referred the complainant to your office for assistance,” read a police letter to the head of DCI, George Kinoti.
6. Mildred Awiso of Buyer Beware
It all started with a post Awiso made on popular Facebook page, Buyer Beware, of corruption allegations against Governor Mike Sonko.
As combative as Sonko has proved to be, he accused Awiso of being used by his political opponents, threatening to file a libel complaint against Awiso if she does not provide evidence linking the then county boss to the allegations made on the social media post.
Classic Sonko then leaked phone conversations alleging that Awiso had, through his friend, sought to apologise to him and was ready to delete the post.
Amid all the drama between Sonko and Awiso, the latter was in August 2019 dramatically arrested in her house in Umoja over what the police said was human trafficking claims.
The controversial blogger, however, claimed that Sonko was behind her woes, because of the post she made. Of course, Sonko distanced himself from Awiso’s allegations.
“I have nothing to do with Mildred Atty Atiso’s current predicament but that does not mean I have withdrawn my demand that she files her corruption allegations against me if any with DCI or EACC failing of which I shall file a criminal libel complaint against her and her Facebook Page Buyers Beware admins,” said Sonko.
7. Tycoon Praful Kumar
Nairobi businessman Praful Kumar is another person who will not be mourning Sonko’s ouster, considering he has been charged with trying to bribe then Governor with KSh5 million in Malindi in 2019.
It started when Sonko, in his usual character, released tapes of phone conversations between him and Kumar. In the recordings, a person Sonko says is Kumar tries to bribe him with KSh5 million to approve and allow him to continue building his Grand Manor Hotel in Gigiri.
The case is still dragging and in June, 2020, Kumar petitioned the court to have an electronic version of phone records and the said conversations between him, Sonko, and his three aides, Joab Odhiambo, Stanley Kilonzi and Jacob Elkanah Ongubo. He wants this materials before his trial commences.
Kumar says “by failing and or neglecting to provide me with information, the prosecution is abetting the transgressions perpetrated against me and subverting the course of justice.”
8. Abdi Guyo
As the majority leader of the Nairobi County Assembly, Abdi Guyo has not had a good relationship with the outgoing governor.
In November 2019, Sonko accused the Matopeni Ward MCA of being “a notorious land grabber” in the city.
Sonko alleged that Guyo bribed a certain senators and nine Nairobi MPs with KSh5 million, to protect a private developer who have grabbed what he says is public land belonging to a school in South C.
Ostensibly, Sonko accused Guyo of colluding with EACC officials to protect land grabbers.
“The MCA was also behind the land grabbing of Highridge Nairobi County Clinic during the previous era where Nairobi County entered another consent under mysterious circumstances and whose land we have been fighting to repossess to this day with minimal success due to consent on record,” alleged Sonko.
9. Miguna Miguna
The 2017 Nairobi Gubernatorial independent candidate has never being in support of Governor Mike Sonko. During a pre-election debate with other candidates, Miguna teared Sonko apart.
“My friend Sonko is looting every land in Nairobi. He has a criminal record from Mombasa where he was jailed because of fraud, forgery and drug dealing.
“Then he ran away from jail, so he is a cartel because he has criminal records. Right now he is staging PR stunts where he video-tapes and pretends he has come to the rescue,” Miguna said.
The Canada-based Kenyan lawyer has already announced his candidature for “the position of Governor of Nairobi in the upcoming by-election.”
In the last elections, Miguna managed 10,308 votes against Sonko’s 871,794.
Miguna was deported to Canada in March, 2018, in spite of several court orders certifying his birth right to live and work in Kenya. In January this year, his attempt to travel back was thwarted after the Jubilee government issued red alerts to airlines in Europe, blocking him from boarding any flights to Kenya.
Although Orange Democratic Party (ODM) leader Raila Odinga is now political allies with Jubilee’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, there is no doubt the party is happy after Sonko’s ouster.
It must be understood that Sonko, on a Jubilee ticket, unseated ODM’s Evans Kidero in the 2017 elections. This meant that ODM as a party was not in control of the capital in as much as they would wish.
The idea of controlling Nairobi, Kenya’s commercial capital, was what made the Nairobi Gubernatorial race so competitive and ‘brutal’, a battle Jubilee Party won.
ODM’s Michael Ogada, who is the Minority Leader and Embakasi MCA, tabled Sonko’s impeachment motion and it went through to the Senate okaying his removal from office.
IEBC is preparing to conduct fresh polls because Nairobi has no deputy governor who could have taken Sonko’s seat as governor for the remainder of the term. It remains to be seen if ODM will be fielding a candidate.