Abrasive personality lands Sonko in the dock

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019 00:00 |
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (centre) and security officers at Wilson Airport after he was arrested this month. Photo/PD/FILE

When the flashy Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko kicked, cursed and screamed during his arrest at Ikanga Airstrip in Voi Sub-county a fortnight ago, he was simply being himself. 

After all, is he not known for his abrasive personality and a strange affinity for hurling blood-curdling insults at his opponents?

Perhaps it never occurred to him that calling people ‘Nyie Shenzi’ and ‘takataka’ might land him in trouble. Well, it has.

Today, Sonko is expected to appear in a magistrate’s court in Voi town to answer three counts among them using offensive language.

When he appears, the public is likely to see a radically different governor. The smug cockiness that is associated with this flamboyant politician will be nowhere to be seen.

The famous selfie phone will be switched off and tucked deep in his pocket.

The public will see a subdued Sonko, sitting quietly on a hard bench listening as the prosecution reads out the three counts facing him.

For a drama-loving leader, the Voi court appearance will be a sobering moment. According to the charge sheet, the governor faces the offence of assaulting a police officer in  execution of his duty contrary to section 103 (a) of the National Police Service (NPS) Act 2011.

He is also accused of kicking the Coast regional Police Commander Richard Yakubu around the calf area during his arrest at Ikanga Airstrip. He also faces a count of resisting arrest contrary to section 103(c) of NPS Act.

“We are expecting him tomorrow here by 9am,” a source in the Director of Public Prosecutions’s office in Voi confirmed.

Sonko is likely to present himself in court accompanied by his lawyer Cecil Miller to avoid the ignominy of being arrested publicly and hauled to court in handcuffs.

The prosecution has lined up at least six witnesses including Chief Inspector James Mwanzia, OCS, Voi police station and Chief Inspector Michael Muriithi, the county traffic base commander. Others are Corporals Fred Sambai, Stephen Mtawa and Ibrahim Ahmed, a Constable.

However, unlike the first time when he was slotted to appear in the Voi court on Monday last week, there will be no heavy presence of armed police officers. 

“We are not expecting any rowdiness because he has willingly agreed to come,” said the officer.

Should he be detained, Sonko might be held at Voi GK prison which is less than 200 metres from the Voi Law Courts.  However, given the stature of the governor, there is a risk of excessive public attention and numerous visits from lawyers and friends at Voi prison.

This leaves Manyani Maximum Security Prison as the only safe bet for the authorities. The heavily-fortified facility is not easily accessible as it is located at Man-Eaters area, some 40 kilometres from Voi town on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.   -KNA

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