Nairobians demand end to military rule, return of Sonko’s happy times
Outraged by what they say is a violent takeover of the city by the military, residents of Nairobi are now demanding an immediate return to civilian rule under the much-loved Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko.
Nairobians say life has never been the same since Sonko was forced (at whiskey bottle-point as he later narrated the sad ordeal he underwent during the takeover) to surrender his powers.
The residents are accusing the Nairobi Metropolitan Services headed by Maj-Gen Mohammed Badi of trampling on fundamental rights of the citizens, curtailing freedom of the press and killing them extrajudicially with boredom.
Foaming at the mouth, a furious activist accused Badi of denying the people of Nairobi the right to complain about garbage heaps on city streets, potholed roads, congested streets, traffic jams and dry water taps.
“What does he expect us to complain about when he fixes everything?
Residents of this city and country are entitled to their whining. That is why they elect leaders who ensure they have plenty to whine about,” he said.
On media freedom, the Kenya Union of Journalist protested “deliberate and systematic” plan by the Badi regime to deny journalists juicy stories from City Hall.
A KUJ official bemoaned what he called a severe news famine since Sonko signed away his powers and Badi took over the running of the former city in the sun.
“This is not acceptable. This is a blatant violation of Chapter 34 of the Constitution on media freedom.
The media have the right to write screaming headlines and juicy stories which only a Sonko rule can provide,” said the official, and accused Badi of trying to starve the media of its fodder with his stiff military style.
The Kenya Editors Guild, the Kenya Correspondents Association and the Media Council of Kenya said they couldn’t agree more with KUJ.
He mentioned frequent exposés of graft, dramatic sackings, reshuffles, gossip and related intrigues at City Hall as some of the news stories that had disappeared since Badi took over.
Another protestor praised Sonko as a hands-on manager who has his finger firmly on the pulse of the city.
“Unlike Badi, Sonko is not afraid to roll up his sleeves, clench his fists and knock sense into annoying walls or nosy journalists who stand in his way. What can be more hands-on than that?” asked the protestor.
He also hailed Sonko as the only solution to petty crime in the city, giving an example of an incident where the governor was captured on camera slapping a man accused of snatching a phone.
“The people brought the thief to him and boy, did he dispense instant justice!” the protestor observed, nostalgia written all over his face.
But more than anything else, Nairobi residents are furious with Mbadi for denying them the free entertainment that was in plenty when Sonko was fully in charge at City Hall.
They said they miss everything from the governor’s bling and schoolboy hairdo to his action movie-like flight and dramatic arrest in Voi during which he gave Kenyans an Oscar-deserving performance.
“And what does Badi give us instead? A Sadamic moustache and sleep-inducing talk about building matatu terminuses and delivering water to slum residents,” said a resident, yawning like a hippo.
Fun-starved residents say that while Sonko still goes out of his way to tickle their funny bone even from the fringes of power, the effect would be more pronounced if he were still active at City Hall.
“We thank Sonko for being mindful of his people’s happiness even after he was forced out of City Hall.
But the hilarious tweets and videos would be much funnier were they coming from his lofty office,” said a resident, moaning that Nairobi had dramatically dropped on the global happiness index since Sonko was replaced by Badi. – [email protected]