Politician’s journey from prison to governor’s mansion

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 00:00 |
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. Photo/PD/FILE

Emeka-Mayaka Gekara

The investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on the circumstances under which Mike Sonko escaped prison has raised queries on the vetting of individuals before they occupy public office.

Governor Sonko’s supporters yesterday circulated his certificate of conduct issued by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations showing he had no past criminal record.

But citing court documents, EACC has maintained Sonko escaped from prison, a claim he has dismissed as a witch hunt. Sonko says the same commission has cleared him three times to run for election.

Former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile recently defended him, saying Sonko does not have an unfinished jail term.

But how did Nairobi end up with Sonko as governor?  

On the night of April 16, 1998,  a man named Gideon Mbuvi Kioko made an escape from Shimo la Tewa Prison dressed as a woman. 

Records at the prison indicate the man who had been jailed for six months for jumping bail is still on the run. He had been accused of forging documents with the intention of selling a beach plot belonging to a former police commissioner.

Year in prison

Feigning illness and armed with Sh1.9 million in a briefcase, the convict connived with prison officials to have himself admitted at the Coast General Hospital. He is believed to have bribed the officials who allowed him to flee to Tanzania.

Sonko is on record admitting he escaped to bury his mother, but was later re-arrested and pardoned by court.

However, in February 2000, a Mombasa magistrate’s court sentenced Mbuvi Gedion Kioko to serve 12 months in prison for obtaining money under false pretences. He served nine months then moved to the High Court seeking a revision of the sentence, saying he was sick. Justice Samuel Oguk released him.

Oguk left the Judiciary under the shadow of corruption allegations.

Mbuvi would later thrust himself onto the national stage by winning election as Makadara MP, Nairobi senator and now governor.

This man, who answers to many aliases, is colourful, theatrical, attention grabber, crowd puller and a philanthropist. He has legion of both admirers and detractors.

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