Uhuru criticises embattled Sonko as Senate date nears

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020 00:00 |
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. Photo/PD/FILE

Alvin Mwangi and Bernard Gitau

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday chided impeached Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko for what he painted as incompetence, two days before he faces trial at the Senate for various offences including violation of the Constitution.

 Nairobi County Assembly members impeached the governor five days ago over abuse of office, gross misconduct as well as lack of physical and mental capability to run the county affairs.

 Defending himself over his decisions to appoint military people to civilian positions, Uhuru cited the capital city case in which he picked Major-General Mohammed Badi to lead the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS). He said the move was necessitated by  poor leadership that had deteriorated service delivery in the city.

According to the President, Badi has dramatically improved services in Nairobi.

 “This person you refer to as super governor, to me, that is an insult,” in what was seen as a dig at Sonko by the President, who used a youth event at Nairobi’s Bomas event to highlight the achievements of the NMS.

Salvage political career

 “Within a span of eight months, NMS is in the process of doing almost 4,000 kilometres of tarmacked road in Nairobi and addressing chronic water shortage to the people living in the informal settlement,” said the President.

 Uhuru’s criticism of Sonko’s was perhaps the clearest signal that he might not be keen to stop the impeachment using his troops in the Senate.

 “Residents of Nairobi especially in slums used to spend at least Sh40 to buy two jerricans of water.

That is a huge amount. We have dug boreholes and are getting water regularly and for free, “ added Uhuru.

 He spoke even as the People Daily learnt that the embattled Sonko was making frantic efforts to reach out to various key leaders in an attempt to salvage his political career ahead of the start of his trial tomorrow at the Senate.

 Sources indicated that Sonko at the weekend met Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and a section of senators seeking their support.

 However, his efforts to meet Uhuru through the intervention of a senior governor, are said to have been rebuffed by State House.

 Before his impeachment, Sonko was also reported to have met ODM leader Raila Odinga but he was given conditions to sign the contested budget which has thrown the county into a serious financial crisis.

 “The governor enjoys a lot of support from the national leaders. He is widely accepted because of his philanthropic works.

He met Kalonzo and we are hopeful that the meeting will bear fruit,” said a source close to the governor who requested  anonymity.

 “We are also considering all options to meet Raila and we know everything will be successful.

We have a strategy and we know our strategy this time round will not fail us,” the source said.

 But speaking to the People Daily by  phone, Sonko’s spokesperson Ben Mulwa said the governor was free to meet any leader but declined to confirm if he has met either Kalonzo or Raila.

 “It is the prerogative of the governor to meet any leader he wishes,” Said Mulwa.

 However, Nominated MCA Mary Njambi confirmed the meetings but was adamant to disclose the details.

 “One thing it should be clear that our governor was not impeached. Our phones were off and I can confirm that we did not vote,” she said.

 With 57 MCAs at his home in Kwale county, Njambi said that Sonko’s camp was certain that the censure motion by Minority Leader Michael Ogada would flop.

 Sonko’s lead counsel Harrison Kinyanjui also dismissed the impeachment saying the constitutional threshold to remove Sonko as the governor has not been met.

 Kinyanjui argued that the court has dismissed the preliminary objection by the Attorney General, saying that the county government is not entitled to invoke the constitutional court jurisdiction.

 Ogada had set four grounds for impeaching the governor including his refusal to sign for funds allocated for NMS.

 Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said the Senate will  hold a Special Sitting tomorrow  to vote on Sonko’s impeachment even as the besieged county boss maintained he was ready to face his accusers.

 “Sonko believes he has a good response to the accusations leveled against him by the MCAs.

He believes the Senate will listen to him and undo the impunity of the county assembly,” said  Mulwa. 

Senate Majority Leader Irungu Kang’ata, speaking at a different function, said the House will serve justice to the people of Nairobi.

 If approved by the Senate, the move may pave the way for an election in Nairobi. 

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