Why Sonko’s rise to helm of city politics is a tragedy

Thursday, December 19th, 2019 00:00 |
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (centre) and security officers at Wilson Airport after he was arrested this month. Photo/PD/FILE

How could we? Where do I even start with this tragicomedy? Finally, the bad boy of Nairobi politics, Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko, was recently arraigned in a Nairobi court on corruption charges. This followed his melodramatic arrest in Voi. 

I beg your pardon! I’m not implying that finally, Sonko will get his just desserts for all the mischief on and off the political podium, or for his past flights from justice.

Going by the precedence that the circus against corruption has set, this is a long shot.

Anyway, it was still humbling to see Sonko cut down to size, with his public roar and bravado turning into a whimper on the corridors of justice.

Nairobi residents, and Kenyans at large, had become accustomed to Sonko’s daredevil antics, on and off-camera.

Sonko had rubbed everyone the wrong way, and could show almost anyone the middle finger at the slightest provocation.

He managed the city like he used to run his matatu business, running roughshod over established authority and bureaucracy.

I think American President Donald Trump is Sonko’s role model, always shooting from the hip, and sacking anyone who comes in his line of fire. 

Nevertheless, I do not believe Sonko had deceived himself, like he did to many, that he was untouchable.

He knew that if push came to shove, there is someone who can pull the curtains on his act. His theatrics were actually a way of tempting fate.

For obvious political reasons, the Deep State had indulged Sonko, and mainstreamed him in the national body politic. Sonko would not have gone beyond being a MP if a decision had not been made to prop him up. 

But before we cast more stones at the State’s ills, I believe it has placed enough mirrors in front of us, with which we should use to remove the planks in our eyes. 

With all our self-righteousness, how did someone of Sonko’s background manage to become the leader of a capital city with a global repute like Nairobi? It is an indictment of our pontifications about integrity in public service.

We have maintained that Sonko’s strongholds are in the mass of the lower economic classes, but we love his putrid money.

For instance, it was a damning conflict of interest for some senators, who are supposed to oversight governors to form part of the coterie of lawyers lined up to defend Sonko in court. 

A couple of weeks ago, the Senate appeared to reinstate suspended governors Ferdinand Waititu of Kiambu, and Samburu’s Moses Lenolkulal to office through the back door, after the High Court directed the duo to keep off official business until their corruption cases are heard and determined.

For the record, I did not vote for Sonko in the last General Election out of principle, even as everyone pressurised me not to cast my seeds in the desert.

Honestly, I could not reconcile my conscience to the fact that I would leave out someone else who validly deserves a chance to genuinely change the status quo.

Sonko’s rise was a barometer of how low we have sunk. He tore up the rule book, and made nonsense of our claims to be a society that values the rule of law.

Of course, in Kenya you can get away with literally anything, if you have sufficient money to back it up.

Suffice it to say that for Sonko, it is not over until it is over. A post on social media noted that Sonko is going nowhere.

In fact, in the next government, he may be a Cabinet Secretary for Education, or a Deputy Prime Minister. But what do we know? God forbid! —The writer is a communication expert, and public policy analyst. [email protected]

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