During his entire nine-year political career, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has always portrayed himself as an anti-graft tsar and would go to any lengths to prove that ranging from sacking his cabinet members in midnight texts and carrying a truckload of documents to a tv interview.
But on Friday morning, the weighing scale that kept Sonko from the grasp of the authorities for so long tipped in favour of the State as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji ordered for the governor’s arrest over the alleged theft of Ksh357 million and laundering of Ksh24 million through the county government’s coffers.
The rain started beating when the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) began investigating him after Sh20 million illegally acquired through the awarding of a garbage collection tender was traced to his bank account.
Companies linked to his friends were awarded multi-million contracts which then wired kickbacks to the governor’s accounts.
He did not take the investigations lightly and threatened ‘bald-headed’ EACC chief executive Twalib Mbarak that he would put him in his place.
“He (Twalib) has been absorbed into the corruption web. I am only being investigated after I declined to facilitate the grabbing of a parcel of land in South C which he is part of,” charged Sonko during an interview with Radio Citizen on November 18.
As the investigations thickened, the governor did himself no favours by assaulting journalists covering the investigation.
It was not supposed to amount this for the man known for his flamboyance and association with vast amounts of wealth, in fact before he ascended to the top seat at City Hall, he promised to revamp his image from a gold loving elected official with a soft spot for gangster-like mannerisms to a sober county chief.
Sonko managed to keep his promise for a long time but you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Although he kept his suits on, the golden accessories returned. The Versace lapel and the flashy sunglasses made their way back to the governor’s ensemble.
But the highlight of Sonko’s administration has been his penchant of sacking his County Executive Committee Members (CECs) arbitrarily and when questioned why he couldn’t string together six months of governance without disruptions he accused the sacked CECs of corruption.
In April this year, Sonko reinstated two CECs he had suspended in 2018 for alleged insubordination and incompetence.
One of them, Vesca Kangongo who now heads the Environment docket has been sacked two times in less than five years.
The reinstatement of the sacked ministers was after the County Assembly refused to approve the nomination of his preferred ministers as pressure piled on him over crippling operations at City Hall.
At one point, Sonko had only 5 cabinet members in his government which greatly hampered service delivery in the capital.
When former Education CEC Janet Ouko resigned in January this year, he accused her of misappropriation bursary funds months after praising the former of being the hardest working official in his government.
Ouko vehemently rejected Sonko’s claims and in turn accused her former boss of being a serial blackmailer and a very difficult person to work with.
She even accused him of calling her at odd hours and taking offence when the calls were not answered.
Despite the corruption allegations hanging over his head, Sonko is still a popular with the masses and has on more than one occasion demonstrated his ability to fight for public interest albeit with all the drama in the world.
In October 2018, he stormed Pumwani Hospital exposing a baby theft racket before purging the hospital’s board accusing it of being complicit.
In October this year, he fell short of saying that he was at the mercy of cartels at City Hall who were forcing him to toe their line
“The cartels are back again at City Hall. PROLAND Ltd owned by a Mr Fredrick Mungai recorded a consent with Nairobi County Gov’t during the previous administration to be paid Sh35m for supplying hot air,” said Sonko at the time.
When explaining the reasons behind Sonko’s arrest on Friday, Haji warned that any attempt by Sonko to cause social unrest in the capital over his prosecution would be met with the full force of government.
By then, anti-riot police had already been deployed in various parts of Nairobi to stop one man whose record leaves no doubt that he is capable of bringing the city under the sun to a standstill to prove his case.