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Sonko threatens to sue Nation Media over Madhouse tag

Nairobi Governor says the Sunday Nation story was sponsored by his detractors, among them, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, who he says is engaged in succession politics

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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. He denies claims he has turned City Hall into a madhouse.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has threatened to sue the Nation Media Group over a story in the Sunday Nation that claimed he has turned City Hall into a Madhouse thanks to his unconventional management style. Sonko denied the claims, saying the story was sponsored by his detractors, among them, Internal Security Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, who he says is engaged in succession politics. He below is his statement in full.

“A story in the Sunday Nation titled ‘The Madhouse that is Sonko’s City Hall Office’ has been widely circulated both in print and electronic form. It has achieved its purpose, which was to portray the Nairobi City County Government under my leadership as dysfunctional, and depict me as a failed Governor.

This is the most unfortunate example of irresponsible journalism where great effort is made to malign the character of an individual and expose him to public ridicule without giving him a chance to defend himself or even investigating to verify allegations before publishing them.

The tenets of journalism include objectivity, balance and fairness. This story lacked in all these, and the half-hearted sentence at the end of the story that I did not respond to several calls and messages is meant to hide the fact that I was never meant to be heard before my character was attacked in the manner the Sunday Nation has done.

I have instructed my lawyers to seek legal redress.

The attacks start from the opening paragraph that says my day starts at 5am, depending on how late I stayed up the previous night. Waking up early to serve my people is something I cherish.

It is astonishing that these malicious individuals are thoroughly blinded by malice to a point where they want to attack me using my strengths. I wish to state that it is not true that I refuse to see people who don’t come to my office at 5 am; I receive Nairobi residents, dignitaries, leaders and guests throughout the day. Most days I am in the office until as late as 10 pm, attending to Nairobians.

Ironically, the story talks of congestion in my office most of the time. People have a right to see their elected leader and are not turned away if they have a genuine issue to be addressed.

How could my office be congested the whole day if I refuse to meet people from 5 am? I want to tell these malicious individuals that I was elected by the people, and they are always welcome to present their issues to me. This is I have always operated, allowing people to reach me, both in and out of the office.

The claim that I drink alcohol in meetings and throughout the day is an outright lie, and it will be upon the Sunday Nation to prove this in court.

If I am due to meet an ambassador as reported in the story, and a meeting I have with slum dwellers overruns in terms of time, is that a crisis? Is a Nairobi slum dweller less important than an ambassador?

The other claims of making phone calls in the middle of official meetings to give M-Pesa instructions, or failing to listen to my officers, are all bald allegations peddled by the Sunday Nation team. This journalistic mediocrity does not befit a national newspaper but it looks like the Sunday Nation wants to slide deeper into the gutter.

On the issue of the reshuffle of my Cabinet, it is the prerogative of every Governor to rearrange his or her staff to ensure efficient service delivery.

After my CECMs had served for three months, I was able to gauge their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, I transferred them to where I felt they would serve Nairobians best.

The subsequent decision to sack one of my CECMs, Danvas Makori, was necessitated by information I obtained, and which he admitted to, that he was in constant communication with people associated with my predecessor who have been sponsoring negative publicity against me.

In one of the text messages in his phone, Makori discussed with my predecessor’s Personal Assistant about how they would withdraw Sh10 million every week from County coffers, what used to happen all the time during my predecessor’s administration.

In the said message, Kidero’s PA, John Osogo sent to Danvas Makori, the Finance CECM, Osogo says thus, “Good Morning DM. Hope rest of your weekend was good. Just saw controller of budgets. She says we try a smaller figure of Sh10 million each week and see how that pans out on a trial basis. Don’t forget to call Kioo and Ekaya.” Kidero’s PA sent Makori this message through WhatsApp on the 5th of March 2018 at 10:16 AM.

As it is the case with all humble and forgiving leaders, I summoned Makori and asked him in front of other CECMs to which he admitted and asked for forgiveness. I reminded all CECs of my “Zero tolerance to corruption” policy of my administration.

Contrary to his promise of ending all collusion with enemies of the county, Makori continued to engage my predecessor’s people.

In another message from Osogo to Makori advising him to be cautious with me, Makori decided to attack me saying, “Don’t worry about my boss. He is an academic dwarf. But he pretends to be smarter than us. This time round we must fix him. The system hates him.” This was on the March 28, 2018.

It would have been a grave error of omission if I had failed to take a firm action even after these facts came to light.

Makori had been referred to me by his father-in-law, Hon. Maina Kamanda, and after assessing his academic qualifications and skills, I accepted to nominate him, even though he had held a senior position in my prececessor’s office. In hindsight, I should not have continued to associate with the same people who fought me during my election campaign or those who worked with my predecessor.

Even this latest story in the Sunday Nation was actively peddled by an officer in my office that I had given a chance, despite being closely associated with the same people who stood in church pulpits to campaign for my election opponents. I accepted these people because I pledged to form an all inclusive government. I would like to point out that I have evidence of all communication alluded to in this statement and will readily share it if necessary.

Here are a few facts Nairobi residents need to know: Revenue collection is highest under my administration than it has ever been in the past.

Salaries of almost 15,000 county staff are paid on time every month compared to my predecessor’s era whereby workers would go for five months without pay. Under my leadership, corruption is at its lowest.

Last year Nairobi was ranked third most corrupt, this year we are nowhere near the top 30.

We have installed an oxygen plant at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital which is supplying oxygen to many hospitals in Nairobi, a renal unit at Mbagathi Hospital giving life- saving services to kidney patients as well as expanded maternity services in Kayole and Baba Dogo.

My office has procured 26 fire engines, we are constructing 5 markets and also in the process of constructing four stadia in the city. Piles of garbage that accumulated during my predecessor’s reign have been moved to the proper dumping site, and the beautification of our city is in top gear.

This week, we shall launch the construction of two fire stations in Kangundo Road and Waithaka, and partner with the national government to upgrade the grounds around KICC into an ultra modern international convention centre.

Is this the result of a dysfunctional office led by an erratic, incapable Governor? Why should a story in a leading national newspaper focus on trivial things like the eggs and sausages I eat for breakfast and ignore life changing, transformational issues? You be the judge.

This is all being orchestrated by a group of people engaged in high level succession politics that I have talked about in the past, whose implementing lead person is Internal Security PS Karanja Kibicho.

READ: IEBC vice-chair, commissioners quit in protest

They have been celebrating the ‘success’ of the hatchet job together with their contact Editor at the Sunday Nation, but I will not be distracted from delivering services to the residents of Nairobi.

They can spend as much money as they want to malign my name, but in the end the truth will prevail.

I know that a lie can travel half way around the world before truth puts on its shoes but the truth always catches up. And we all know for sure that the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. I will continue working for Nairobians and let my work speak for me.”


Business Today is the leading independent online business website in Kenya. Started in 2012 by a veteran business journalist, it has a huge following both in Kenya and abroad. It covers various business and related issues. Email editor at: [email protected]

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