Former Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe quit his high ranking post in the corporate world for a stab at the murky world of Kenyan politics. Some believe he got a slot on Jubilee’s Nairobi ticket to sanitise previously thought unsaleable Governor Mike Sonko to city voters.
In his resignation statement, Igathe further disturbed the turbulent waters of Nairobi politics alleging a lack of trust from his boss hindered his ability to administer the county government.
“Dear Nairobians, it is with a heavy heart that I resign my seat as elected Deputy Governor of Nairobi City County effective 1pm on 31 Jan 2018. I regret I have failed to earn the trust of the Governor ...,” he said, announcing his resignation from one of the most coveted political posts in one Tweet.
His quitting comes at a time when the administration of Nairobi County is coming under fire, with the governor reneging or delaying enforcing a host of populist campaign promises the duo made in stellar fashion during their ascent to County Hall.
It was hoped Igathe’s presence would bring some order and method into Nairobi’s historically chaotic and cartel infested seat of power. But his hoped-for influence in County Hall was soon revealed to be nothing but a mirage. Pundits will point at the unlikelihood of the duo from inception. The abrasiveness and hot headed politics of Sonko were a complete opposite to Igathe’s boardroom demeanor. A successful partnership between the duo seemed never on the cards. Their four-month relationship paying little attention to the law of attraction and proving once again that in political alliances, opposites never attract. Common friends between the two say Sonko’s oversized influence played a part a huge part in Igathe’s decision but the tipping point was his realisation that nearly none of his concerns and recommendations about the running of the county were taken to heart by the man at the top. Yet, he defended the county and spoke well of it at every opportunity.
What might look like a loss for Sonko’s administration on face value looks like a sure victory for the governor’s hangers on who have long longed to stick a dagger into the back of a man considered an outsider. A man who was never in the trenches with Sonko. Craning his neck too far to see what the centre was doing or attempting to read the lips of Sonko any time the two were in a public meeting and he found himself several feet too far away from power. Worse, the governor’s knights made deliberate effort to paint Igathe as a man seconded by party bosses to keep their man in check. Igathe was looked at like the village accountant secretly working for Ceaser to tell on anyone who never gave to the Roman Empire.
Hence the lack of trust. On his part, Igathe did little to brush aside this image. On several occasions he has been quoted saying that he would be the one managing the county and let Sonko play politics, forgetting that Sonko, in his own right, has run a constituency before and was arguably a very vocal Senator.
Historically, City Hall has been occupied and ruled by hard men with knuckles calloused from the daily tumble in the mud with their competitors. Polished glass jaws, such as Igathe’s rarely find voice at City Hall. It is astonishing that it took him all of four months to realise this fact.