The rejected stone? Paradox of Gakuo’s reign at City Hall
SEE ALSO :The winners and losers in city tax planFor those who worked in Gakuo’s City Hall, he was the man with the solutions to the problems that plagued the city back then. “He didn’t do anything outstanding. He just made sure everyone did their job,” Violet Maingi, an employee of the then City Council says. Legend has it that every morning, Gakuo would choose a location within the city and take a walk through it. He would take mental notes of where the garbage was, where there were no parking attendants, which buildings required a new coat of paint or where street children were spending most of their time. Then at the weekly staff meetings, which former employees say happened every Tuesday, he would randomly ask questions about the status of what he had seen to the officers concerned. “You had to know everything,” Violet says. “He would ask the library service why their Eastlands branch opened half an hour late on a particular day.” He was a man who knew everything about the City Council. But somehow, this internal, intrinsic knowledge of the historical City Hall eventually came back to haunt him. As the town clerk, he had to have his hand in all the cookie jars, his ears tuned to every conversation, his eyes on all that was going on and his signature on every piece of paper that represented the city’s business dealings.
SEE ALSO :Forgotten dreams for city in chaosThe kind of success he had while at City Hall was enough to hand him a position in the newly created county government. After passing up the chance for a life in politics, Nairobi’s first governor offered him position in the new governance structure. Dark days In 2014, he was appointed the chief executive for Water, Energy, Forestry, Environment and Natural Resources. The position came with lots of expectations on his shoulders. But it was the deeds of his past, particularly a land deal that happened between 2008 and 2009, that was to be the poisoned chalice that led to his eventual imprisonment. Gakuo, was jailed for his role in the cemetery land scandal, sentenced to three years in jail and fined Sh1 million for abuse of office and failure to comply with procurement rules. He was convicted for his role in the multi-million shilling scandal that rocked City Hall between 2008 and 2009. With that, the hammer came down on the career of a man who many credited with an attempt at restoring Nairobi’s glory. Sadly though, months after his sentencing, his life too came to a sudden end at Nairobi’s Mbagathi Hospital.