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Will Mike Sonko, the flip-flop master, get it right with his latest move?

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has become the king of flip-flopping.

He has a knack for weaving alliances with different political formations and turning foes into friends and vice versa.

Barely a fortnight after he mended his relationship with President Uhuru Kenyatta whom he accompanied to a function on July 12, the impeached former governor, has changed sides to Deputy President William Ruto’s camp.

The latest move by Sonko comes after his attempt to contest for the Mombasa governor seat was thwarted by the Supreme Court, which maintained that since he had been impeached, he was not eligible to vie for any position.

Sonko is now expected to play a huge role in the last days of Ruto’s campaigns, and those of Johnson Sakaja and Hassan Omar who are UDA governor candidates for Nairobi and Mombasa, respectively.

Yesterday, Ruto posted on Twitter photos of him and Sonko while welcoming the latter to Kenya Kwanza which he termed the winning team.

“We welcome Mike Sonko to Kenya Kwanza Alliance, which is the winning team in this general election,” said Ruto.

The former Nairobi Governor posted online an agreement he has allegedly signed with the deputy president in which he has been promised that his allies will get one Cabinet Secretary, three Principal Secretary and four ambassadorial posts if Kenya Kwanza Alliance wins the election next month.

Like a brother

“I have also been offered two County Executive Committee members and three Chief Officers positions if I support Sakaja to get elected as Nairobi governor, while in Mombasa, I have been promised three County Executive Committee Members and three Chief Officer positions if I campaign for Omar,” Sonko wrote.

Barely four days ago, Sonko vowed not to support Abdulswamad Nassir, ODM’s Mombasa governor candidate.

He said so after the courts upheld a decision by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) not to clear him to vie for the governor seat.

He had wanted the IEBC to include the name of his running mate Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo on the ballot paper as the Wiper Party governor candidate failure to which he would back Omar instead of Nassir who is in the Azimio coalition.

“Let me state that this is not about Mike Sonko. I am appealing to the IEBC to clear Ali Mbogo as the Mombasa governors Wiper Party candidate failure to which we will have no option but to support Mombasa UDA governor candidate Hassan Omar,” said Sonko.

Sonko expressed gratitude to former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka for standing with him and also thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta whom he said has been like a brother to him and supported him.

He said that he will not forget Mbogo who has been put under a lot of pressure for standing with him.

Deputy President William Ruto welcomed Mike Sonko to Kenya Kwanza on July 30, 2022. [Courtesy, Standard]

He promised that one of the positions allocated to him by Ruto if he wins the elections will go to Mbogo.

In an Instagram post, Sonko said he had been pushed to the wall for trying to do the best for the people of Mombasa and that it was with a heavy heart that he had decided to change his political course nine days to the polls.

Political analyst Dismas Mokua said that Sonko is one of the most intelligent politicians in Kenya and that his support and endorsement of any politician carries weight.

Mokua said that Sonko’s move would have a had bigger impact in Kenya Kwanza had he joined the coalition right from the word go.

“Nevertheless, consistent with the bandwagon philosophy, he may move the needle but not in a material manner. Most voters have taken a decision and his influence may not be transferable in the homestretch,” said Mokua.

Sonko had earlier this month accompanied Uhuru with his successor Anne Kananu and Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Mohammed Badi on a tour of the city.

During the tour, Sonko campaigned for his former deputy Polycarp Igathe who is now the Azimio governor candidate.

Observers believe that Sonko’s move was driven by the challenges he has faced in the corridors of justice and in the political scene.

Outside government

He may have wanted President Kenyatta to help him and the latest move is proof that he did not succeed.

“I am very grateful to President Uhuru Kenyatta since for the time that I have been outside government, I have seen him doing a good job of building roads and hospitals,” said Sonko during the tour.

“To support him, I urge Nairobi residents to vote for Azimio la Umoja candidates for various seats.”

Sonko’s political woes started when he signed a deed of transfer moving health, transport, public works, utilities and ancillary services, and county planning and development to the Nairobi Metropolitan Services which was done through Executive Order Number 3 of 2020.

He was later at loggerheads with NMS for refusing to sign a Supplementary Budget in August 2020 that would have funded several projects as directed by President Kenyatta.

Sonko was impeached in December 2020 and has been to courts seeking to invalidate his impeachment but he has not been successful.