Sonko isolated as his antics take City Hall hostage

President Uhuru Kenyatta scoops garbage during a clean-up exercise along Juja Road/Outering Road roundabout, Nairobi County

That lawyers working for the Nairobi City County called for the disbandment of the Nairobi Metropolitan Authority (NAMATA) without the “knowledge” of the governor is the latest of the problems bedeviling Mike Sonko’s chaotic reign at City Hall.

That is before you factor in the altercation between the governor and Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko that took place Saturday, in front of President Uhuru Kenyatta during the National Tree Planting Day.

Then there is the daylight war between firearm-wielding gangs trying to control public toilets in the Central Business District (CBD) that took place on Friday.

But on Facebook, the governor presents a picture of an administrator overworking in a bid to make the capital better.

If he is not planting trees, he is supervising a road being constructed at 2am or making impromptu visits to his employees to check on whether they are working. With the city choking due to disorder and garbage, the governor, who has been under fire over his performance, has been on over drive trying to salvage his image but trouble is never far away, it seems.

On Friday, Sonko not only made an about-turn on the calls to disband NAMATA but also demanded for the arrest of suspended county legal officer Violet Oyagi.

Anger the president

In responses filed in court on Wednesday, Sonko had termed the creation of NAMATA as unconstitutional, saying it was done without a formal agreement with the county.

“A suitable agreement meeting the requirements of the Intergovernmental Relations Act 2011 was never published in the Kenya Gazette and the County Gazette in respect of Nairobi County at least 14 days before the effective,” said the governor through Nyachoti and Company advocates.

“The appointment of the board members to the authority vide gazette notice no. 1240 was unconstitutional in the absence of any formal agreement between the parties authorising the same.”

NAMATA was formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta through an executive order to solve transport problems facing five counties, including Nairobi.

The team was to oversee the implementation of the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) project covering Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Murang’a counties.

Crisis to crisis

The Sunday Standard understands Sonko realised he had made a political mistake when he called for NAMATA’s disbandment and since he did not want to anger the President, he made the about-turn.

But in what has become characteristic of his administration in the last few weeks, the governor who has been swinging from crisis to crisis, was in his element Saturday when he stopped Deputy President William Ruto from speaking at the National Tree Planting Day.

The DP had just begun talking when Sonko cut him short before ranting on how there is a clique of power brokers out to undermine him. “This issue of undermining me should stop. The President has not said we disband the county government of Nairobi. We all serve the same people,” he said.

It was classic of Sonko and a new low for a governor who falls out with people and institutions daily.

The latest addition to the list of those he has fallen out with is State House, which has of late been distancing itself from him over his style of management.

Among the issues driving a wedge between the governor and State House is the selection process for a deputy governor which we understand has hit brick wall since many of the candidates being considered are not interested in the position.

Former Town Clerk John Gakuo, who was being considered for the position and had been appointed to replace Polycarp Igathe at the Nairobi Regeneration Committee, reportedly rejected the offer.

So broken is the relationship between Sonko and State House that the governor’s attempts to free East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP Simon Mbugua from police custody on Tuesday failed. The fallout has been amplified by the feud between him and Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

So far, none of the five men captured on camera 12 days ago assaulting former Nairobi Central Business District Association (NCBDA) chairman Timothy Muriuki has been arrested.

Dishon Mulinge, Ronald Otieno, Hussein Suleiman, Michael Mbanya and Brian Owino, who are still in hiding, have sought anticipatory bail pending their arraignment in court.  

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