A few months ago, the country’s most popular Governor Mike Sonko was riding high in speech, gait and act.
After getting 871,794 votes, Sonko’s 2017 election victory made him a unique man in two ways: he had turned tables on a well-oiled campaign of incumbent Evans Kidero, and he was probably the only governor who got more votes than the president in a county.
In Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta garnered 791,291 votes. Under the ‘Sonko-Igathe’ ticket that was sold as a combination of raw politics and fine management, Sonko swept through Nairobi polling booths like a wild fire, and proceeded to consolidate his hold onto power thereafter.
However, what started with contrived resignation of Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe later transformed into a full-blown political war that saw the governor lose control of the country’s capital to the national government.
- 1 Kananu takes over from Mutura as Nairobi County boss
- 2 Uhuru: I do not remember telling you to vote for any particular person
- 3 Is the ‘Deep State’ a force for good or bad?
- 4 Raila hits at Ruto over Jubilee failures
Three years later, after many twists and turns, including an arrest on the highway in Manyani, Sonko is now officially a wailing governor.
Stripped of his main powers, which he signed away on March 1, 2020 at State House, Sonko spends his days and nights whining over his losses.
“Jail me! There’s life in prison. Impeach me! There’s life after politics. Kill me! There’s life after death,” Sonko posted online on Monday.
In what is turning out to be a political heartbreak series, Sonko has found a punching bag in the man who took charge of dockets he signed away, Maj-Gen Mohamed Badi.
He calls him “Saddam” after the late Iraqi dictator. When he is not heaping accusations on him, he is casting aspersions on his capability to run Nairobi.
Occasionally, he goes on a rant, which is not directed, leaving his audience making a guess as to who the victim of his tongue is.
A sore Sonko is a man given unto unmitigated lamentations: “After being conned of the money of the non-transferred functions I have done a thorough research on the law. Sasa ma-broker wa State House who sneaked in their fake budget to steal what belongs to us tukutane kotini.”
It is testament to Sonko’s predicament that as the leadership of the city congregated at the Nairobi Central Railway Station for the launch of five new diesel trains, Sonko was slated to appear before the Senate over issues relating to the transfer of the health function to Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
Sonko’s rants against Badi – which the NMS boss dismissed with bemusement – includes a demand that he be arraigned at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“I am writing to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC to demand investigations into forced and arbitrary displacement of Nairobi Residents by our own Kenyan soldier, which amounts to crimes against humanity and persecution,” he once posted on Twitter.
Sonko has always insisted he was coerced into signing away his core functions to the national government.
Even when sending simple birthday wishes like he did on Sunday to retired President Mwai Kibaki, he loaded them with emotions. He described Kibaki as the best president “this country has ever had.”
When world leaders were congratulating Joe Biden for taking the lead in US presidential elections, Sonko saw an opportunity to score some points locally.
He informed the world that opposition leader Raila Odinga was slated for hurt after the contested election and hoped Biden will “deal with dictatorial leadership cases ruthlessly in Africa.”
In the same week, he described President Kenyatta as “Nairobi Super Governor” while juxtaposing the post with photos of mountains of garbage in Pipeline, Embakasi South: “Keep it up for the good job,” he added for good measure.
But sometimes he goes off tangent politically, and becomes the love doctor of the city. At midnight last Sunday, Sonko posted a 744-word write-up on Facebook on why men should be afraid of their cheating spouses.
When your wife starts cheating on you, he claimed, your death is imminent.
Lifted word for word from a March 27, 2020 post in Nairaland Forum, a Nigerian blog, the post attracted the ire of University of Nairobi don, Dr Francis Owakah, who wondered whether the post was from a governor of a competitive city: “And you want to be a top city in the world?,” Owakah posed.
On Sunday, he posted again on Facebook 15 choice Bible verses that speak to courage and hope in the face of tribulations and personal struggles.
“For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me,” one of the verses reads.
On November 1, he was asking his followers on Twitter to vote for his mentor Donald Trump. But when Trump lost to Biden, he congratulated him.
“I want to concede (sic) defeat on behalf of the many supporters of my friend President Donald Trump,” Sonko tweeted as it became apparent that Trump was losing.
But if that statement raised eyebrows, the subliminal message in the second part of the statement carried weight.
“I further wish to congratulate the US system and deep state for failing to steal the presidential elections unlike here in East and Central Africa.”
But at their heart, Sonko’s recent rants also speak of his mental state, which should deserve attention.
Referring to Biden’s story of loss and dejection, Sonko said, without going into details, that he empathised with Biden who lost his wife and daughter in a road accident in 1972, and contemplated suicide.
“At some point he wanted to commit suicide just like me because he went through a lot of pain and hard times,” Sonko tweeted.