By Dann Mwangi
Scandalous photos of Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko and women’s rep Rachel Shebesh have been trending in the social media and blogs for several weeks or so. In the same period, the two leaders are also said to have had a physical brawl in a hotel.
Although Sonko was quick to dismiss those photos and deny there is any intimate relationship between him and Shebesh, a certain blogger has openly alleged that he was facilitated by Sonko to splash them on the Internet. Sonko has blamed the al Shabab terror group and the National Intelligence Service for this predicament. In contrast, Shebesh has been on mute button, and even resigned from parliamentary committees.
In this regard, whether they deny or challenge the authenticity of these photos, the public court, which is always quicker and harsher than law courts, has already indicted them.
The two are not a reflection of the moral and social expectations of their leadership status.
- 1 Magistrate orders Sonko to be produced at Kahawa court
- 2 Court summons Sonko in Sh14m kickback case
- 3 No more foreign trips for city MCAs
- 4 Sonko to remain in hospital as court blocks ATPU from questioning him
In fact, even the Constitution and law expect leaders to behave in a dignified manner. Failure to do so has consequences. Article 73 of the Constitution expects state officers to demonstrate respect for the people, bring honour to the nation and dignity to the office and promote public confidence in the integrity of the office.
Based on these parameters, both Sonko and Shebesh have spectacularly failed.
In as much as both served in the last Parliament that watered down the legislation that was enacted to effect Chapter Six of the Constitution, the two should not be allowed to abuse the public trust that was bestowed on them by the people.
There are Nairobians who have agitated for their removal from office because of contravening this law but save for this avenue, which is difficult to implement, there is need for the two to hold their seats with dignity and decorum.
It does not augur well for Nairobi County and the nation at large when our leaders are paraded in such a scandalous manner in the social media whether through Photoshop or not as Sonko alleges. In fact, silence by Shebesh on this matter does not support Sonko’s theory that al Shabab and NIS are fighting him. Such behaviour will impede their delivery of service, as Shebesh has already resigned from parliamentary committees. Above all, no serious investor can partner with the two for developmental purposes in Nairobi.
In other developed democracies, the two would resign if caught in the kind of scandalous allegations that always follow them. But this being Kenya, they might go scot free, for now.
However, this does not mean that Nairobians have no recourse. They should exercise their voting power in 2017 to bring sanity in Nairobi by refusing to vote leaders who seem morally bankrupt and disrespectful of their trust.
If this is not done in 2017, we will continue having leaders who do not enjoy respect form both local and international investors and, therefore, be of no significance to Nairobians. For now, the two need to transform their approach to leadership. But that cannot be through doling handouts as Sonko believes.