Recently Senator Mike Sonko has shown his intention to exploit his popularity to take on Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero. Only he isn’t waiting for the next election. Sonko is ‘exposing’ alleged rot and providing some services through Sonko Rescue team that the County government provides, in what is seen as directly attacking the perceived inefficiency of Kidero. To do so Sonko has tried to take advantage of Kidero’s biggest weakness: his stint at Mumias Sugar. The Senator recently took out a two-page advert in The Standard to expose how the cartels that brought Mumias to its knees are now allegedly doing business with Nairobi County with Kidero’s connivance.
THE LINK BETWEEN MUMIAS SUPPLIERS AND CITY HALL pic.twitter.com/sq9mrcElx6
— Mike Sonko (@MikeSonko) March 8, 2015
Sonko’s other weapon? The Sonko Rescue Team! Last week KTN aired an infomercial of the exploits of the Sonko Rescue Team in Nairobi. It showed Sonko’s team of privately funded do-gooders helping to lessen the burdens of daily life for some of the city’s dwellers. Whether it’s helping out fire victims, cleaning up neighborhoods, providing top-of-the-range transportation for a wedding or an ambulance ride to the nearest hospital, the point of the eighteen-minute-long clip was the Sonko rescue team has you covered. It’s no secret that Sonko prefers charity to governing. The Nairobi Senator’s philosophy seems to be: cash rules everything around me! His generosity has won him many fans and supplicants who line up outside his office for handouts. Sonko’s actions haven’t escaped the notice of Kidero. The governor recently all but called Sonko a drug dealer and of trying to set up a parallel county government.
— Daily Nation (@dailynation) March 17, 2015
— The Star, Kenya (@TheStarKenya) March 17, 2015
The political tension between the two Nairobi leaders is doing no good to Nairobi citizens. The Governor could be right to be worried about the Sonko rescue team programs which his government should otherwise provide. However this should be a wake up call to his service delivery efficiency and quality.
Some questions have been raised about the source of Senator Sonko’s money and his motives. He has stated before that they are from his businesses including real estate. It is certainly his constitutional right to serve the citizens of Nairobi in whatever way possible, so long as they are legal. He is also within his constitutional right to highlight the alleged rot in the city. He should further this by providing the documents to the relevant institutions including Senate and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
Nairobians will be watching these developments hoping that the two leaders will put aside their differences and work for them. They will also be waiting to see how institutions charged with accountability like Parliament and EACC investigate and get to the bottom of accountability issues raises against the Governor not just in Nairobi but also in Mumias Sugar Company.