A meeting held at State House and attended by powerful government officials most of whom have been at loggerheads with Nairobi governor Mike Sonko sealed the fate of the flamboyant county boss.
Highly placed sources revealed that the meeting was attended by Interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho, State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua, among others and was aimed at informing Uhuru Kenyatta on the planned arrest of Sonko. We could not establish if Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and the man in charge of Directorate of Criminal Investigations, George Kinoti, attended.
Since the arrest of Sonko was to be a high octane affair, and would attract national and international press, Uhuru was to be informed to avoid being caught offguard. Remember Sonko is the governor of Nairobi city, one of the leading economic hubs in Africa and well-known across the world.
It is a home of multinationals that operate in parts of Africa and an economic hub despite the country going through serious economic crisis under Uhuru’s watch. The president had to be briefed of the impending arrest.
After Uhuru gave the greenlight, it was all systems go as those involved planned how to execute the arrest. First, fear was Sonko has a network in the city and his arrest was likely to lead into demonstrations in the county. A special meeting of top city security officers was summoned. It was agreed, first that the anti-riot police be on standby and when Haji was announcing the planned arrest of Sonko and other suspects, they be ready to counter any eventuality.
Further, it was agreed that plaincloths officers be planted and monitor operations, homes of those perceived to surround Sonko, more so, those who were behind the Wanjiku movement the governor had formed to counter Kieleweke and Tanga Tanga factions within Jubilee.
A special unit under Nairobi county police operations was formed to hunt and arrest the governor.
In the past, Sonko had claimed Kibicho, Mbugua and State House operative Nancy Gitau were pressurising him to appoint their crony as the deputy governor.
He further claimed they had hatched a plot to clip his powers and were also behind the woes facing William Ruto.
Insiders add that the meeting explored ways to counter Sonko’s habit of ferrying goons to Integrity Centre to intimidate those carrying out investigations.
We have information that since the investigations on the graft began, Sonko has been under 24-hour surveillance.
The task of leading the police hunt was entrusted on head of operations Nairobi area that on October this year, led police in storming City Hall finance offices to effect a court order on controversial tender award payments.
The trail was simultaneously being undertaken by EACC and DCI detectives who trailed Sonko for close to 15 hours before he was finally arrested in Voi town.
One thing the security team was privy to was the fact that arresting Sonko at day time in Nairobi was not to be easy as his supporters would react and also he had informers within the police force. Talk is rife within the police that Sonko left his Upper Hill residence after being tipped off on the impending arrest by an insider in the force.
Other sources say that Sonko was not aware of the forthcoming of his arrest and was travelling to meet workers on his coast construction site with his bodyguards in a Mercedes Benz and a trailing Toyota Land Cruiser V8 when he was arrested in Voi after a 13-minute scuffle in which Sonko’s team was overpowered.
In fact, the source claimed that it was while on road that Sonko received a call from a friend briefing him on Haji’s press conference that got him dumbfounded and that is why the phone signal was traced to Voi. Otherwise, the source questioned why a man aware of arrest could switch his mobile phone on while on the run.
It is the scuffle that saw Hillary Mutyambai to order a team of police and a chopper, which was in Mombasa, to ferry the governor back to the capital.
The arrest followed the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji’s statement that he has sufficient evidence to warrant the prosecution of Sonko as well as senior City Hall officials following a review of the investigation file handed to the DPP by the EACC.
In a video taken during the arrest, Sonko is seen resisting arrest as officers struggle to take him into the chopper.
Sonko is allegedly held at the Integrity House where he spent his weekend. By the time of going to press, those fighting the embattled governor were contemplating filing a petition in court to have him taken back to Shimo La Tewa prison to complete his jail term.
They also want to charge Sonko for resisting arrest and giving false information to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
On the issue of money-laundering, the state want to make an application before court to freeze Sonko’s bank accounts and those associated with his family members and confiscate his properties running into millions of shillings.
The question is if Sonko controls billions of shillings in the county budget, how could he be linked to stealing of millions of shillings, one of his close associates asked, linking the arrest to witch-hunting.
Aside from Sonko, insiders add that Uhuru has reconstituted the Nairobi Regeneration Committee to advise him on the next course of action once Sonko is charged with graft. But those opposed to Sonko want MCAs to pass an impeachment motion against him during his trying moments.
Nairobi county speaker Beatrice Elachi will act as governor since Sonko has not named a deputy since the Polycarp Igathe’s resignation two years ago.
However, sources say that a section at State House are pushing for the return of Igathe as governor on grounds that when he resigned, Sonko never acknowledged his resignation letter and forwarded it officially to the assembly for the MCAs to discuss.
But the move could trigger a by-election in Nairobi as the speaker can only act for a period of 60 days.
Already, Haji has given an indication that he would seek to have the governor barred from accessing his office.
The DPP successfully managed to have governors Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) and Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu) barred from accessing their offices.
This has led to deputy governor James Nyoro taking over in Kiambu causing a political nightmare for Waititu and his government.
The only fall back now for Nairobi if Sonko is barred from accessing his office is the constitution which stipulates what should happen in the absence of a governor and deputy governor.
Article 182 (4) states that if a vacancy occurs in the office of county governor, and that of deputy county governor, or if the deputy county governor is unable to act, the speaker of the county assembly shall act as county governor.
According to sources, one of the options being floated to the president is the dissolution of the county government to pave way for the appointment of technocrats to run the city.
According to the constitution, the president may suspend a county government–(a) in an emergency arising out of internal conflict or war; or (b) in any other exceptional circumstances.
It further states that a county government shall not be suspended under clause (1) (b) unless an independent commission of inquiry has investigated allegations against the county government, the president is satisfied that the allegations are justified and the senate has authorised the suspension.
It further states that during a suspension under this article, arrangements shall be made for the performance of the functions of a county government in accordance with an Act of parliament.
The law says the senate may at any time terminate the suspension and a suspension under this article shall not extend beyond a period of ninety days.
Further on the expiry of the period provided for under clause (5), elections for the relevant county government shall be held.
Insiders add that the president will use the report to be presented to him by the Nairobi Regeneration Committee to justify the dissolution of the county government bearing in mind,city MCAs have also in past ingaged if fierce physical fights tainting the image of the country..
Formed 2017, the Nairobi Regeneration Committee was meant to regain the ‘Green City in the Sun’ status but lack of funds, supremacy battles, mistrust amongst agencies and infightings were among the issues that stalled the project.
The team was co-chaired by Tourism cabinet secretary Najib Balala and Sonko.
The programme was between the national government and the county government and focused on key economic and social sectors.
It was expected to significantly improve the livelihoods of Nairobi residents.
Besides Balala, other CSs roped in the programme were from Infrastructure, Energy, Water, Environment and Lands.
According to sources, the team is likely to recommend the dissolution of the county government due to internal wars pitting the MCAs and failure to offer services.
The team is studying a recommendation by Tharaka Nithi governor Muthomi Njuki for Nairobi county to be dissolved and its operations taken over by the national government.
The capital city, according to the recommendations, is such an important place to be left in the hands of a governor and it is often an inconvenience for the president, whose seat of power is Nairobi, to have to stoop down to a governor for consultations before implementing his agenda.
Depoliticisation of Nairobi will see it operate like United States’ seat of political power, Washington DC, which is not classified as a county.
In the past, there have been other attempts by the senate to disband Nairobi and have it as a metropolitan under the national government with the latest attempt a bill fronted by Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot.
Former Murang’a senator Kembi Gitura had also brought a similar proposal in the 11th parliament but it was rejected because of perceived political undertones.
Joho works on Coast 2022 lineup – Weekly Citizen
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho has renewed his war against Coast elected leaders who are perceived to be supportive of William Ruto’s 2022 Presidential bid. Currently, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya is under siege from hostile MCAs suspected to be under instructions of Joho through county speaker Sammy Ruwa.
Ruwa has been a longtime Joho sidekick and has also acted as his legal adviser in the past. He has been fronted for governor seat twice but rejected. He is speaker for a second term. Towards the end of Mvurya’s first term, he has been a Ruto man. He has no time for Joho, insisting Kwale is not an extension of Mombasa county. In the last general elections, Joho had vowed to ensure Mvurya was defeated at the ballot. But this was never to be after the Mombasa governor fell out with Chirau Mwakwere who was a sure bet against Mvurya on the then popular ODM ticket.
After Mwakwere bolted out of ODM to Wiper, Joho turned to little known Issa Chipera as party candidate. Chipera literally became minced meat for Mvurya who easily beat him and made a comeback on a Jubilee ticket. Mvurya is grooming his deputy Fatuma Achani to succeed him in the next general election but observers say this is a tall order. Joho on the other hand is reportedly pushing Crop Development PS Hamad Boga for the Kwale seat against Mvurya’s candidate and Mwakwere. Another Ruto man on Joho’s radar is Kaloleni MP Paul Katana. Recently, the legislator was discharged as a member of the parliamentary investment committee in actions said to have the Mombasa governor’s hand.
Ironically, Katana was Joho’s PA when he served as Kisauni MP. But it appears other than fighting Katana for aligning himself with Ruto, he never wanted him to be MP in the first place. In the 2013 general election when Katana first contested and lost to little known Gunga Mwinga, there were allegations that ODM insiders had rigged him out. Currently, Joho is said to be financing the political activities of Mwinga to undermine Katana in the constituency. Katana has said severally that his cooperation with Ruto is because of the handshake between Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta. “I’m a loyal member of ODM with full respect to my party leader. I also support the handshake and that is why I have been working with DP Ruto to further development in my constituency,” the legislator was quoted as saying.
He has also said his cooperation with Ruto is not for selfish reasons but for the benefit of his constituents. He says the DP has presided over high profile funds drives towards public projects in his constituency. The MP says some of the people fighting him have never assisted Kaloleni to move forward but wants leaders who can bootlick them.“I’m independent-minded and I work for the interest of my people who elected me and have no time for sycophancy,” Katana says. Mohammed Ali of Nyali constituency and a close ally of the DP is another one whom Joho is scheming against. He is pushing his cousin Said Abdalla aka Saido against the Jicho Pevu.
Jicho Pevu’s recent rising political profile after he filed a motion to impeach transport CS James Macharia over chaos at Mombasa port has alarmed the Joho camp. In spite of the rejection of the motion by Speaker Justin Muturi, Ali has become a hero in Mombasa. Last week, pro-Joho Mombasa MPs led by Mvita’s Abdulswamad Nassir were doing damage control. They toured the port and pleaded with the KPA management to put out a notice affirming that usage of SGR for containers upcountry was optional. This was meant to cool the heat against them after residents began collecting signatures to recall them for failing to support Jicho Pevu motion. Another Joho political foe Aisha Jumwa of Malindi constituency is politically wounded and the Mombasa governor no longer cares what she does or says. The Malindi MP’s self-inflicted woes have dimmed her 2022 Kilifi governor bid.
Fresh political formation in Siaya ahead of 2022 – Weekly Citizen
There are plans afoot to drop Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi from a leading role in Senator James Orengo gubernatorial campaign team. Observers point that the surprising decision was reached after it became clear that the controversial legislator was no longer appealing to the majority of voters.
There were earlier reports of an inside analysis conducted within Siaya senator campaign inner circle that hinted the disadvantages of trusting the MP with a major role yet he was also facing stiff opposition from notable politicians in the region. The development debate comes hot on the heels of a video that went viral showing the evidently intoxicated legislator dancing suggestively during a house party attended by women, as his Gem counterpart Elisha Odhiambo cheered. Weekly Citizen has established that political formations are already regrouping in Siaya ahead of 2022 general election and a section of political leaders including top ODM party officials from Alego Usonga are not happy with Atandi’s quick move to front Senator Orengo for the county’s governorship.
Area governor Cornell Rasanga has confronted the lawmaker on a number of occasions describing his early campaigns in support of Orengo as a lack of respect for his office. The protest by the governor sparked off an anti-Atandi wave as he was immediately joined by a host of formidable politicians from Alego Usonga in castigating the MP accused of overstepping his political mandate. The local ODM party leadership led by Alego Usonga branch chairman John Orwenjo, and secretary Paul Jura reaffirmed that the party had crowned Rasanga as their bona fide patron and it was, therefore, his duty to offer political direction on matters regarding his successor. The Orengo-led group which also brings together Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo and his Rarieda counterpart Otiende Amollo has been roundly accused of leading early full-scale political activities at the expense of development.
MCAs chairman Sylvester Madialo warned Atandi to stop creating confusion among voters, adding he should hold his horse and wait for the party whistle to be blown or prepare to equally lose his seat at the ballot. The leaders including Township MCA Obiero Otare, Vincent Odawa (North Alego), Judy Okumu (West Alego), Joseph Mboha (South East Alego), and Winnie Otieno (nominated) have loudly questioned how Atandi would deliver for Orengo when he is standing on a politically shaky ground. It is claimed that the Siaya senator blocked Atandi from using his chopper to escape from a crowd that turned rowdy during a food distribution to flood victims in his constituency. It is reported that trouble started after the MP barred Usonga ward MCA Madialo from addressing his voters after the food distribution. People with disabilities who had attended the event reportedly bayed for his blood after he gave them a paltry sh100 prompting Orengo to deny the lawmaker a chopper ride in fear that associating with him would jeopardize his 2022 governorship bid.
Rogue Kisumu NGO’s money minting gimmicks – Weekly Citizen
Various stakeholders and residents of Kisumu county have called upon Nyanza regional police commander Noah Mwivanda and his DCI counterpart Daniel Kipsoi, to investigate the activities of the chairman of an NGO called Magnum Environment Network Michael Nyaguti. The NGO, it is claimed, is a briefcase one with no donor funding surviving fully on extortion and threats. By last week, a victim was planning to institute private criminal charges against the NGO.
They are accusing Nyaguti of extortion and blackmail of people under the guise of encroaching on water catchment areas and flouting environmental laws failure of which he always resorts to going to courts as an interested party of the said social vice. One of the victims narrated that sometimes back, he was developing rental houses near Lake Victoria and had been given all the required documents from the county, Nema, and all relevant authorities to commence his work only for Nyaguti to appear menacing at the site with a group of people he called officials of Magnum Environment Network accompanied by some people who looked like police officers who demanded that I show them documents in regard to what I was doing. Most developers ranging from real estate to hospitable industries are saying that they are really undergoing rough times in the hands of the said Nyaguti who on most occasions is accompanied by some rogue police officers who intimidate and threaten their respective targets with arrests. The said Nyaguti had sometimes back attempted to extort Sh5 million each from former governors Evans Kidero and Jack Ranguma, together with a senior leading civil servant under the guise that they had bought land which should have been part of Lake Victoria.
When the trio was adamant that they would not give him any money, he sued them saying they had encroached on wetlands. The same Nyaguti also sued the Kisumu county government and Nyanza Golf Club which he accused of reclaiming the wetland at the mouth of River Kisat without convening a public participatory forum, as part extortion antics but his bid has fallen on deaf ears. He had also sued Kenya Ports Authority, Kisumu after the parastatal had ordered beach management units out of its land after collecting thousands of shillings from the said victims. Recently together with other activists, they stormed Western offices of Kenya Wildlife Service demanding that they investigate a ring of cartels believed to be working in cahoots with officers to defraud victims of wildlife attacks of their compensation. After his request was rejected, he called a meeting in Kisumu with some of the victims who had not been paid and tried to convince them to give him the power of attorney so that he could press them for their payment. Efforts to get Nyaguti’s comments were fruitless while a senior KWS officer said that they have a clear policy on how KWS compensates. “KWS has no agreement with anyone to peruse payments,” he said.