January 8, 2021 - 5 minutes read

Silver linings in the wake of Sonko’s exit

By The Vellum Team

Anyone who knows anything about Mike Sonko would know it is naïve not to expect that he would have a record of any interaction with him.

The latest proof has been in the form of a recording of a conversation he alleges to have had with Christina Pratt, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s sister, at the time he was prevaricating about the appointment of a Deputy Governor.

The impeached man says Christina was lobbying for him to appoint Jane Weru, a daughter-in-law of Retired President Mwai Kibaki who has worked for the Rockefeller Foundation. Parallel to the affidavit making the allegation, Sonko unleashed an alleged recording of the conversation, which promptly started making the rounds on WhatsApp, which makes it difficult to establish its source and verify its origins.

This allegation is contained in filings that Sonko has made in an application to stop the vetting of Anne Mwenda, who he had nominated to be his deputy but came up against a challenge in the form of a petition at the High Court. Peter Agoro, the man who filed the petition, has since withdrawn it, and the judge handling the case has accepted it, but Sonko is now opposed to that going ahead. The application to stop the vetting, with the attached non sequitar on the lobbying for Weru, is the former Governor’s latest attempt to stop his replacement.

He has already succeeded in stopping the by-election scheduled for February, which will create the legal question of whether the Acting Governor can serve beyond the 60 days stated in the law if no by-election has been held.

The upshot of all the legal maneuvering taking place in the Nairobi City County is that the Governor’s seat will remain without a substantive occupant for the foreseeable future. City residents are likely not to notice the absence of the Governor if they are to use the provision of services as the measure, as the Nairobi Metropolitan Services continues uninterrupted. The Acting Speaker has also shaken things up a little by carrying out a reshuffle and has shown that he can be trusted to make the right decisions for the provision of services in the capital city to remain working.

Proponents of the arrangement made possible by the President when he presided over the transfer of key functions do not mind the shenanigans after Sonko’s exit as his departure, and the resultant reduction of chaos in the management of the city, as they are better to have than the impunity that had taken root at City Hall. It is far much better when the fights are in the courts than in the chambers of the County Assembly and the corridors of City Hall.

The circles in the court and the intrigue at City Hall also mean that the likely headache of the by-election remains on ice and the President’s men can continue to work on a strategy to either avoid the poll altogether or win it without much drama.

For investors and the private sector with an interest in the capital city, they can now realistically hope that Nairobi will acquire the predictability necessary to make it easier to do business and grow wealth there.

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