Sonko picked as Wiper aspirant for Mombasa governor race

Sonko picked as Wiper candidate for Mombasa governor race.

Former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko will run for Mombasa governor on a Wiper ticket after a deal brokered by the party’s leader Kalonzo Musyoka saw Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo step down in his favour.

Mr Mbogo, in the deal, will now be Sonko’s running mate.

“As a result of wide consultations, Governor Sonko becomes the Wiper candidate to be deputised by Ali Mbogo,” said Mr Musyoka when he handed the ticket to Sonko.

The former Nairobi governor will face the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) candidate Abdulswamad Nassir and United Democratic Alliance (UDA)’s Hassan Omar.

By shifting his base from Nairobi where he has played all of his national politics to the county of his birth, Mombasa, Sonko appears to have no apologies for whetting his political appetite.

Watching his moves

His entry into the Mombasa governor’s race has shaken the region’s politics with other contestants watching his moves. Sonko is seen as a threat to their election because of his profile.

With the political about-turn, Sonko could also be playing realpolitik.

Depending on how he plays his cards, he could also set himself up for stiff opposition, which ODM operatives might capitalise on to settle old political scores with him. 

Sonko, who was impeached as Nairobi governor in 2020, brings to the race strengths and weaknesses.

He is a known brand name across the county and had projected herself as a performer who was kicked out by Jubilee enemies. He will, however, have to fight the tag that he is using the seat to cleanse his controversial past in the public service.

He still maintains that his removal from office, which has been confirmed by the High Court and the Court of Appeal, was illegal, and that the Supreme Court will vindicate him.

Banned from US

Last month, Sonko and his immediate family members were banned from travelling to the US over corruption allegations related to abuse of office and bribery. The ban is based on "involvement in significant corruption” during his short tenure at City Hall.

The travel ban was issued against Sonko and members of his immediate family including his wife and two daughters.

The designation means they have also been banned from doing any business with the US.

Fighting impeachment

Sonko was sent packing by Nairobi MCAs on grounds of abuse of office, gross misconduct and lack of capability to run county affairs, accusations that he had repeatedly denied.

While his latest effort to challenge his removal from office was thrown out by the Court of Appeal, he has since filed a petition to have the matter heard and determined by the Supreme Court.

His debut in politics was in 2010 when he won the Makadara parliamentary seat through a by-election.

He went to Parliament on a Narc Kenya ticket after being denied the ODM party ticket, trouncing city political godfathers Reuben Ndolo and the late Dick Wathika.

In 2013, he won the Nairobi’s senatorial seat and in the 2017, he beat Dr Evans Kidero to become Nairobi’s second governor.