Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko before Senate in Nairobi in December 2020 during the hearing of his impeachment motion.

Then Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko when he appeared before the Senate in Nairobi in December 2020 during the hearing of his impeachment motion.

| Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Sonko against the world

The beginning of the end of former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko began way back in December 2019 when his attempt to escape arrest was thwarted in Voi, Taita-Taveta County.

From then on, it was a slippery road for the once flamboyant governor as he lost one battle after another in his bid to stay in power.

Feeling cornered after being charged with the theft of Sh357 million at City Hall, Mr Sonko went on the rampage, picking fights with every enemy, real or perceived.

In March this year, Sonko picked a fight with Kitisuru MCA Alvin Palapala following a disagreement between the two.

He accused Mr Palapala of being among Nairobi MCAs who diverted bursary funds meant for needy students.

Questioned reshuffling

The second-time MCA said that the fight started when he questioned Mr Sonko’s frequent reshuffling, suspension and sacking of county staff, occasioning their fallout.

“This is a war between me and Sonko that started in 2018. He is trying to intimidate me because I signed his impeachment motion and having called him out for constantly reshuffling his Cabinet. Let him come out clearly and show me where I signed any bursary cheque,” said Mr Palapala.

This was after the former Makadara MP had survived a censure motion sponsored by Minority Whip Peter Imwatok.

Soon after, Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) came into the picture with Major- General Mohammed Badi as its Director-General.

This was after Mr Sonko had transferred four county functions -- health, transport, public works, utilities and ancillary services, and county planning and development -- to the national government.

Punching bag

Maj-Gen Badi was soon turned into a punching bag by the former City Hall boss, who felt relegated to the periphery in the running of affairs of the capital city.

The two leaders were embroiled in never-ending turf wars, touching on health services, payment for services, salaries to staff and revenue collection.

Mr Sonko, in a bid to frustrate operations of the NMS, refused to hand over to NMS projects under the transferred functions, and the county’s payroll, with the latter insisting it is the bona fide owner of the payroll.

On revenue collection, City Hall kept running its own digital payment platform parallel to that of NMS.

But even before then, the former City Hall boss had also declined to obey an order by the National Treasury to hand over crucial documents pertaining to the transferred functions.

Four days

In April, the National Treasury gave senior City Hall officers four days to submit to the national government crucial documents related to the transferred functions.

This was after it emerged that City Hall was yet to provide to NMS crucial information necessary in aiding the State takeover of four functions, almost a month after the Deed of Transfer of functions took effect.

But Mr Sonko stood his ground and refused to submit the documents.

He accused the national government of constantly breaching the terms of the Deed of Transfer of functions.

While at it, he also started a fight with former Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi after the attempt at his impeachment.

Ms Elachi resigned in August, citing power tussles, frustrations and interference from Mr Sonko.

“Governor Sonko, you cannot go on threatening people’s lives and those of their families. You also have a family. You cannot have everything. Just nurture what God has given you,” she said in a statement.

He then took on Jubilee leadership at the Assembly, with Majority Leader Abdi Guyo being mostly on the receiving end.

It is time we send the governor back to Mua Hills.

Together with the opposition, Mr Guyo masterminded the ouster of Mr Sonko in December, putting to an end his reign at City Hall.

“It is time we send the governor back to Mua Hills as we cannot allow him to sit an extra day in office. I apologise on behalf of the Jubilee Party for having elected an inefficient and incapable governor,” Mr Guyo said after the impeachment.

Attempts by President Uhuru Kenyatta to broker a truce between Mr Sonko and Maj-Gen Badi proved futile with Mr Sonko launching one tirade after the other on the NMS boss, at one time calling him “Saddam Hussein”.

In October, Mr Sonko picked another fight with the Nairobi County Assembly over the passage of the county’s Sh37.5 billion budget.

No assent

After the city MCAs approved the budget that left his administration with a paltry Sh8.4 billion against NMS’ Sh27.1 billion, he declined to assent to the Nairobi City County Appropriation Bill, 2020.

His memorandum rejecting the budget was shot down by 88 ward representatives a month later.

However, he hit back by refusing to append his signature on the returned bill and even after its gazettement, decline to sign warrants to allow for its implementation grinding operations of both the county government and NMS in the process.

Mr Sonko scaled up his fury by taking on President Uhuru Kenyatta whom he accused of changing for the worse after becoming the President.

He said the President was no longer concerned with the plight of the common mwananchi while also laying bare his displeasure with President Kenyatta’s alleged hand in what is going on in Nairobi County.

He also claimed that the President hoodwinked him into signing the Deed of Transfer of functions in February which gave away four functions to NMS.