Sakaja to bar owners, cartels: I am not a pushover

Governor Johnson Sakaja

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu I Nation Media Group

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has insisted he will remain steadfast in implementing what is for the common good, telling off big men, cartels and voices of impunity to look elsewhere for another county to capture.

Mr Sakaja in his Tuesday evening interview on Royal Media Services said “there are certain things we cannot compromise on…it is about a stand, sticking to it and providing leadership”.

Tellingly, Mr Sakaja said “there is a deep state in terms of statecraft…There are few people who make certain decisions…few individuals who have great influence over billions in resources…but state capture can never be louder than the voice of the people. We have the rule of law”. 

In an apparent bid to shed off the pushover greenhorn political minion image that can be intimidated left, right and centre, Mr Sakaja skillfully dropped a bombshell that he was the initiator of the 2013 President Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidential contest. 

He regretted that the same Kenyatta was to fight so hard to have him disqualified from contesting the Nairobi governor position on grounds of insufficient education “but I am happy the truth came out…a strong judicial system proved to him that it was not all about the rule of man but the rule of law”.

He said: "I miss the good feelings about Uhuru' Kenyatta the friend...politics divided us but I hold no grudge, I have since forgiven him and moved on".

Turning lyrical in his account of what he went through, the city boss said he emerged classic reference of an individual’s struggle where “no pain no gain, no cross no crown, no guts no glory, no falls no throne…” 

Four petitioners went to court to block his bid but he was cleared by the courts and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) three weeks to the General Election.

“I was kept shuttling to courts, to DCI (Directorate of Criminal Investigations) offices to campaign rallies and to my office out of scheme of the very man I had personally persuaded he could become President,” he added.

Mr Sakaja revealed how in 2009 at Jomo Gecaga’s house in Muthaiga, they together with Anne Waiguru, Antonio Kihara and Marvin Tumbo presented to Mr Kenyatta statistics that he could be Fourth President.

“He couldn’t believe it…I made the presentation backed with numbers and told him he could be President. He called his brother Mr Muhoho Kenyatta and they stood out in the rain for one hour…consulting and when he came back, he said he was ready,” Mr Sakaja said.

He also recalled that in 2013, Mr Kenyatta's presidential bid was being opposed by the deep state and he had thrown in the towel and decided to support Mr Musalia Mudavadi for the top job.

“I led those who said no to the Mudavadi endorsement and took delegates to Multimedia University…I did not even know how to pay for them…That is the day I became a politician…I sang in the boardroom as I wore a yellow tie saying we have refused in totality (the withdrawal of Kenyatta candidature),” he said.

He added that “I said there are two Kenyatta’s—one who decides where his family attends its holidays…and the other one who presents our hopes and dreams…you cannot run away from the Presidency”.

To political pundits, the message is clear” Mr Sakaja is not ready to take orders that encroach on his mandate and the timing of his self-volunteered deeper insights into his political soul can only be meant to serve a warning that he can as well play high profile politics and at the same time put his foot down.

On December 19 in Nyeri County, Mr Gachagua warned Mr Sakaja that "Mt Kenya made you governor and we are vigilant on our interests" and "we must get involved in those decisions that have an effect on our people". 

Mr Gachagua claimed that he is the one who talked to voters from Mt Kenya and persuaded them to vote for Sakaja.

"I want Sakaja to note that all decisions that will negatively affect Mt Kenya people in Nairobi must be discussed. I have to be involved. We will not accept anything that troubles our businessmen," he said.

Among the Mt Kenya interests in the capital are public transport, entertainment, licenses and hawking. Mr Sakaja’s administration has been burning the midnight oil trying to come up with structural solutions to perennial neglect leading to chaos in the sectors.

“Take a case of bars in the residential areas…we are not against them, I am not against them…what I am opposed to is noise they make to their neighbours…This argument that there will be jobs lost if we insist on them not making noise…who is employed to make noise? There is no job called making noise…They will have to reduce those volumes,” he said.

He said “nightclubs must be considerate of their neighbours…we have one such neighboring hospitals and kin are relocating patients because of noise”.  

He lamented that “some people only think of profits with no morals to a point we can float illogical arguments that advance justifications that it is okay for our children to go without sleep and failing to do their homework because adults are having fun in nearby noisy nightclubs…is that really the society we want to build?”

Mr Sakaja added that he is going to do away with 46 companies that had been contracted to deliver city garbage to Dandora dump-site terming it “a cash cow mentored drive”.

He revealed that the contracted garbage collectors were conspiring with weighbridge officers to corrupt tonnage for onward billing to the City County.

“They would add stones and water into the garbage to make it heavier hence reflect on weighbridge records…We are doing away with those contracts once they expire in March and April next year and I will pay Sh3 billion for those arrangements. I will bring in 3,000 youths and 51 refuse compactors to do that job,” he said.