By Dr. Evans Kidero
Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko took out a paid advertorial in the Star of Tuesday April 29 to cast aspersions on my government. This cannot go without challenge.
Nairobi can do better. This is the general consensus regarding Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko Mbuvi. The man it is generally accepted single handedly lowers the stature and value of politics every day he claims to lead.
It is said we all have a little child inside us but I fear the child overuns the man in this case. Sonko has brought an unprecedented level of clownishness and immaturity into Nairobi politics. His demeanor, theatrics and mannerisms all testify to an under-development that is not suitable or advisable for one in high office.
The ridiculous level of showmanship that Sonko chooses as his modus operandi is embarrassing and demonstratively needy. I know it works as the media loves a good circus and the people a good laugh but it also reveals a man addicted to the spotlight with no sense of responsibility or appreciation of the systematic nature of governance, policy formulation or implementation.
Sonko was elected as Nairobi City Senator. Devolution is a new system in which he has a critical role to play as the capital’s representative in matters of cash allocation and other devolution central. He is also a member of a governance unit comprising myself and all the other elected leaders of the county regardless of party affiliation.
This is a role that requires mental keenness, finesse in argument and a willingness to work with the rest of the county set up. Sonko seems to lack an understanding of this role and possibly the capacity for it. This is not about showmanship or stealing the limelight-it about leadership.
Last week on Friday I called all the elected members of Parliament and Sonko as Nairobi senator to a meeting to discuss the countyâ€™s budget which has subsequently been revealed.
Sonko decline to attend this meeting and to add insult to injury Sonko took out a full page advertorial in the Star to supposedly explain himself but all he did was attempt to tarnish my image and that of my government.
This is showmanship yet again and even worse a manifest unwillingness to work with others. Sonko acts like he is the lone ranger who can sort all of Nairobi’s problems even they involve complex policy issues and mulit-level partnerships.
The elected leaders of Nairobi took time to engage with the Governor on the County budget Sonko could find it within himself to join the other elected leaders of Nairobi-from all parties. He is a one man show.
If indeed his grievances are genuine I find it impossible to imagine he would fail to find support from the elected members of county. In the advertisement Sonko alleges that I am playing cheap politics and invited him to use him as a rubber stamp for the 2014-15 budget.
It might interest Sonko to know that the Governor does not need his approval for the County budget and the invitation was for the purposes of consultation, teamwork and in the best interests of the people of Nairobi.
He goes to throw out all sorts of claims about looting of public resources and mismanagement of the county. Sonko claims I am rattled by him and the issues he has raised which include improper transfer of assets from the City council, a shortfall in banking totals going as far back as the beginning of March, garbage collection fraud, disappearance of cash bail and loss of medical supplies.
That is all good and well but what Sonko conveniently leaves out of his accusations is that all the improprieties he seeks to cast on me happened during the transition period from the City Council to Nairobi County.
I was still campaigning on March 1st and so was he if bothers to recollect. When I took over as Governor I realized that there were city council officers who were taking advantage of the transition for their own ends.
What did I do when I came in? I fired and suspended senior officials in the finance and procurement departments. Some of them their cases are still pending in court. I blacklisted 25 companies for supplying air and receiving payment, overpricing and other dubious practices.
As far as the Auditor-general’s report goes, that has to go to the county assembly for debate and adoption for their recommendations. When that happens it will come to my desk and I will take the appropriate action.
Sonko says he will present evidence to the Senate devolution committee and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. I invite him to do so. We have also just signed an MOU with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to eliminate the vice from crippling Nairobi County.
In his last point in the advertorial Sonko claims that I did not consult him on the County Finance Bill which according to him amounts to a lack of public participation and makes the bill-actually I signed into law already-unconstitutional.
When the constitution encourages public participation I am sure the framers did not mean Mike Sonko. Particularly since when he is invited he does not show up. It’s time to stop the one man show and work with other elected leaders of the county for the best interests of the people.
The door is open.
Writer is Nairobi County Governor.