A fresh plot to force Nairobi governor Mike Sonko to resign over corruption and criminal allegations has been hatched.
The key movers of the plot include Jubilee nominated MP Maina Kamanda and Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs chief administrative secretary Rachel Shebesh.
Shebesh is a key member of the Embrace women group supporting Building Bridges Initiative for Kenya whose other members are Kirinyaga governor Ann Waiguru, Homa Bay county woman rep Gladys Wanga and Taveta MP Naomi Shaban and a host of elected female legislators. They enjoy support of powerful individuals surrounding president Uhuru Kenyatta who are at war war Sonko. The notable one being powerful Internal Security principal secretary Karanja Kibicho.
They are also using Wanga who is close to ODM leader Raila Odinga to push their agenda in the corridors of power much to the chagrin of William Ruto camp.
Weekly Citizen has information, Kamanda and Shebesh have been mandated to streamline operations at City Hall and tame Sonko. This is happening as anti-Sonko forces are creating a big rift between the governor and Uhuru. Keen observers will agree, during the recent function to launch the construction Express Highway from Mlolongo to Westlands, Uhuru while allowing Sonko to address the gathering warned him against rhetoric speech but to concentrate on burning issues affecting city residents. During Mashujaa Day celebrations in Mombasa, Sonko was also among governors whose seat was placed several rows behind the president.The popular governor was not even allowed to seat among his colleaques.
That the Kamanda-Shebesh camp is out to control the influential county assembly MCAs and end up impeaching Sonko is part of the scheme.Suprisingly, Sonko is unware of the plot as for now seems to be winning and dining with his enemies out to finish him.
It all startred with installment of Nairobi county speaker Beatrice Elachi is also a key member of Embrace. She is set to take over as acting governor once Sonko resigns. The move is to counter Sonko decision not to name his deputy governor.
Embrace Kenya is funded by State House through Kibicho who like Kamanda and Shebesh, does not see eye-to-eye with the Nairobi county chief.
Last week, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission sent out fresh summons for Sonko to present himself at their headquarters along Valley Road, Nairobi this Tuesday.
The governor was summoned in regards to allegations that he had lied while seeking clearance to run for office in the 2017 general election.
“The commission is investigating allegations that you provided false information to the commission in your self-declaration form dated March 9 2017,” read an excerpt of the statement.
Under the law, individuals seeking to run for public office are mandated to fill out self-declaration forms available on the EACC website, before being cleared to contest in an election.
The EACC boss Twalib Mbarak summoned Sonko after unearthing evidence that he had several pending criminal cases at the time he was running for office, information he reportedly did not include in his self-declaration form.
The reports further claimed that if found guilty, the governor could not only face a 5-year jail term, but could also lose his seat and be barred from running for public office.
In August, Sonko said he was ready to step aside to pave way for investigations.
He had been summoned by EACC to record a statement on graft allegations he made against Nairobi woman representative Esther Passaris.
Sources say the return of Elachi is part of the scheme to force Sonko to resign. With Elachi in the chair and without a friendly majority leader, impeachment motion basing on the current EACC probe on Sonko is in the offing. To compound matters is the decision by Raila to whip Nasa-allied MCAs mostly in ODM to back Elachi return.
Last week assembly speaker Elachi conducted the business of the assembly amid chaos as MCAs allied to leader of majority Abdi Guyo shouted her down. It has emerged, deputy president William Ruto had met the anti-Elachi MCAs and told them to oppose Elachi’s return. Ruto is aware of Raila hand and that of Kamanda in current wars in the assembly.
Informed sources say Elachi is also out to control county public service board. Elachi and her proxies claim the board is corrupt and numerous foreign trips have been used to mint milions.
The assembly sittings had started at exactly 2.35pm. For 30 minutes, MCAs allied to Guyo disrupted as the speaker read out the contents in the order paper.
The MCAs walked out of the chamber after her speech with those supporting Elachi applauding. At one point, MCAs engaged in fisticuffs after a group for the speaker disrupted a rejoinder press meeting of MCAs who have been scheming for her impeachment.
Pro-Elachi MCAs addressing journalists called for unity between Jubilee and Nasa vowed to quash any plan to impeach her. Infact it is the said faction, once Elachi takes control of the chamber, will move to impeach Sonko.
Nairobi West MCA Maurice Gari said that no ODM MCA will sign up for the planned impeachment motion and was supported by Ziwani/Kariokor MCA Millicent Mugadi.
Hamza MCA Mark Ndung’u who is being pushed by Shebesh to take over from Guyo as majority leader questioned the motive behind impeaching Elachi even after the party gave a directive on the matter.
Those opposing Elachi led by the chief whip Waithera Chege are said to have already forwarded their notice of impeachment motion to the clerk who will verify the signatures before allocating it. It is imperative to note, Elachi has removed the clerk Jacob Ngwele on grounds he was part of her impeachment process. For now Sonko is working with Elachi upon discovery Ngwelee was planning his impeachment.
Sonko is also supporting Ndungu to take over from Guyo.
Elachi for almost a year has been out of office despite a court order reinstating her after she challenged her impeachment.
The status quo was to remain according to a meeting chaired by party secretary general Raphael Tuju.
Tuju also touched on the MCAs displeasure with Elachi for working closely with ODM colleagues, saying that their association with them is important and strategic in supporting the party’s agenda.
Insiders revealed that Elachi will act as the governor once Sonko is forced to step down.
The constitution states that the office of the county governor shall become vacant if the holder of the office–
(b) resigns, in writing, addressed to the speaker of the county assembly;
If a vacancy occurs in the office of county governor and that of deputy county governor, or if the deputy county governor is unable to act, the speaker of the county assembly shall act as county governor.
(5) If a vacancy occurs in the circumstances contemplated by clause (4), an election to the office of county governor shall be held within 60 days after the speaker assumes the office of county governor.
Sonko has not appointed a deputy governor since the resignation of Polycarp Igathe.
The county legislators, most of them allied to Ruto, want to send Elachi home as one way of stopping Sonko’s removal plot and weaken the DP influence in city politics ahead of 2022..
The pro-Elachi MCAs warned Guyo to either respect the law and party or step aside.
Embakasi MCA Michael Ogada said that whoever is fighting Elachi is against the handshake brought by Uhuru and Raila Odinga.
South B MCA Waithera Chege displayed a court order claiming it had been issued by the Labour and Employment Court barring Elachi from presiding over assembly business.
At least 67 ward reps signedthe motion to remove the speaker who returned to the assembly three weeks ago following her impeachment in September last year.
Already, Elachi has severed links with Ruto.
The Nairobi speaker who had been one of the DP’s close allies surprised many by rallying leaders from Western to back one of their own instead of trouping to Sugoi.
Speaking during the burial of Lug a r i M P Ay u bS a v u l a ’ s d a u g h t e r , J o a n n e Chepchirchir at Manyonyi village, Elachi said the region must s u p p o r t A m a n i Na t i o n a l Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi. She has now abandoned Mudavadi and is a key supporter of handshake.
The Nairobi county speaker was among Ruto’s foot soldiers who would crisscross the region popularising the DP and urging locals to stand with the latter.
Her decision to ditch Ruto was informed by the fact that some of the DP’s friends contributed to her ouster as speaker.
Elachi owes her return to office after 13 months in the cold to Raila and the fallout between Sonko andGuyo.
Since her eviction last year, Nairobi MCAs from both sides of the political divide have been open in their unanimous opposition to her return, vowing not to let her ever set foot in the speaker’s office.
But ODM MCAs were ordered by their party leader to respect a court order declaring Elachi as the bona f i d eassembly speaker and allow for her return.
Guyo while contributing to a motion on the floor of the house asserted that those in support of Elachi should “employ her in their bedrooms”, an assertion that drew a backlash from ODM MCAs resulting in chaos at the assembly.
For now, analysts say, Sonko should careful ly read the return of Elachi and work on the divide a rule formula in the assembly to avoid impeachment bearing in mind he has not named his deputy.