Opinion

It's time Mr Sonko left City Hall for us to elect a fitting governor

It's time Mr Sonko left City Hall for us to elect a fitting governor
  • Mr Mbuvi must be made to restrain himself from making utterances against the EACC and its officers.

  • This is an attempt at coercing individuals and the investigating authority and should not be tolerated.

  • Let them do their job and, in turn, let Mr Mbuvi be allowed to defend himself in court, not in the public arena.

The several million of us who live in our capital city watch with alarm and dismay as our county government is reduced to a mere punctured football to be kicked around on a playing field which belongs to us. This is totally unacceptable as we rely and depend on it for a variety of services, which are deteriorating fast or are in name only.

INTEGRITY

The whole institution, which was arguably fragile before, is being run down at lightning speed and is, literally, on the rocks. If in doubt, just walk round any of its offices and talk to its demoralised staff. If in any doubt after that, look at the services it purports to offer.

Democracy is a hard-won freedom that most of us cherish. Unfortunately, one price of democracy is that voters can make wrong choices. When they do so, they have the option to remedy that at the next election.

Okay, Governor Mike Sonko Mbuvi, aka Mbuvi Gideon Kioko, won the election for governorship. But Mr Mbuvi Gideon Kioko has shown himself totally unworthy of the mandate given to him and must step down now and allow the relevant democratic processes to replace him to kick in.

I give several reasons for this contention. The first is that there is enough in the public arena to actually question how he managed to get clearance through the relevant integrity checks and balances as required by our Constitution.

ABERRATIONS

Anyone aspiring for public office has to go through vetting, which involves DCI and EACC clearance. In this case, Mr Mbuvi had a criminal record, which must have shown up clearly on the radar. That is made worse by the fact that he escaped from prison without having served his full sentence. And not only was he sent to prison for an offence but he is liable to be charged for those two additional offences. That goes against the leadership and integrity requirements as outlined in Chapter Six of the Constitution.

Of course, one is entitled to ask whether there were any aberrations in the system that turned a blind eye to those records and, if so, who was at fault and, hence, culpable? Chapter Six is a fundamental plank of the Constitution and must be adhered to fully by all.

Now, let us turn to the ongoing investigations against Mr Mbuvi. The EACC is conducting investigations into some Sh27.4 million that it says was wired into accounts belonging to Mr Mbuvi from three entities who were awarded contracts by his administration. Whether there will be further charges remains to be seen.

UTTERANCES

Obviously, any relevant cases must be heard, the evidence presented and the accused allowed to defend himself. But that notwithstanding, the defendant should step aside to avoid interference. And this is not just a procedural nor governance requirement. It is a legal one. Justice Mumbi Ngugi has already ruled with regard to Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu’s court cases.

The time is ripe for Mr Mbuvi to step aside to allow investigations to be completed, and for the case to be heard and concluded. More important though is that the investigations and the case proceeds without any hectoring and bullying.

If necessary, Mr Mbuvi must be made to restrain himself from making utterances against the EACC and its officers. This is an attempt at coercing individuals and the investigating authority and should not be tolerated. Let them do their job and, in turn, let Mr Mbuvi be allowed to defend himself in court, not in the public arena.

RESTORATION

Now to the institution of Nairobi City County. Once Mr Mbuvi steps aside, there is the obvious question of who takes over, even on an interim basis, as there is no deputy governor. If the procedure is that the Speaker of County Assembly takes over for 90 days, let that be followed. But if Mr Mbuvi resigns or is convicted, that paves the way for an election for governor and the deputy.

There is an additional plea I would make: Nairobi City County’s operation is in dire need of restoration, focus and capacity building. It will need some external professional advice and help on that. The national government should come in to facilitate that.

Mr Shaw is a public policy and economic analyst.