No trumped-up charges for Sonko - Beaking Kenya News

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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

No trumped-up charges for Sonko


We are backsliding into the sort of Gestapo rule last witnessed during the single-party dictatorship. This is the only conclusion one can draw from the slew of indictments facing impeached Nairobi governor Mike Sonko.

Patently trumped-up charges designed to lock up one for life were a common feature of President Daniel arap Moi’s insecure regime. The so-called Mwakenya trials from the mid 1980s invariably produced confessions and guilty pleas from prisoners brought to court after time in the hands of sadistic torturers from the intelligence service.

It is one thing to be an obnoxious thug with an outlandish dress sense and quite another to be arming a private militia and engaged in terrorist activities. One does not need to hold brief for Mr Sonko to recognise that the charges he is facing after his childish and stupid slurs aimed at President Uhuru Kenyatta are largely fake.

For the record, I have absolutely no time for Mr Sonko. In the annals of Kenyan leadership, he remains a tragic error and the sooner he is removed from positions of responsibility, the better.

Extremely dark resume

If there was to be ranking of the most disreputable fellows ever elected to political office since Independence, Mr Mbuvi Gidion Kioko Mike Sonko, to use his full name, would trounce everyone else hands down. 

Mr Sonko may sometimes come across as a cartoon character but his extravagant fashion sense and public displays of buffoonery don’t conceal the fact that he has an extremely dark resume blotted with crime, violence, thuggery and self-confessed drug use.

How the good people of Nairobi ever found him fit for elective office is, surely, is beyond comprehension. Perhaps one day some clever fellows will conduct an analysis to figure out the collective madness that might have induced the capital’s voters to entrust Mr Sonko with leadership.

The boffins will of course also determine that a people get the leaders they deserve. If it was madness to elect Mr Sonko as governor, the inescapable conclusion will be that the majority of Nairobi voters have a loose screw somewhere.

It is also said that we are the company we keep. Mr Sonko parlayed his apparent hold on the Nairobi voter into a warm and close relationship with President Kenyatta.

Despite obvious signs of an unbalanced persona, he was welcomed with open arms into the inner sanctum, from where it is likely many secrets were shared over some hedonistic pleasures.

From early on in public life, Mr Sonko displayed a penchant for illicit recordings of his conversations and trysts, as former MP Rachel Shebesh would attest. Any time he fell out with someone, it became standard operating procedure to go public with embarrassing detail, often with audio and video evidence, of whatever shenanigans he may have shared with the offending party. He took ‘kiss and tell’ to the extreme.

Mr Sonko’s crime now is threatening to blow the whistle on unsavoury engagements with President Kenyatta and other members of the ‘royal family’. He had already fired the initial salvos and was threatening to unleash a lot more before he was suddenly thrown behind bars.

Beyond the corruption charges he was already facing that triggered the ejection from City Hall, could now be extremely serious crimes touching on national security.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has reopened files on past crimes and misdemeanours that were not thought worthy of the courts’ time when Mr Sonko was in good books. It has also come with up with ridiculous claims of engaging in terrorism and running a private militia, the apparent evidence being the wearing of quasi-military fatigues that are available in any market.

The one-party dictatorship used to have something called ‘holding charges’, the filing of frivolous criminal charges just so that someone can remain behind bars. This is what we are witnessing.

Mr Sonko may be a certified deplorable, but that is no licence to subject him to a prosecutorial lynch mob. Those disgusted with his antics may applaud for now but they should be aware that, when the State is given the licence to subvert the justice system for a private goal, they could one day become the next victims.

The DCI and the Director of Public Prosecutions must not agree to be misused.
In the meantime, one can’t fail to notice the glee with which Deputy President William Ruto’s rebellious Tangatanga faction is welcoming Mr Sonko’s tribulations. They will milk it for all it is worth but, sooner or later, the ex-governor will realise he is nothing but a political tool and turn his loose cannon in their direction.

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