Nairobi News


Sonko: The ‘wealthy’ philanthropist or a mere populist?

By Mary Wangari December 12th, 2019 3 min read

One thing is for sure, Kenyan politics would be so stale, dull and mundane, were it not for one Mike Mbuvi Sonko.

He is liberal, wild untamed. Not even social decorum or cultural taboos and norms seem to inhibit him.


His signature unconventional dressing style, mostly affiliated with hip hop celebrities, does nothing to save his reputation.

It only serves to reinforce his gangster demeanor, which he dons unapologetically, characterized by numerous rings, chains, shades and rugged jeans.

Being a lone ranger does not seem to give the former Makadara MP sleepless nights. It is little wonder then that he has single handedly been leading the richest county in the country since January 2018, following the sudden resignation of his deputy governor Polycarp Igathe.

He also has this uncanny ability to pull the most outrageous stunts unexpectedly, which leaves people gasping with horror or just shaking their heads in utter amazement.

The aristocrats are often left seething with rage at Sonko’s sheer audacity especially when he flouts basic House Rules.

One memorable time is last year when a daring Sonko made an impromptu phone call to President Uhuru Kenyatta, which saw demolitions at Kayole stopped with immediate effect.

Not even the fact that his background is tainted with criminal record has managed to silence him.

The 44-year-old’s record a convicted criminal during his younger days are nothing short of a top of the chart blockbuster movies series.

He is shifty and calculating, which makes it quite hard to predict his next move, or even maintain any allegiance to anyone, no matter the friendship.


Maybe it has something to do with his life in crime.

Some few months ago he caused quite a stir when he spilled the beans concerning the late Kibra’s Member of Parliament Ken Okoth’s illicit love affair which resulted in the birth of his son out of wedlock.

Trust Sonko to open the Pandora’s box during his ‘close ally’s’ burial ceremony.

This left tongues wagging and escalated into ugly exchanges on social media which saw the ferocious governor wage a one man war against nominated senator Isaac Mwaura and Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo.

Despite his questionable past, the father of three has greatly endeared himself to the common mwananchi, majority of them from underprivileged backgrounds.

He is quite popular among struggling jobless youths, women and children owing to his philanthropic activities which give many of them a lifeline.

His name Sonko, which is Sheng for a very rich person, truly befits him.

The bighearted leader who eats life with a big spoon has packaged himself over time as the saviour to the downtrodden. And true to this, he never hesitates to lend a helping hand to the needy.

His philanthropic activities are comparable to none in the country which has made him popular among the struggling electorate not only in his county Nairobi but countrywide.


To say that he is generous and bighearted is an understatement.

One memorable incident is when he adopted two young boys who were left helpless after their mother was cruelly killed in a terrorist attack.

Recently, he also came to the rescue of a crippled teenager who used to crawl up to six kilometres to and from school every day.

However, his detractors, mostly the elite, brush off his humanitarian gestures as just mere populist gimmicks meant to win peoples’ hearts.

Well, whether Sonko is just a populist or a true philanthropist is something that will be revealed in the fullness of time.

That said, the governor has a knack for controversy which seem to follow him like a shadow wherever he goes.

He is bold and never shies away from speaking out his mind even when it involves stepping on the toes of some bigwigs.

His audaciousness has won him admiration and criticism in equal measure.

It has also seen him ruffle feathers with some political heavyweights especially after his recent self-declared war against indomitable cartels crippling Kenya’s capital for years.