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Understanding Sonko: Governor brings street gang mentality to City Hall

The erratic and unorthodox leadership style of Governor Mike Sonko at City Hall once again reared its ugly head when on Tuesday last week, he suspended four county officials over alleged insubordination.

County Secretary Peter Kariuki, acting Health executive Vesca Kangogo, County Attorney Lydia Kwamboka and Health Chief Officer Mahat Jimale were all sent home for allegedly contradicting the governor over the happenings at Pumwani Maternity Hospital.

But even as critics opine that ‘the King is slowly becoming naked’, Governor Sonko has vowed to continue with his style, saying that he has no apologies over his leadership style.


He added that the “ruthless style” was working for him compared to the corporate strategy “which failed under Evans Kidero”.

“It is working and it is going to work because Nairobi needs controversial and fearless leaders not corporates.

“I will not entertain cartels and the corrupt in my administration. People have to understand me. That is my way of leadership. I deal with cartels ruthlessly,” said Governor Sonko, during an interview on Citizen TV.

And true to his words, the City Hall boss has been clearing his house ‘of those not loyal to him’, an exercise that he has been consistent on since he assumed office last August.

So far, more than 100 county staff have either been suspended or sent packing on flimsy grounds including being lazy, allegedly corrupt, travelling abroad without his permission and ‘working with his enemies’.


His critics say that the City Hall boss likes to act on the basis of rumours, propaganda and unfounded fears.

“You cannot operate an institution without the Finance department. It is a fallacy and has affected the entire operations of the county,” says Embakasi MCA Michael Ogada.

His sentiments were shared by Minority Whip Peter Imwatok, who has on numerous occasions chided the governor for crippling county operations through the sackings.

But there is also the school of thought that believes the governor is simply clearing his administration of the staff imposed on him by “State House operatives”.

Political analyst and University of Nairobi lecturer Mr Herman Manyora argues that this might be the case as Mr Sonko seems to be ‘changing the people that he was told to work with’.