Sonko Demotes Close Friend As Impeachment Looms

  • Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at a Milimani court in September 2018.
    Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at a Milimani court in September 2018
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  • Embattled Nairobi Governor, Mike Sonko, demoted his long time ally and friend Leboo Morintat.

    Morintat had been serving as the capital city's acting county secretary, a post he ascended to from the deputy county secretary position the governor had created specifically for him (reportedly due to their close ties) back in September 2018 - which was not supported by law.

    The county's Urban Planning Chief Officer Justus Kathenge was appointed to replace Moritant.

    “Pursuant to the provision of Section 44 of the County Government Act 2012, you are hereby appointed as the county secretary in an acting capacity, with effect February 20, 2020,” Sonko stated in a Wednesday, February 19, letter sent to Kathenge.

    Former Nairobi County Acting County Secretary Leboo Morintat before the Public Accounts Committee on July 9,2019
    Former Nairobi County Acting County Secretary Leboo Morintat before the Public Accounts Committee on July 9,2019
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    City Hall insiders intimated that Morintat is the governor’s closest aide and right-hand man who has been steering county affairs in Sonko’s absence.

    Moritant continues to hold his position as deputy county secretary and chief officer, public service management while Kangethe still serves as the chief officer, urban planning.

    "Mr Leboo, who is one of the most experienced employees at City Hall, took over as the acting County Secretary last year and it is only until last week that H.E the Governor made realignments from his Upper Hill private offices," an excerpt from a statement sent by Jacob Elkanah, the director of the governor's press service reads. 

    Morintat was on January 22, arrested after detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) raided his office as part of investigations into graft scandals at City Hall.

    Following the raid, EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak, claimed that his officers seized documents and equipment including phones and computers which are believed to contain crucial evidence that could prove falsification of records and siphoning of public resources.

    Sonko's latest re-shuffle comes in the wake of the motion to impeach him that was tabled at the Nairobi County Assembly by Minority Whip Peter Imwatok on Thursday, February 20.

    Grounds of impeachment cited by Imwatok include alleged gross violation of the constitution and the Public Finance Act 2012 as well as inability to control and manage public debts and clear pending expenses.

    The minority whip's motion accused Sonko of exhibiting incompetence and failing to offer leadership.

    Makongeni MCA Peter Imwatok speaks to reporters in Nairobi in January 2020.
    Makongeni MCA Peter Imwatok speaks to reporters in Nairobi in January 2020
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    Sonko was further accused of holding the county at ransom and having ulterior motives by willingly failing to nominate a deputy governor.

    Before he nominated Ann Kananu Mwenda on January 7, Sonko had stayed over two years without a Deputy since the surprise resignation of Polycarp Igathe in January 2018.

    The underfire governor had recently turned to the national government for help after claiming he was being sabotaged ever since he was barred from office.

    A report by Daily Nation, on Monday, February 10indicated that the governor, who is facing graft charges, is looking to engage the National Youth Service (NYS) after complaining that a number of contractors were taking advantage of his situation to sabotage road works.

    The governor had raised concerns that the roads were dilapidated and that garbage was piling up in some parts of the city.

    “There has been deliberate sabotage in garbage collection over the last two months I have been out of office, leading to an unnecessary pile-up of refuse across the city,” Sonko claimed.

    Inside the Nairobi County Assembly chambers.
    Inside the Nairobi County Assembly chambers.
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