18 January 2018

Kenya: Police Investigate Mike Sonko Weekend Gun Drama

Police in the coastal town of Kilifi are investigating a case in which Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and his guards are alleged to have shot at people in the wee hours of Saturday.

Mr Joseph Lenguris, the man who reported the case, said the governor arrived at his compound at 2am escorted by his guards.

"He arrived in his fleet of cars and started chasing us away by firing more than 20 shots. We escaped unhurt. I know he is threatening me so that he can grab this land. He has been threatening me and if I die he should be held responsible," he said.

Mr Lenguris was referring to a dispute over the ownership of a 3.2-acre land. According to documents he provided, Ms Caroline Mwandiku - the governor's cousin - entered into an agreement with him in 2013 to buy the land for Sh23 million.

The land belonged to Ms Monika Herta, Mr Lenguris' wife. He claimed Ms Mwandiku paid Sh2 million and has never cleared the balance.

FRAUDULENT MEANS

"Instead, she moved to court and got an adverse possession through fraudulent means. We went to court and got a decree that we are the owners of the land and got it published in the Kenya Gazette," he claimed.

The land ownership has since become contested.

Police confirmed that Mr Sonko, who was in Mombasa with other county officials, was involved in an incident in Kilifi town.

"Mr Sonko had gone there to help his relative. We cannot, however, say that there was a shootout just because someone is claiming so. We are yet to find any spent cartridges at the scene but the investigation is still on," said Mtwapa police boss Joseph Kariuki.

The governor's reported actions are reminiscent of Mr Sonko's days as MP. Part of his routine was making secret recordings and at the appropriate time posting them online to prove a point.

Two days after his deputy Polycarp Igathe announced his resignation, an audio recording of a conversation between him and Mr Sonko was passed on to journalists. Those who leaked it were evasive about its origin.

GOOD TERMS

It was a conversation between the two on Friday morning meant to show that the governor and his deputy were on good terms. In the recording, Mr Sonko informed his deputy that payment for roads had been approved but he had stopped some because of inflation of amounts.

The resignation has resulted in Opposition MCAs in Nairobi seeking to have a special sitting to discuss the matter amid hopes of negotiating an agreement between the two.

Minority Chief Whip Peter Imwatok told the Nation that the Opposition leadership in the House will on Friday deliver the letter asking for the special sitting to Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

"It is a matter of concern for Nairobi people and for the county because Mr Igathe was not elected by the governor but together with him by the people of Nairobi," he said.

The assembly is currently on recess and is supposed to resume its sittings next month.

At the same time, hopes of negotiating a truce between the governor and his deputy are pinned on whether Mr Igathe, who leaves office at the end of the month, can make public reasons for his departure.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, who had offered to lead the discussions between the two leaders, told the Nation that was the condition for the intervention.

CRIMINAL NATURE

"The only reason we have not moved is because Igathe has not said publicly what is wrong. The people of Kenya deserve that first. We are unable to move without knowledge whether the issues are of the relationship or of a criminal nature. Only Igathe can say. We need to know whether it's in personal interest or public interest. We can only engage if it is in the public interest," said Mr Kuria.

The MP said it was unfortunate if Mr Igathe had failed to navigate the politics of the capital.

"If you resign, let people know why. You might say you don't want to be involved in a criminal enterprise or maybe there is an illegality happening. We cannot reconcile an illegality or a criminality," he added.

Mr Igathe has gone quiet since he announced his resignation last Friday via a letter to the Speaker of the county assembly.

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