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Sakaja: I’m ready to lead Nairobi if Sonko is forced out

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja says he is ready to vie for the city’s governorship position should circumstances force embattled Governor Mike Sonko out of office, signalling that the race for the capital’s top job is gathering pace despite Sonko insisting he is still in charge at City Hall.

Mr Sakaja said that although he was elected to serve as a senator, he wouldn’t mind vying for the governor position “should Nairobi residents force him to.”

LEADERSHIP VACUUM

Speaking during an interview on a local TV station on Sunday night, the senator said that the desire of many Nairobians is to see normal services resume in the city.

“I was elected a senator. However, if the people decide that they want me, I will go for it (governorship),” said Mr Sakaja on K24’s Punchline Show.

The senator also said that a by-election was a possibility in the event of a leadership vacuum.

“For me, it is about getting Nairobi moving. I am on record talking about the position of the deputy governor. Nairobi must work. It has 17 constituencies and millions of people require services,” he said.

His remarks come as Kenya’s economic hub faces a leadership crisis after Sonko was arrested recently, with Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti last week barring the county boss from accessing his office.

This means he is unable to execute duties that require him to be at City Hall such as chairing an executive committee meeting, receiving delegations or signing Bills as his office is still considered a crime scene.

Mr Ogoti barred him from accessing his office so that he does not interfere with evidence or witnesses in the case against him and others.

ONE-MAN SHOW

Sonko is accused of embezzling county funds amounting to Sh357 million through dubious and questionable issuance of tenders.

In efforts to avert a looming leadership crisis, Nairobi County Assembly Minority Leader David Mberia has written to Speaker Beatrice Elachi asking for an urgent special meeting of the assembly to resolve the leadership vacuum.

The situation is made worse by the fact that Sonko had not named a deputy governor nearly two years since Polycarp Igathe resigned.

When he resigned, Mr Igathe cited failure to earn Sonko’s trust as the reason for his exit.

In last night’s interview, Mr Sakaja accused Sonko of leading the county as a “one-man show” and isolating other key stakeholders.

“Leadership and oversight is not about punching walls or organising press conferences when faced with a scandal. I have actually in the last two years taken these issues before the Senate,” he said.

The senator had been touted as being among those eyeing the Nairobi governor seat in 2022, but has vehemently denied it until now.