Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko wily nilly style of governance and his freewheeling ways are no longer news.
And while his leaked phone calls asking billionaires ‘kwani wewe ni nani’ before throwing a ‘mshenzi’ slur has earned him the admiration of common hoi polloi, his staff tell of a different story.
They paint a picture that would qualify the behind the scenes happenings at City Hall as a scene from a poorly scripted Elchapo re-make.
From routinely punctuating serious meetings at City Hall with quaffs of Cognac, his favorite brand, always with a glass of apple juice next to the whiskey to confound guests- to blatant threats on his CECs, sources tell of a mini-monster.
His confidence level increases and the tone changes once he has taken considerable amounts of the drink.
Occasionally, a number of Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) join in for a drink as the day wears on.
Former county Education executive Janet Ouko who resigned last week says there is no order at City Hall.
“At City Hall there doesn’t exist any respect for systems or policies.”
“When you are doing day-to-day operations, it is not really expected that you would again go back to the governor to reconfirm that this is what you are supposed to do. Apparently, that is what is happening. You are supposed to cross-check everything,” Ouko said.
That would be a small problem if Sonko were always available. But he isn’t. One has to keep looking for him, calling him or sending messages on WhatsApp.
Work stops if he has not approved it. And this is his favorite reason for firing staff.
“You have seen some colleagues dismissed because of not working – and ‘not working’ is not even described. But he cannot admit he is the one delaying the processes,” Ouko said.
Ouko says that Sonko does not recognize office hours and a worker’s private life.
“He will call you at 2am. If you don’t pick the call… the following morning he doesn’t pick your call because you did not pick his,” Ouko said.
Sonko rarely holds cabinet meetings and when he does, they are informal.
“In that one year and two months, I have not attended more than four cabinet meetings. He can dare me. He can produce the minutes of those meetings,” Ouko said.
Sonko does not also seek professional advice. He has a particular dislike for educated people.You have no room to say anything.
She recalled him often dismissing everyone, “I’m the governor. What can you tell me with your degrees? Go contest for governor. Put up posters. Then you will form your own government.”
County executives have no freedom to spend money allocated to their dockets by the assembly, yet that is their mandate. Sonko must approve use of funds.
“The most irritating part is everyone is a suspect. Everybody is a thief. There is only one person who is not a thief and that is himself,” Ouko said.
While attending functions around the city, he is always seen surrounded by well-built youths.
Ouko who spoke to the Star said some of those youths are bloggers he uses to taint reputations on social media.
Everyone is scared of him at City Hall, she said. “He will call you to tell you, I will fire you. I will get you jailed. Tomorrow detectives are coming for you. Do you sit there and wait for a mere mortal to bring your life down?” she asked.
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