Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko has attracted condemnation over his remarks at a funeral in Nairobi last Tuesday.
The controversial senator is said to have used the burial of the mother of former Kamukunji MP Simon Mbugua at Lang’ata cemetery to “lecture” other leaders present and declare he would be the next governor of Nairobi in 2017.
His remark that TNA politicians from Central Kenya should forget about the position since they already had the Presidency did not go down well with a section of those present, even prompting Starehe MP Maina Kamanda to walk out in protest.
The funeral was attended by Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and a host of MPs, including Mr Mpuru Aburi (Tigania East), Mr Denis Waweru (Dagoretti South) and members of the county assembly.
Mr Sonko is thought to have had former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru in mind when he made the statement.
Bishop Wanjiru recently defected from ODM to TNA and declared that she was the city governor-in-waiting.
But the senator, who is perceived to be a close friend of President Uhuru Kenyatta, is seen as preparing the ground to vie for the seat, including pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Kenya Methodist University.
Governor Kidero also received a tongue-lashing from the lawmaker who accused him of paying lip-service to city residents.
Mr Sonko also talked of plans to be deputy president in 2022 … and president in subsequent elections.
But the Nairobi senator is reading malice and envy in all the ruckus.
“This was a Nairobi problem and not a TNA one, like they want it to appear. I didn’t insult anybody, neither did I insult any tribe because I value the support they have accorded me. My respect for the President cannot allow me to say such kind of thing,” he said.
The senator said elections were still far away, and it would be wrong to waste so much energy squabbling over who would be the next governor.
“My priority now is to serve the people as their senator. I have launched several programmes to this end, to help the sick and the less fortunate,” he said. He accused Mr Kamanda of being behind “the hate campaign” against him.
“I am not scared of any of my detractors because votes are with the people, and not them. I am warning Mr Kamanda and any other leader who is orchestrating this, that they should not politicise my efforts to liberate Nairobians from poverty,” he said.
Contacted by the Sunday Nation, Mr Kamanda said that apart from the dismissive remarks, mourners were appalled by the presence of the senator’s heavily armed bodyguards.
The MP wants acting Inspector-General (IG) of Police Samuel Arachi to take action on misuse of rifles.
“The IG owes Kenyans an explanation. If those gun-toting fellows were police officers, he must resign and, if not, then they are criminals who must be apprehended,” he said.
The police had earlier in the week indicated that disciplinary action would be taken against the bodyguards for displaying rifles while in civilian clothing.
Like other lawmakers at the funeral, Governor Kidero rebuked the senator and asked him to give him time to do his work. “Leadership comes from God. As such, He is the only one who knows who will be the next governor of Nairobi,” he said.
Mr Aburi, who said he was the senator’s “good friend”, noted that most of those present were shocked by the senator’s speech. His entiments were backed by Karura MCA Kamau Thuo.