In the run-up to the March 4 election, Mike Mbuvi Sonko and Rachael Shebesh were seen, by many, as the perfect political couple — never mind the rumours of a blossoming affair between the two — who took the campaign trail by storm, winning their respective seats by huge margins.
Today, almost a year later, the ‘honeymoon’ appears to be over for the lawmakers.
The tiff between senator Sonko and women rep Shebesh has spilled into the public domain with reports of physical altercation and unkind words.
The Nairobian can reveal that after Sonko fought with Shebesh last week on September 26 Thursday, the two lawmakers were again embroiled in another fight within Parliament buildings on Wednesday (September 25) evening. The fight appears to be a continuation of the earlier confrontation the two had at Crowne Plaza Hotel. Aides close to them reveal that the genesis of the fight could be a phone call that Shebesh allegedly received from former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Sonko allegedly was not too pleased that Shebesh was on phone for long with the former premier and he tried wresting the phone, a red Samsung S3, from Shebesh. The Nairobi women’s representative tried to resist and in the process, sprained her wrist as Sonko prised the phone from her hand. Sonko then threw the phone against the wall, before stamping on it, breaking the phone to pieces. A verbal confrontation ensued and the two parted ways. Five days later, the two met at National Prayer breakfast hosted by President Uhuru and they avoided each other.
When contacted by The Nairobian, Sonko said his dispute with Shebesh is part of the ‘many challenges’ that come with life and leadership.
“Even you, at one time or another you have disagreed with your sister. Disagreement is a challenge; it doesn’t happen to cars or trees, it happens to people and it happened to me,” said Sonko. The senator also took a swipe at women organisations that have threaten to investigate the matter saying that he has a right to defend himself.
“I have a right to defend myself. If anybody attacks me, I will defend myself. I am not above law so if anybody has anything against me, they should take it to the police or the courts,” he explained.
A Nairobi county assembly member, who appears to know the goings-on between the two told The Nairobian that it is rare for the senator and the women’s representative not to talk. “They are always together everyday, if not they will be on phone for considerable periods” said the County Assembly man who didn’t want to be caught discussing his seniors.
Come Wednesday evening Mike Sonko went to parliament buildings for a meeting and bumped into Rachel Shebesh who was in the company of three county assembly members, Mark Ndungu, Mugo Abdul Aziz and Janet Maina. The three are also witnesses who recorded statements in favour of Shebesh after her confrontation with Nairobi governor.
Upon seeing Sonko, Shebesh pulled him aside and another confrontation ensued where Sonko, this time, allegedly slapped Shebesh.
Shebesh was reported to have contacted Coalition of Women Against Violence on the issue and COWAV issued summons to Sonko who was quoted to have said, “I have been told that she (Shebesh) has reported the matter to Kilimani Police Station, but time will tell the truth. Men are being battered in silence but the so called Cowav which is composed of divorcees has the tenacity to attack men wherever they feel one of their own has been mishandled,” he said on Thursday.
He however confirmed that Shebesh had reported him to the Coalition of Women Against Violence lobby group that has since called him. Sonko claimed the women rep assaulted him and said he will be seeking legal redress in due course.
However, COWAV programme officer Esther Wambui said they haven’t yet filed any complaint, or issued any summon to Sonko.
Cowav has issued summons to governor Kidero after he allegedly slapped Shebesh.
“Yes, we even started an online campaign to have Kidero quit office because nothing justifies violence,” said Wambui. She however said the organisation hasn’t yet taken up the case with Sonko.
“These are totally different issues. We are not aware if indeed Shebesh was assaulted by Sonko,” said Wambui.