The reconciliation saga between Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Nairobi Women’s Representative Rachael Shebesh has become a high stakes tussle in which a figure of up to Sh100 million is said to be at the centre of negotiations, The People has learnt.
With the two hitting a stalemate yesterday, which could lead to prosecution of Kidero with possible devastating consequences for his position, the tussle is said to have drawn in some powerful government offiacials who are understood to have sent Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi ‘Sonko’ to try to reconcile the two in the interim period before prosecution can begin.
“I have personally been sent to initiate dialogue between the two leaders,” Sonko told The People last night, as he confirmed that reconciliation between the two may have been stalled by brokers working behind the scenes on both sides.
Sonko said the officials who had sent him had “expressly” directed him to reconcile the two leaders for the sake of development in the County, noting that he, Kidero and Shebesh hold the key to the city’s administrative and political management, which are some of Jubilee’s key success indicators.
“If Kidero and Shebesh are knocked off their seats by this case, Nairobi would be back to the drawing boards to pick new leadership,” said another city MP. Sources said the figure of Sh100 million had been mentioned in the negotiations, which could also be another drawback to reaching a settlement. Sonko warned internediaries, whom he said include some MPs, to keep off the matter “in order to give us time to broker a deal.
At the moment, we are progressing well with talks and we hope to reach a solution within a few days”. However, we could not independently verify Sonko’s claim of being dispatched as a peacemaker between Kidero and Shebesh. This unfolded as Kidero managed to secure a three-day temporary order stopping the police from prosecuting him for allegedly assaulting Shebesh at City Hall four months ago.
High Court Judge Weldon Korir granted Kidero the reprieve shortly after Justice Isaac Lenaola vacated the sanctions he had slapped on the police on January 3, to give the Governor and Shebesh a chance to reconcile following their sensational physical confrontation last September 6. Prof. Tom Ojienda, for Kidero, explained there was real apprehension the Governor was likely to be charged at any time and it was in the interest of justice to suspend any prejudicial action against him before all avenues to safeguard his interests had been exhausted.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code (CDC), assault is treated as a serious “misdemeanour” and carries a penalty of between six and one month conviction, in some cases with a fine. Should the case against Kidero therefore proceed and if he is convicted, he would be forced to quit the high profile office of Nairobi Governor.
On the other hand, Shebesh can easily walk out of the court a free person with a “simple bond to keep the peace” if the case against her proceeds since it is treated as a minor offence under the CPC to cause disturbance. In the court, Justice Korir directed Ojienda to provide lawyer Cecil Miller, for Shebesh, with the fresh application to facilitate an urgent hearing between the warring parties on Thursday to assist the court decide whether to extend the conservatory orders.
Senator James Orengo said the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), on whose ticket Kidero was elected, wanted to participate in the petition. Lawyer Evans Monari said the Nairobi County Government would seek permission to be included as an interested party. Justice Lenaola set aside the orders he had slapped against the Inspector-General of Police, David Kimaiyo, and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keriako Tobiko, from prosecuting Kidero and Shebesh after they separately confirmed they were unable to reach an out-of-court settlement.
Reconciliation was a two-way process and if one party was not willing to engage the other, then any court orders were in vain, he said. Miller said he had personally arranged for a meeting and made proposals on the terms of reconciliation last Friday, but his entreaties were rebuffed. It was apparent that the reluctance and lack of response from the Governor meant no tangible negotiations could be attempted, he said.
Miller said Shebesh had no problem at all being charged with creating a disturbance since her protagonists had not demonstrated any genuine seriousness in resolving the dispute. But, Prof. Ojienda accused Shebesh of undermining the spirit of reconciliation and asked for seven days to explore an amicable solution.
The Deputy DPP, Kioko Kamula, said he was not aware of any negotiations between the parties, but urged the court to desist from giving the DPP any ultimatum regarding the proposed prosecutions, in which Kidero and Shebesh are individual complainants and accused persons. Monari had offered to mediate in the stand-off between the two politicians.
In his brief ruling, Justice Lenaola recalled he had only allowed the parties to fix their problems after Ruaraka voter, Alex Nchore Ochako, hinted they were willing to settle their differences through round-table negotiations. Article 159 (2) (1) of the Constitution allows reconciliation, mediation, arbitration and traditional dispute resolution mechanisms.
Under Section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), the court is granted the power to encourage reconciliation between parties in cases of common assault or for any other offence of a personal or private nature, he said. However, Justice Lenaola had dismissed Nchore’s assertion that the intended prosecution against Kidero was politically motivated and meant to humiliate and bring him down.
“The whole application, with respect, is full of generalities, politically-correct, but legally untenable arguments and is speculative and premature,” he said. Kidero had made a complaint against Shebesh at the Central Police Station while she reported alleged assault by the Governor at the Parliament Police Station.