The Kenyan prosecutor on Friday ordered the arrest of the governor of Nairobi, the country’s capital, giving a special stamp to the anti-corruption campaign initiated by the government last year. This arrest would then be one of the most prominent because directly involving a senior officer.
Mike Mbuvi Sonko is suspected of economic crimes in several cases and to have benefited from illegal payments and acquired goods illegally for a total value of 3.5 million dollars (3.1 million euros). The prosecutor believes he has plenty of evidence to allow the arrest of the governor and several of his accomplices who are leaders of Nairobi County.
The ruling party had made a nonconformist choice in 2017 by appointing to represent it in the elections of governors the very popular and sulphurous Mike Sonko, spent in his youth by the prison cell and regularly accused of illegal activities, such as drug trafficking .
If the arrest warrant against Mr. Sonko appears to be acquired, it remains in effect. The suspect spends many weeks outside Nairobi and since the prosecutor’s press conference, he is virtually unavailable on the phone, Reuters news agency said. Another difficulty for the police, to face the many supports, in particular that of the population at the disposal of the governor. A few weeks ago, Sonko went to the Kenyan anti-corruption bureau for questioning, demonstrations took place in front of the office and police used tear gas to disperse protesters.
But the prosecutor wants to be firm, he will not tolerate more « the use of a human shield » by those arrested, much less the « intimidation tactics » against the public force which is also accused Mr. Sonko.
Mr. Sonko is very popular with the poorest Kenyans for his ambulance and fire service, personalized in his name, to help people living in slums.
The eccentric Sonko cultivates a look « gangsta », with its big chains and rings in gold, and its golden shoes. He had recently been criticized for having unveiled on social networks his lavish dining room, ornaments and gilded accessories.
A mediatized and rebounding affair that echoes the scale of the war against corruption that the government intends to carry out. Last July, the country was stunned by the indictment of Henry Kiplagat Rotich, then Secretary of the Treasury, accused of embezzling several hundred million dollars with twenty accomplices.
By picking its highest officials, the state has made it clear that things will not happen as before. Even so, in some comments denounce tribal account settlements.
Corruption is a major problem in Kenya. The country is ranked among the most corrupt in the world according to Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index. He had a score of 27, which is lower than the world average of 43, but with an improvement over the ranking of last year where his score was 26.