Kenya: Mike Sonko Staring at Long Prison Term

The State security machinery last evening engaged a higher gear as it activated all options at its disposal to send former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko to jail.

Whether Mr Sonko, a politician who beat all odds on his way to the top before tumbling down, has finally run out of the proverbial nine lives, will be known in coming days.

At the moment, however, the plan is to push him into a corner where he cannot speak.

Last evening, the state presented the flamboyant politician at the Kahawa West Law Court on a terror-related charge.

This happened just hours after the former city county boss appeared at the Anti-Corruption Court for a mention of a case in which he is accused of demanding Sh10 million from a private company to grant it contract to collect revenue in the county.

Located within the compound of Kamiti Maximum Prison, Kahawa Law Court is the first and largest court in Kenya dedicated to counter-terrorism and related high-risk cases.

It was officially launched in December last year and Mr Sonko is so far its highest profile guest.

Financing of terrorism

The court is today set to rule on the prosecutor’s application to hold him at the Kamiti Maximum Prison for 30 days. He spent the night at the Gigiri Police Station.

“The suspect has started arming his private security agents with full military attire; namely military boots, military jungle uniform and firearms,” says an affidavit by Chief Inspector Newton Thimangu of the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit in support of the application by the state.

“I have intelligence information that the suspect is connected to financing of terrorism activities and is in advanced stages of procuring arms and ammunition using a wide syndicate, which is complex and sophisticated,” he added.

Mr Sonko, who has of late been a thorn in the flesh of the Jubilee administration after falling out with President Kenyatta, is already facing three corruption cases.

He was at the end of last week barred by the court from uttering any defamatory words against Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho on alleged land grabbing.

He was on Monday charged at the Kiambu Law Courts with nine counts of assault, contrary to section 251 of the penal code.

He denied all the charges — including an additional count of forcible entry contrary to section 36 of the penal code.

The charges are in relation to an incident that happened on May 25, 2019 at Buruburu Phase 4 in Nairobi. His bail application is set to be heard this morning.

Meanwhile, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations is still investigating the former governor over claims of incitement to violence and undermining authority of a public officer.

Criminal files

Additionally, the state’s security machinery is hard at work looking at his past criminal files.

Top of the list is to gather files regarding Mr Sonko’s sudden disappearance from Shimo La Tewa on April 16, 1998, a month after being jailed on two counts.

Although Mr Sonko’s disappearance from jail without completing his term has been coming out in piecemeal, it is only now that the state security apparatus has decided to follow up on it.

Prison records previously presented to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission show that on March 12, 1998, Mr Sonko Kioko was convicted of failing to attend court in CF 675/97 and was sentenced to pay a Sh200,000 fine or serve six months in prison in default.

On the same day, Mr Sonko was also sentenced to pay Sh500,000 or in default serve six months in prison for failing to appear for previous hearings in CF 1727/96.

He was to serve both sentences concurrently for 12 months. He was admitted to Shimo la Tewa under prison number P/No. SHO/477/1998 and was scheduled to be released on March 11, 1999.