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Before he became governor: Mike Sonko in pictures

Flamboyant politician Mike Sonko hit rock bottom on Friday, July 15, 2022, when the Supreme Court upheld his impeachment as Nairobi Governor.

Sonko had rushed to the Apex Court to try and save his political career following unfavourable rulings by the High Court and the Court of Appeal after being hounded out of office in December 2020.

Mike Sonko during a Facebook live session on Saturday, July 16. PHOTO/Facebook

The ruling, experts say, means that the renowned politician will never be cleared to vie for any elective seat or be appointed to a state office in the country.

The judgement locks the former county boss out of the Mombasa gubernatorial contest, where he hoped to salvage his career after a vote of no confidence in the capital.

Regarded as a populist by a section of Kenyans, Sonko rose to national political prominence some 12 years ago when he was elected MP for Makadara Constituency on September 20, 2010.

Mike Sonko shows off dyed hair. PHOTO/Courtesy

Mike Sonko, the ‘Matatu King’ who rose to be MP

The then 35-year-old felled political heavyweight Dickson Wathika of PNU party, whose election had been invalidated in April the same year due to irregularities. The petition had been lodged by ODM party’s Reuben Ndolo, who served as the area MP between 2002-2007.

Within two years, the newly-elected Narc Kenya MP, who had made a name for himself in the Matatu industry with a fleet of Nganyas (super pimped matatus), was transformed from a political neophyte to a juggernaut.

Mike Sonko flaunts his golden chains. HOTO/Mike Sonko/Facebook

The early political years of the ‘Matatu King,’ formerly known as Gideon Mbuvi Kioko, were characterized by somewhat outrageous fashion sense due to the street life he was used to.

In a show of opulence, Sonko rode around town in gold-plated SUVs, wore tons of gold jewellery and dyed his hair golden. He grew famous for his generosity, often dishing out handouts to destitute city residents.

Mike Sonko steps out of his gold-plated vehicle during a past function. PHOTO/Courtesy

Mike Sonko ejected from parliament

On March 11, 2011, just months after Sonko was sworn into office; the legislator was thrown out of parliament for being ‘inappropriately’ dressed for the session.

At the time, the lawmaker was wearing dark sunglasses and studs on both ears.

“Honourable Mbuvi, you will remain out of the House until you dress properly,” deputy speaker Farah Maalim said as he ordered Sonko out of the National Assembly chambers.

Mike Sonko photographed donning sunny glasses and ear studs in parliament in March 2011. PHOTO/Screengrab

Again on August 16 of the same year, Sonko got into trouble with the House leadership for wearing an ear stud.

The stud had been spotted by former Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale, who brought it to the attention of the then House Speaker Kenneth Marende.

Sonko, however, denied he was wearing a stud.

“The honourable member is daydreaming. They can even check in my pockets,” Sonko retorted.

The Speaker was forced to order the MP out of the chambers for behaving in a disorderly manner.

“Members don’t daydream. This is the second time that observation has been made. The first time it escaped my attention, it is also possible that you are playing hide and seek like my children. And since you are not my child, I am afraid I will have to ask you to withdraw for the rest of the day,” Marende said.

However, an intervention by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto saw the MP ordered to return to his seat since the Speaker had ruled on a similar matter before.

“Mr. Speaker, with due respect to your ruling, I wonder whether you cannot allow these studs considering the Chief Justice (Willy Mutunga) also dons them,” Ruto reminded Marende.

Even with his election as Senator of Nairobi in 2013, Sonko’s dress code didn’t change much.

In 2014, the Senator left President Uhuru Kenyatta and other top government officials in stitches after he turned up at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to bid Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang farewell in trendy slim-fit ripped jeans.

President Uhuru Kenyatta gazes at Mike Sonko’s trendy ripped jeans at JKIA. OTO/PSCU/Facebook

Sonko was the odd one out as other state officers donned suits.

Uhuru was photographed sharing a light moment with the Senator while staring at the rugged jeans.

Mike Sonko wins Nairobi governor’s seat

But as the 2017 general elections drew closer, Sonko, who was eyeing the Nairobi governor’s seat in the polls, slowly started changing his dress code.

In a deliberate move to look apart, Sonko started appearing at public functions in formal attire, often donning a suit and tie.

He would later trounce then Nairobi county boss Evans Kidero in the polls to clinch the governor’s seat, a seat he held until his unceremonious removal from the City Hall reigns.


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