Why President Ruto Has Sidelined Governor Sakaja For Mike Sonko

By The Weekly Vision Team

President William Ruto seems to have sidelined Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja from the city’s mainstream politics, according to sources. The president is said to have lost confidence in Sakaja’s leadership style after the people of Nairobi lamented to his allies about the poor quality of service being offered by Mr Sakaja’s administration. Political pundits have revealed that there is trouble brewing at City Hall over the governors’ political battle with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. 

Mike Sonko with President William Ruto. Courtesy

According to a political analyst, President Ruto has reportedly already settled on an individual he wants to contest for the Nairobi gubernatorial elections in 2027, and it appears Johnson Sakaja is not a factor in the president’s plans. It has been reported that the governor’s loud absence from the annual National Prayer Breakfast, a traditional event attended by top national leaders and governors, has been the subject of discussion within the corridors of the State House. There are suggestions to the effect that he may have been warned by powerful forces at the State House against attending the function.

His failure to attend the prayer function raised eyebrows among many Nairobians who were left to ask the hard questions as to why the host governor may have decided to miss out on one of the most important national events of the year, considering he was within the country. His absence strongly suggests that he must have been prohibited from attending the breakfast prayer session.

Despite Sakaja’s absence, it is noteworthy to note that former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was present at the prayer meeting, occupying a seat in the VIP area. According to sources, Mr. Sonko had received an official invitation from the State House to attend the event. Immediately after the event, the spotlight shifted to images showing Mr Sonko and President Ruto sharing a hearty laugh. This intriguing sight sparked lingering questions, one of which was whether the president was grooming Mr. Sonko to contest the Nairobi Governorship in 2027. The answer remains elusive for now, but political pundits say that there is trouble brewing in Governor Sakaja’s corner. 

According to pundits, President Ruto is aware that Mr Mike Mbuvi Sonko is the most crucial cog that the UDA party badly needs for them to secure Nairobi in the upcoming 2027 election. There are murmurs suggesting that if Azimio picks Tim Wanyonyi to challenge Sakaja in 2027, Wanyonyi will emerge victorious with ease. It is the consensus among analysts that defeating Sonko in Nairobi is a formidable challenge due to his commendable development record during his two-year tenure as governor. Moreover, Sonko’s popularity extends beyond political, ethnic, and religious divides, encompassing not just Nairobi but the entire country. In all honesty, if Sonko had thrown his weight behind Azimio in the previous elections, Raila Odinga would undoubtedly be serving as the President of Kenya today. 

The close bond between the president and Sonko, which has now attracted the attention of many top Nairobi politicians, was evident once again during the Madaraka Day celebrations in Bungoma. 

Having received a direct invitation from the president himself, Mr. Sonko was granted an exclusive opportunity to sit in a designated area among fellow governors. It is of significance to highlight that after the Madaraka Day celebrations, Mr Sonko was seen accompanying the president during his entire journey across the Western region. 

Nairobi politicians are in a state of panic due to the recognition accorded to Mr Sonko by the Head of State. It is important to recall that Sonko’s political downfall as governor was, in part, a consequence of his close ties with then-DP Ruto. Many leaders who were associated with Mr Ruto at the time were labelled as rebels. 

As Sakaja faces difficulties in maintaining a good relationship with both the Deputy President and the President’s inner circle, and with Raila Odinga having already endorsed Tim Wanyonyi, Ruto’s only chance of securing the Nairobi seat lies in guaranteeing Mr Sonko the UDA party ticket. Analysts say that top Azimio leaders are already in a state of panic after Mr. Sonko re-emerged in the political sphere.