A MAN OF THE PEOPLE?

Mombasa women, students protest 'Sonko harassment by state'

Say Nairobi governor mistreated yet other graft suspects were handled like kings

In Summary

Kenya University Students Organisation deputy president Eugene Musungu said the harassment of Sonko is symptomatic of a state that is used to thriving in corruption.

Political activist Bizena Swaleh leads demonstrations in support of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko in Mombasa on Friday, November 8, 2019
NOT ANYMORE: Political activist Bizena Swaleh leads demonstrations in support of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko in Mombasa on Friday, November 8, 2019
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

Women leaders in Mombasa have threatened to strip and walk in the streets of the coastal city if the government "does not stop harassing Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko."

Sonko was early this week questioned by EACC officer over cheating claims regarding the self-declaration forms he submitted in 2017 while vying for governorship. His appearance at Integrity Centre was punctuated by confrontations between police and his supporters.

In Mombasa on Friday, women leaders, led by political activist Mildred Odhiambo said the governor was being frustrated by the government.

Others say he is being hounded by powerful cartels whose dirty dealings with City Hall have been halted by Sonko.

The women leaders linked Sonko's treatment to his roots at the Coast, saying those from the region have always been targeted by the state.

“Sonko is being harassed because he has roots from the Coast and he is young. Why is he being hounded only three years into his administration," Odhiambo said.

“Do you want all women in Mombasa to strip and walk naked in the streets to show that they are tired of seeing their son being harassed? Enough is enough,” she said.

They said Sonko should be allowed to work for Nairobi residents.

“Sonko has been helping people from different parts of the country, not only in Nairobi,” Odhiambo said.

Bizena Swaleh said many governors who have been implicated in scandals were often treated "like kings yet Sonko is being treated like he was already guilty."

Swaleh said the law should be applied non-selectively.

On Thursday, university students from all campuses in Mombasa protested what they said was harassment of Sonko.

Kenya University Students Organisation deputy president Eugene Musungu said the harassment of Sonko is symptomatic of a state that is used to thriving in corruption.

“Now that Sonko has dedicated himself to fighting corruption, we are seeing corruption fighting back with the help of state machinery,” Musungu said.

The Technical University of Mombasa student leader said they will not take the matter lightly.

“If the government cannot stand a person who is fighting cartels, then it might have to deal with university students across the country too,” Musungu said.

Mombasa women during a protest at Uhuru Gardens in support of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Friday, November 2019
OUR SON; Mombasa women during a protest at Uhuru Gardens in support of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Friday, November 2019
Image: BRIAN OTIENO