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January 16, 2019

Courageous or cowardly? Kenyans ponder Igathe's resignation

Polycarp Igathe and Mike Sonko during the launch of their manifesto at the KICC in Nairobi, ahead of the August general election, July 23, 2017. /Monicah Mwangi
Polycarp Igathe and Mike Sonko during the launch of their manifesto at the KICC in Nairobi, ahead of the August general election, July 23, 2017. /Monicah Mwangi

Polycarp Igathe's resignation as Nairobi deputy governor has rubbed many the wrong way.

He and governor Mike Sonko had painted the perfect picture with a fun photo shoot before the August 8 general election.

And after speculation about a poor working relationship, Sonko mounted a fierce defence on social media.

Weeks later, Igathe wrote on Twitter: "Dear Nairobians, it is with a heavy heart that I resign my seat as elected deputy governor of Nairobi city county effective 1 pm on January 31, 2018. I regret I have failed to earn the trust of the governor to enable me to drive administration and management of the county." 

More on this: Igathe resigns as Deputy Governor, says Sonko doesn't trust him

Also read: Sonko and Igathe fall out as State House takes charge of City Hall

Members of the public responded, many saying this was bound to happen a Sonko is a "thug".

"Disappointed" lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi said Igathe's move showed lack of respect for the electorate.

"Igathe's resignation as deputy governor of Nairobi should be condemned in the strongest terms possible ... for it shows what a poor judge of character he is ... obviously he didn't do his homework before he jumped into bed with Mike Sonko.

"Resigned because you failed 'to earn the trust of the governor'? In other words you failed to become a loyal factotum? Polycarp Igathe should be court marshalled for unlawful betrayal of the electorate."

He further termed the resignation an opening into parts of the constitution that need amendment as there is no clarity on what to do if a governor resigns.

"There is no provision for how a deputy governor can be replaced. I urge governor Mike Sonko to exercise his sole prerogative and appoint either Agnes Kagure or Joanne Mwangi as his deputy ... He won’t regret it."

NASA chief Raila Odinga's son Raila Jr lauded Igathe for resigning saying the capital city deserves better leadership for proper delivery of services.

Among problems Sonko is under pressure to solve are the hawkers menace, the transport sector in which PSVs have taken over the town centre, poor roads, substandard buildings and the garbage collection matter.

Raila Jr said: "I commend Polycarp Igathe for resigning as deputy governor. Such a brave step he had to take. Nairobi deserves competent leaders. No way he would have delivered in such an environment."

Igathe resigned as Vivo Energy managing director to become Sonko's running mate in the race to take over from ODM's Evans Kidero.

It had been said that the two balanced each other out and Igathe once described himself as 'Mr Fix It' and said Nairobians had no reason to worry.

Sonko and Igathe had grand plans, as detailed in their manifesto.

More on this: Don't worry, I am Mr Fix it, Sonko's running mate Igathe tells Nairobians

Also read: [STATEMENT] 'De facto governor' Sonko details promises to Nairobians

It was reported on December 14 last year that State House was virtually running City Hall, making key decisions and appointments and reducing Sonko to a disgruntled figurehead.

An intergovernmental committee in the President's Office is deciding major projects, awarding mega contracts and filling influential posts in the capital.

It's all part of Jubilee's pre-election script to safeguard state interests in the capital, which generates 60 per cent of Kenya's GDP.

East African​ Institute director Alex Awiti noted Igathe has set precedence for leaders and politicians to on quitting when 'things do not work' or when they are unable to deliver what was expected.

"However, we must applaud Polycarp Igathe for the courage to quit. Politicians like Daniel Moi (VP) and Raila Odinga (PM) lacked the courage to quit when they should have. I hope DP William Ruto will have the guts to quit if circumstances so demand."

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said: "What God has put asunder, let no man put together."

Lawyer Miguna Miguna, who vied for city boss in August, said: "Integrity is the software for leadership without which a leader is nothing but a wild beast. I've fought against the cartels gallantly. Happily, I'm vindicated."

Miguna continued: "Evans Kidero and Peter Kenneth proved to be thieves in suits. Mike Sonko is a primitive, functionally illiterate thief."

Politician Mutahi Ngunyi wrote: "The currency of politics is not trust. It is common interests. Trust is for girls, if you are a boy. Polycarp should not have asked for Sonko's trust. Sonko is a not a girl. He is a thug."

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