Cartels Fight Back as a Fearless Governor Sakaja Clears Rot at City Hall

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Cartels Fight Back as a Fearless Governor Sakaja Clears Rot at City Hall

By Kenn Okaka "I will not bow to cartel pressure"... That was the solemn vow that Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja made when he assumed power as the

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By Kenn Okaka

“I will not bow to cartel pressure”… That was the solemn vow that Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja made when he assumed power as the City Hall boss in 2022. True to his word, the city governor has taken on the corruption lords operating at the city’s seat of power head-on.

For eons, City Hall has been a haven of corruption cartels that have taken the city hostage. At one time, former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko lamented the influx of cartels in Nairobi, a situation that led the flamboyant ex-governor to hand over some key roles to State House. This move saw Former President Uhuru Kenyatta create the Nairobi Metropolitan Services under the leadership of Major General Mohammed Badi, which took over key functions like revenue collection on behalf of the county government.

In sharp contrast, Governor Sakaja has taken on the cartels head-on, vowing to end the vicious circle. The faceless cartels, feeling the pressure, have started a hard battle against the governor to salvage their survival. Over the last week, Governor Sakaja has been under fire on social media, with cartels sponsoring smear campaigns with hashtags like “Nairobi under siege”.

However, these smear campaigns can be attributed to Sakaja’s adamant position in dealing with the cartel’s pipelines, refusing to allow their operations like land grabbing, payment of air supplies, and corruption, among other vices. The corruption lords have now taken to fighting back viciously, sponsoring Sakaja’s perceived opponents to spearhead the fight against the governor.

The cartels, believing that their operations must continue regime in, regime out, have resorted to funding Sakaja’s political nemeses in a bid to maintain their place in the corruption cartel. Political opponents like Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, and former Nairobi Education CEC Muthoni Ouko have emerged as the loudest mouthpieces for the corruption ring, seeking to retain control of City Hall against Governor Sakaja’s efforts to clip their wings.

The sponsors of the “Nairobi Under Siege” smear campaign have held Nairobi hostage for years, a move that Sakaja has vowed to stop, even if it means an end to his political career. In a past interview, Sakaja stated that he was willing to sacrifice his political journey to help put an end to the corruption ring at City Hall, for the sake of Nairobi residents.

According to sources, the corruption cartels at City Hall are wealthy and powerful individuals who wield immense power, having held senior positions in the city and some still holding senior positions in the national government, alongside well-known notorious city businessmen.

Despite the cartels fighting back, Governor Sakaja has remained adamant, vowing not to look back as he continues to dismantle the corruption ring.

Kenn Okaka is a media and communications consultant.

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