Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko claims the university degree he earned two years ago has changed his behaviour from a man who used to punch walls to a person suitable to be Nairobi County governor.
In an interview on Radio Citizen on Sunday; the senator, who appeared with his rival and sitting Governor Evans Kidero, said there are many things he learned at school to ensure his violent acts remain in the past.
“So many things happened in the past when I was serving as MP, not Senator. But now I have grown up. I have gone to school and one of the things I studied is ‘governance and ethics” he told the ‘Debe La Citizen’ show hosted by Salim Swaleh.
Mr Sonko graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the Methodist University in 2015 in what pundits saw as preparation for the governor’s race this year.
BEAT SEASONED POLITICIANS
The former Makadara MP came on the political scene in 2011 during a by-election and beat seasoned politicians like the late Dick Wathika and Mr Reuben Ndolo.
But once he got into Parliament, he was associated with chaos. One time, he broke a chain that then Nairobi City Council askaris had used to clamp his car.
At another time, he punched a wall as he led a protest against a private developer said to have grabbed land in the city.
Yet on another occasion, he brandished a pistol before journalists as he bragged about owning a gun.
He was identified by the nickname Sonko, a name he later formally adopted in 2011. His full identity became Mbuvi Gideon Kioko Mike Sonko from Mbuvi Gideon Kioko.
In 2013 General Election, Sonko garnered more votes as a senator than what Dr Kidero got as Nairobi governor.
Despite his new status, Sonko never dropped his populist behaviour.
In 2015 he appeared at the Lee Funeral Home, Nairobi, with his bodyguards brandishing rifles, an incident that did not go well with the police.
The bodyguards would be disarmed days later for breaching guidelines on carrying guns.
Then during a teachers’ strike in 2013, the senator once secretly taped the then Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Mudzo Nzili (now chairman) pressurizing him to call off the strike.
On the show though, Mr Sonko marketed a different personality.
“After graduating with my first degree, I wanted to apply the skills I had learnt at school. This is a different contestant, a different Sonko. I am even putting on a sleek suit to polish my image,” said how was wearing a red tie and a blue suit.
“Dressing cannot determine how I live. I will put on suits at official functions but I will change to casual (wears) during weekends.
Mr Sonko and Dr Kidero, who are preparing for a do-or-die duel to control the richest county in Kenya, have been using social functions and social media to criticise each other.
Dr Kidero says Sonko still has image issues and would be bad for the city.
But the Senator charges the governor has left the city filthier than he got it.
Sonko’s running mate Polycarp Igathe is a former MD of an oil company and critics say he was pushed into selecting him, a view he denied during the show.
“I believe leadership comes from God. If He says I will be governor, I will be governor. And if He says Governor Kidero will continue, that is all God’s plan.
“I selected Igathe because Nairobi needs someone who understands the city. There were many people I could have selected but many of them were politicians.
“It is all propaganda for anyone to claim that it is the President who directed me to select Igathe.”
But the city also has Mr Peter Kenneth who is running as an independent candidate. Mr Kenneth, a former Gatanga MP until 2013, who chose to go it alone after losing to Sonko in the Jubilee primaries, did not attend the show despite being invited.