On Wednesday afternoon, bulldozers barged into Diamond Park estate in South B and began demolishing houses worth billions of shillings. At least 25 houses had part of their walls knocked down as wananchi watched helplessly when Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi, popularly known as ‘Sonko’, showed up to the much joy of the crowd.
What was so captivating is just how Sonko’s arrival on the demolition site brought life to wanachi who cheered in relief as his presence there just meant one thing; he was there to save the day, as usual, and true to their hope, ‘the man of the people’ was indeed there to help them.
SONKO CALLS PRESIDENT KENYATTA
After his pleas to the demolition squad to halt the operation fell on deaf ears, Sonko did the unthinkable; he made a call to President Uhuru, who judging from the conversation had no idea what was taking place but he promised to talk to the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary who had previously refused to pick up Sonko’s call. Sonko had the audacity to put the President’s call on a loud speaker and the crowd went into frenzy on hearing the president’s remarks.
True to the President’s promise, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei arrived at the scene and halted the demolition process saying that he was acting on the President’s directive.
DIAMOND PARK LAND DISPUTE
The land hosting the prestigious Diamond Park estate and also the Winners Chapel, has been facing an ownership dispute. The disputed land allegedly belongs to the Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (KEVEVAPI) but the question many are asking is why the firm has been so silent on the subject all these years?
According to Sonko, he wrote to Koskei in March over the issue but the minister failed to respond to his concerns. The senator wanted the owners to at least be compensated since they had been paying the land rates without fail.
GOOD PR OR AGAINST THE RULE OF LAW?
Since then, the “popular phone call” stirred a debate in the country with wananchi applauding Sonko’s move and sections of fellow leaders in the political arena criticizing him. Legal and political analysts are of the opinion that President Kenyatta’s action was against the rule of law.
“Whether it was a public relations gimmick or genuine concern for the residents of South B, it was not in order”, said Eric Njuguna of Bunge La Mwananchi/the people’s parliament.
Some argue that the impression that Uhuru had no idea of the demolitions taking place portrays a communication breakdown in the Jubilee Government but whether the move was out of order or not it was for wananchi’s sake and only a people’s servant can dare take the risk.
Sonko might be a populist but he represents his people and for that reason he has genuine grassroots support.