Polycarp Igathe’s turbulent five months in politics

Polycarp Igathe's turbulent five months in politics
Former Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe

Polycarp Igathe’s stint at politics will go down in history as one of the shortest ever in Kenya.

The man, who was plucked from the private sector to deputise Mike Sonko in running the country’s Capital, resigned on Friday through his Twitter account.

“Dear Nairobians, it is with a heavy heart that I resign my seat as elected Deputy Governor of Nairobi City County effective 1pm on 31st Jan 2018. I regret I have failed to earn the trust of the Governor to enable me to drive Admin & Management of the county,” he tweeted.

His political career was strained from the beginning. When he was announced as Sonko’s deputy, many believed that he had been planted by the “establishment” to take over after a few years. It was rumoured that State House did not want him to run for the City’s top seat but he had the grassroots support and would have practically handed Nairobi to the opposition, something the president had vowed not to do.

Sonko and Igathe’s first outing was closely monitored by many as happens when a royal introduces the world to his/her romantic partner. Many pointing out that there was no chemistry between the two and this gave the “establishment” rumours a bigger megaphone.

Once in office, and now easy around each other, the rumour mill was still on overdrive with claims that Igathe, and not Sonko, was the one running the county behind the scenes with blessings from State House.

A December 14, 2017 story by The Star with the headline; “Sonko and Igathe fall out as State House takes charge of City Hall” was the proverbial last nail on the coffin.

The story stated: “State House is virtually running City Hall, making key decisions and appointments and reducing Governor Mike Sonko to a disgruntled figurehead. 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.”

This infuriated the governor and his deputy forcing Sonko to release screenshots of their conversations to prove the claims were false.

He accused The Star writers of blackmail for “refusing to prequalify (your) proxy companies to do supplies in Nairobi county corruptly.”

The screenshots were more of an embarrassment to Igathe since he looked as he was bending over backwards to suck up to his boss and Kenyans on Twitter had a field day with them.

On the public front, the two were rarely seen together in public. The last time Sonko and Igathe were seen in public was in December after Igathe tweeted a photo of the two with former Nairobi Governor Dr. Evans Kidero.

He was at the launch of the direct flights to the US by Kenya Airways where he promised that he and the governor would be serving passengers aboard the maiden flight.

But the pressures of the job seemed to have got to the man who threw a tantrum on Twitter recently over Nairobians’ lack of appreciation for the work they were doing.

He tweeted: “You cannot please everyone & you shouldn’t even try! Do what you need to do to achieve your goals as long as you are not harming others.”


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