Kenya: Sonko Tells Off US in Travel Ban Fiasco, Says Biden Administration Should Focus on Russia

Nairobi — Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has told off the US for slapping him with a travel ban over alleged corruption.

Sonko said the decision by the Joe Biden administration to ban him and his family from ever traveling to the US is not justified “because I am not corrupt”.

“I’ve not been convicted on any corruption-related charges because the cases are still pending in court awaiting judgment,” Sonko said in a statement shortly after the US announced the ban on him his wife Primrose, daughters Saumu and Salma as well as his minor child.

The US announced the travel on its website, citing Sonko’s corrupt past when he served as Governor.

“The US Department of State is designating former-Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko Gidion Mbuvi Kioko due to his involvement in significant corruption. While in office, Governor Sonko solicited bribes and kickbacks in exchange for awarding government contracts to his associates. His actions undermined the rule of law and the public’s faith in Kenya’s democratic institutions and public processes,” it said.

But in a swift rejoinder, Sonko told the US to focus on Russia’s Vladimir Putin who has invaded Ukraine.

“I am urging the USA to investigate their ambassador and focus on fighting PUTIN who’s killed millions of innocent lives in Ukraine just the way they went for Osama bin Laden,” the former Governor said, adding that the US Embassy in Nairobi is thankless for the Efforts he put to demolish a building under construction in its neighborhood when he was in office.

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“Least the American embassy forget that I am the one who helped them demolish a building next to their embassy that had become a nuisance for them even after exposing the owner who was trying to bribe me with Ksh. 100M. The previous governor had not helped them bring it down because of his corruptness,” he said.

And he wondered why the action came out after he announced that he will be defending his seat in the August election.

“Why is this coming out a day after I said that I’ll be defending my seat in August?,” he questioned, and called for the arrested of people he described as known corruption suspects, including the governor who dished tenders to their spouses and children.

“There are only 2 governors who’ve been charged in a court of law for giving tenders to their wives and kids but not me,” he said, “None of my family members was ever awarded any tender by the county when I was in office and it’s in the public domain, the embassy should come out publicly and tell Kenyans the truth. My wife and kids have never supplied even a spoon or toilet paper to city hall either directly or indirectly.”

Sonko was impeached in 2020 over abuse of office and corruption allegations and is already facing graft-related charges in court. He is out on bond.

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