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No, ‘betrayed’ former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko hasn’t decamped to Kenya’s UDA party

Is Mike Mbuvi Sonko, the controversial former governor of Nairobi, about to sensationally defect?

That’s the claim in a June 2022 Facebook post. According to it, Sonko will decamp from the Wiper Democratic Movement to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), citing betrayal by Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

Sonko has been gunning to become governor of the coastal Mombasa county but has found numerous obstacles in his path. The country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declined to clear him to run in the 9 August 2022 election.

He is in court fighting for his political future.

The post reads: “MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT LOADING IN MOMBASA!! Mike Mbuvi Sonko to Ditch Wiper for UDA. He cites betrayal from Kalonzo as he looks forward to ENDORSE HASSAN OMAR SARAI for GOVERNOR'S Seat.”

The text placed above a photo of Omar and Sonko adds: “Official ANNOUNCEMENT to be made on Saturday at TONONOKA RALLY. He Will be RECEIVED by Dp RUTO.”

Following the IEBC’s decision, Wiper party will field another candidate, which possibly informs the post’s claim of a betrayal. 

Is Sonko ditching the Wiper Party, which is part of the Azimia la Umoja One Kenya coalition, in favour of the UDA?

Azimio la Umoja and the UDA are the frontrunners to win the most seats in the elections.


No evidence of Sonko’s shift, or of endorsement

A Google reverse image search reveals that the photo was taken on 28 May 2022, days before the IEBC declined to clear Sonko.

Other photos taken on the day capture Sonko alongside Hassan Omar Sarai and other candidates hoping to be Mombasa governor.

Omar was elected the senator for Mombasa county in 2013, on a Wiper ticket. His tenure as senator ended in 2017. He is now seeking the governorship on a UDA ticket.

In the weeks since, there have been no reports of Sonko defecting.

UDA leader and deputy president William Ruto was in Mombasa in June, and left without “receiving Sonko” – as claimed in the post. 

And Sonko, who is active on social media, has not made such an announcement on his Facebook page or his Twitter account.

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