Mike Mbuvi Sonko is the immediate former Senator of Nairobi County and the current Governor of Nairobi County. He was a Member of Parliament for Makadara Constituency, in Nairobi Kenya.
He is known to be generous to the Kenya’s majority poor sponsoring underprivileged children, youth and women. This has made him popular among Kenya’s electorate. He is also known for his unorthodox mode of dressing affiliated with the hip hop community.
Mike Mbuvi Sonko’s wealth is traced to Mombasa where he was born and educated. There, his father ran a property and real estate agency, Pelly Properties, which he co-owned with another businessman.
After completing primary school at Kikowani Primary School in Mombasa, Mbuvi started getting more involved in his father’s business. At the time he was a student at Kwale High School, Kwale County.
“My father was a developer and used to sell beach plots at the Coast to European buyers. He made good profits because he bought the plots cheaply,” Mbuvi told The Standard. He said he made Sh5 million working for his father when he was in Form Four in Kwale High in 1991. Despite qualifying to go to university, he decided business was his calling. Instead, he took a course in Business Administration and Management at Edxcel International School in Mwanza and Pwani Business College.
At the time, his father and business partner split Pelly Properties. Mike Mbuvi’s father started Gidson Properties where the young man, fresh from school, was the sales and marketing manager. Sonko relocated to Nairobi in 1994 where he bought eight matatus, which plied the Kibera route. He bought more matatus, which plied route 42 to Dandora and Umoja. He operated matatus in Dandora and Umoja from 1994 to 1997. “I was also buying and selling plots and residential houses,” says Sonko.
After 1997, he bought minibuses and began operating his matatu business in Buru Buru where his first minibus was christened ‘Ruffcuts’. He later bought two buses, one double-decker, for a tours and travel business.
Because of helping the youth when in trouble with the police, and ensuring the arrest of a senior traffic police officer due to harassment and alleged extortion, among other things, he became the chairman of the Eastlands Matatu Association. There were more than 5,000 matatus, under him. He gained popularity in 2007 after going to court when Eastlands matatus were denied access to the Central Business District. The Government then decreed that the matatus stop at the Muthurwa market and bus terminus.
Mike Mbuvi Sonko said he has since diversified his business. He bought Club Casurina in Buru Buru as well as cyber cafes, salons, boutiques, and phone and accessories shops in Nairobi.
Mike Sonko’s Foundation
Mike Sonko also runs a charitable organisation, which helps needy pupils. He opened a number of youth projects “to empower the youth” in Makadara. He also increased stock for mama mbogas and built them sheds. “But I never spent Sh150 million as claimed. I am not a rich man as alleged. I have given people projects instead of money. I have been doing this even before the campaigns for Makadara,” says Mbuvi. He says his agenda is to eradicate poverty.
His message for the youth is they should work hard to be self-reliant. “I cannot employ all youth but I will register youth Saccos, which will provide loans at low interest rates. Sonko has had his run-ins with the law. In 1995 he was arrested for assault and was released on bond. When his mother died in 1997 the bond was cancelled and he was arrested and remanded at Shimo la Tewa Prison. He escaped to bury his mother and was rearrested, but the court pardoned him. Is Mbuvi related in anyway to Mwau “No way,” he said.
Mike Sonko is married and has three daughters namely; Saumu, Salma and Sandra.