Former Kamukunji MP and current East African Assembly legislator Simon Mbugua takes to controversy like fish to water.
This week the legislator was in the eye of a storm at City Hall after a section of Nairobi Members of County Assembly (MCAs) accused him of meddling in City Hall affairs and running the show since the resignation of deputy governor Polycarp Igathe last month.
On Tuesday, the MCAs adjourned their normal business to discuss the conduct of Mr Mbugua whom they claimed has been insulting, intimidating and threatening county employees and leaders.
The MCAs alleged that Mr Mbugua has been attending Executive Committee meetings, county workshops and is frequently seen in City Hall corridors, besides ordering “illegal” impounding of vehicles and ordering county staff, including CECs, on what to do, and influencing key decisions, especially on tender awards.
Waithaka MCA Anthony Kiragu told the assembly on Tuesday that his Roysambu counterpart Peter Warutere was recently threatened by goons sent by Mr Mbugua.
However, in his characteristic bombastic style, Mr Mbugua told off the MCAs.
“It should not be lost upon observers that I was a candidate for Kamukunji MP during the party nominations which I won fairly,” he fired back.
He went on: “However, I had to shelve my ambition at the request of party leaders in the spirit of ethnic balancing in the party. Based on this, and a resident of Nairobi and citizen of this country, I am firmly at the heart of Nairobi politics.”
The diminutive politician burst into national limelight when he was involved in a scuffle atop a dais in Kamukunji Constituency in 2007.
The video clip was later used by satire news capturing Mr Mbugua falling down after the altercation with another politician.
The politician won the seat in the 2007 General Election but lost it in 2011 after a successful petition against his victory.
He went on to lose the subsequent by-election to Mr Yusuf Hassan.
But he did not give up and he has been a constant figure in Nairobi politics as he stated in his response to the claims by the MCAs.
His attempts to make a comeback in the run up to the 2013 General Election were thwarted after then deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, eager to attract support from the Somali community, supported Mr Hassan for the Kamukunji seat.
Mr Mbugua lost to Mr Hassan in the Jubilee 2013 primaries but later claimed that he had been prevailed upon by Mr Kenyatta to step down.
After this loss, he closely allied himself with then Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko (now governor) and became like a personal assistant or errand boy.
He was then appointed NGO Coordination Board member, a post he held until February last year when he resigned to contest the Kamukunji seat again.
He won the Jubilee primaries for Kamukunji last May, but was persuaded to step down for Mr Hassan owing to the party’s fear of losing the Somali vote in the city.
“After detailed consultations, I am persuaded that the best interests of our country and our city are more important than the win of an individual,” he said at a press conference personally managed by President Kenyatta’s private secretary, Mr Jomo Gecaga.
He was later nominated by Jubilee to Eala.
In 2009, Mr Mbugua physically assaulted NTV reporter Robert Nagila at a hotel in Nairobi for allegedly investigating dubious car deals handled by his company.
In 2015, he was mentioned in connection to a violent attempt to take over Caxton House in Nairobi’s central business district, which left one person dead. The property’s lease had allegedly expired.
Nairobi County Speaker Beatrice Elachi distanced herself from the fight between the legislator and MCAs.
“The motion to debate him was brought to the floor of the House in a legal manner,” said Mrs Elachi.
“There was no way I could have prevented that because I would be interfering with the work of MCAs. I want to tell him to stop dragging my name to his fights,” he said.
Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko defended the legislator over allegations of meddling in the county’s affairs.
He said the MCAs were being used by cartels at City Hall to fight him.