Sonko Senate date inevitable as court okays ouster debate

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

Embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s fate now lies with the Senate after the High Court yesterday declined to stop the lawmakers from discussing impeachment motion before it. 

Sonko had sought the court’s intervention to stop the House from discussing the impeachment, in what appeared as a last attempt to save his job.

But Justice Mathew Nduma set the ruling on the matter for 3pm today, long after the Senate proceedings will have kicked off.

This is as good as making any court intervention an exercise in futility as it will have been overtaken by events. 

Through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, Sonko asked the court to stop the  Senate from discussing the motion set for this morning.

In what amounted to a massive blow for Sonko, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka through a Gazette Notice set the session to discuss Sonko’s impeachment for 9am today.

Sonko is expected to face the 67 senators after the Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio declined to give a Notice of Motion for the formation of an 11-member committee to investigate the allegations levelled against him by the Nairobi County Assembly Ward Reps.

Spirited fight

Lusaka said the hybrid virtual sitting of the whole house will enable all senators to participate.

 “In line with the Covid-19 guidelines, I have determined that it is indeed imperative that we hold a hybrid virtual sitting to accommodate our colleagues who are not in a position to attend and participate physically.”

Yesterday, Kinyanjui put up a spirited fight to convince the judge to issue orders stopping the Senate from presiding over any session to deliberate the impeachment motion against Sonko.

In his submissions, Kinyanjui argued such session of the Senate will be an illegality since it has been challenged in court and a decision is yet to be made.

He further argued that Sonko’s purported impeachment by the county assembly was unlawful since there was a court order issued in February by Justice Byrum Ongaya  stopping his removal.

But the county assembly through lawyer Millimo Muthoni urged the court to dismiss Sonko’s application on grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to rule on the impeachment of the governor.   

“We urge you to disallow the request by Sonko and please allow the governor to appear before the Senate and defend himself over the charges he is facing,” said the lawyer.

Muthoni further said that if Sonko is convinced that the county assembly violated the orders issued by the court on December 3, when he was impeached, he should have sought remedy by filing a contempt application.

He accused Sonko of trying to use the court to shield him from being held accountable as a public officer. 

Sonko’s troubles began on December 3, when majority of Nairobi MCAs voted in support of his impeachment on grounds of  gross violation of the law, committing a crime under the national and international laws, and lacking the capability to run the county.

Shooting down

The governor was impeached by 88 MCAs who voted in support of a motion tabled by Michael Ogada.

However, 59 MCAs allied to Sonko, and who were with him in Kwale on the material day, claimed the assembly staff illegally cast votes on their behalf. 

  Sources within Sonko’s circles reveal that he has reached out to Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja to lobby fellow senators into shooting down the impeachment.

Sakaja has allegedly been meeting several senators at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre to plead with them to save his one-time nemesis.

It is understood that Sakaja has also held a series of meetings with various senators to try and convince them to save the governor. 

“Sakaja has met several senators and he has managed to convince them to dismiss the impeachment motion. Lobbying is at the highest level,” said the source on condition of anonymity.

More on News