To be reinstated as governor or not? Sonko set to know his fate as focus shifts to High Court
All eyes on the High Court as a Judgement looms this afternoon over whether it will reinstate former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.
A three judge bench comprising of Justice said Chitembwe, Weldon Koriir and Winfred Okwany are expected to make a determination on a petition challenging the impeachment of Sonko by Nairobi county assembly which was later adopted by the Senate.
The judges are further expected to make a decision as to whether the installation of Anne Kananu as a deputy governor was legal or irregular.
The judgement follows after several petitioners including Human right activist Okiya Omtatah, Habil Kongo, Sonko himself, Kanunu, Nairobi county speaker Benson Mutura and Six others.
In the petition, Omtatah challenged the installation of Kanunu as Deputy governor saying that Sonko revoked Kananu’s nomination on December 7 last year. He argued that Kanaunu was therefore not supposed to be vetted for appointment as deputy governor.
Omtatah says that the Constitution contemplates that only a serving deputy governor can assume the office of governor if a vacancy arises.
“Kananu was not, and is not, the holder of the office of a Deputy Governor. Hence, an election for both the offices of the Governor and of Deputy Governor must be held unless the impeachment of Sonko is reveresd by a Court of competent jurisdiction,” Omtatah says.
He added that “Unless the Court intervenes immediately, Kananu who is not lawfully nominated to be vetted as a Deputy Governor because her nomination by Sonko was revoked on 7th December, 2020 will be unlawfully vetted by the County Assembly on 15th January, 2021.”
On the other hand Sonko asked the court to declare that the impeachment was unconstitutional.
Through his lawyers, Sonko challenged his impeachment claiming that the Senate violated the doctrine of legitimate expectation by ignoring his pleadings and submissions.
He informed the court that senators voted for the charges levelled against him without any evaluation of the evidence placed before the Senate.
Sonko also argued that there was no public participation at the county assembly level and that the MCAs denied him the opportunity to defend himself during the proceedings.
“I was prejudiced by the lack of compliance by Parliament with Article 181(2) of the Constitution of Kenya to guide the process undertaken within a proper legislated framework,” says Sonko, adding that he had raised a preliminary objection at the beginning of the Senate proceedings.
He further argues that failure to comply with the elaborate impeachment process, despite the grave and serious allegations levelled against him, resulted in the impeachment being based on “anecdotal allegations rather than serious and cogent evidence”.