Counties

Blow to Mike Sonko as court okays Anne Kananu swearing-in as Nairobi governor

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Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

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Summary

  • A bench of three judges has ruled that former Governor Mike Sonko has been out of office for more than 10 months and is effectively no longer the governor of Nairobi.
  • The judges ruled that his application seeking to bar Kananu from being sworn in as the Nairobi Governor did not meet the threshold to be granted the order.
  • Sonko’s troubles started on November 26 last year after a notice for his removal was lodged at the Nairobi County Assembly by Michael Ogada.

The Court of Appeal has cleared the way for acting Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu to be sworn in as the substantive county boss. 

A bench of three judges has ruled that former Governor Mike Sonko has been out of office for more than 10 months and is effectively no longer the governor of Nairobi.

The court said if Sonko’s appeal is successful and judges find that his political rights were violated, then the violations, since they will be personal to him, can be vindicated by being paid damages.

The judges ruled that his application seeking to bar Kananu from being sworn in as the Nairobi Governor did not meet the threshold to be granted the order.

The bench also noted that the issue of swearing-in Kananu was not among the grounds raised by Sonko in his appeal. 

“We find that the issue of the swearing-in of the 11th respondent was not raised in the High Court and the impugned judgment did not address or determine that issue,” Justices Wanjiru Karanja, Jamila Mohammed and Jessie Lesiit said.

Sonko moved to the Court of Appeal in a bid to convince it to order a status quo – in effect, ensuring that Kananu does not assume office until his appeal is heard and determined.

He said he was apprehensive that should Kananu become the substantive Governor, then his appeal would be rendered useless and that even if he was to succeed and the court was to find that his impeachment was improper, then it would mean that he would not be able to return to his former job.

Impeachment troubles

Sonko’s troubles started on November 26 last year after a notice for his removal was lodged at the Nairobi County Assembly by Michael Ogada.

On December 3, MCAs convened to impeach Sonko and a resolution for his removal was passed. This proceeded to the Senate and a resolution was passed on December 17 to remove him from office.

He then filed a petition challenging the impeachment as the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Benson Mutura, was sworn in as the acting governor. Mutura later stepped down after Kananu was vetted and sworn in as Deputy Governor.

Sonko’s petition was subsequently dismissed by a bench of three judges of the High Court in June. The court found that the impeachment process fully complied with constitutional and statutory requirements, prompting Sonko to move to the Court of Appeal.

In his appeal, Sonko questioned the participation of MCAs and their conduct during the impeachment. 

He faulted the High Court's decision saying the judges failed to properly address the constitutional violations he itemised in his petition.