Inside Politics

Sakaja expresses interest in city governor seat as Sonko woes deepen

Monday, December 16th, 2019 16:02 | By
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja. PHOTO/Courtesy

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja now says he is ready to vie for city’s governor seat should circumstances force beleaguered Governor Mike Sonko out office before 2022 poll.

He, however, said unless a vacancy in the position of Nairobi governor is declared vacant before 2022 general elections, he will continue playing his role as Senator unapologetically to serve the people of Nairobi.

“I got elected as Senator for five years, initially wanted to be governor, I campaigned for the position and looked at the political situation but because of political dimensions, I went for Senator. I have a five year mandate,” he told K24’s Punchline show hosted by Ann Kiguta on Sunday.

Last week, Governor Sonko alongside 12 others were charged with several counts of corruption including conspiracy to commit economic crimes, willful failure to comply with the law and conflict of interest.

During their bond ruling, Chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti of the Anti-Corruption court barred the county boss from accessing his office for the duration of the trial, unless accompanied by an investigating officer or any other authorised person.

The court decision plunging the county administration into a leadership crisis after the governor was barred from accessing his office yet the devolved unit has not had a deputy governor after the exit of Polycarp Igathe for the last 18 months.

However, a defiant Sonko insists that he is still in charge of operations at City Hall despite being barred from his office and that there is no leadership crisis.

In an interview with K24 television, Senator Sakaja, who had at first campaigned for the gubernatorial position in the run-up to the 2017 General elections, said he wouldn’t mind vying for the gubernatorial position, “if the people of Nairobi feel that he will serve them better as governor”

“However, if people decide that I should go for it (Governor), I will go for it. Remember, It is my constitutional right if the people of Nairobi feel that I will serve them better as governor I will go for it” Sakaja insisted.

The senator who spoke even as all eyes are now on President Uhuru Kenyatta, the embattled governor and Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) to make good their threat and table an impeachment motion to chart the way forward to avert a crisis.

The Nairobi senator has also written to the Speaker of the Senate Ken Lusaka asking for a special sitting to discuss the situation in Nairobi County.

He insists that under the current situation where the governor was barred from office without having a substantive deputy to act on his behalf, it  presents a leadership vacuum at City Hall that may necessitate a possibility of a by-election.

Sakaja however, noted that a mini poll will only be possible,  if Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) invokes Article 181 (1) (a) (b) and Article 182 (1) (D) and  impeach the governor  so as to occasion a vacancy in the office of the governor.

Or if the President steps in accordance to Article 192 (1) (a) (b) that says he can take action if there is a serious conflict in a particular county or there is exceptional circumstances; in case of Nairobi City County the services have come ground to halt.

However, he said he was not keen at the impeachment process since can be convoluted,  citing the case of Embu Governor Martin Wambora who was impeached by his ward reps twice but still remained in office through the intervention of the courts.

“For me, it’s not who gets the seat of the governor but it’s the fact that we need pronouncements by the courts, because they have continuously put us of a predicament,” he held.

Though, he is not for the idea of having a county management board should the president invoke article 192; it might be a necessary thing to do right now under the prevailing circumstances.

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