Beleaguered Sonko ready to defend self over allegations
Impeached Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko will know his fate on Wednesday.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said the Senate will hold a Special Sitting to vote on Sonko’s impeachment even as the besieged county boss maintained he was ready to face his accusers on that day.
“Sonko believes he has a good response to the accusations levelled against him by the MCAs who are acting on malice.
He believes the Senate will listen to him and undo the impunity of the county assembly, which removed the governor despite court orders,” Sonko said through his spokesman Ben Mulwa.
Speaking at Christ the King Catholic Church in Bungoma during a harambee, Lusaka said he received the impeachment resolutions on Friday and will table it for discussion on Wednesday.
Lusaka who was accompanied by Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula, George Khaniri (Vihiga) and Cleophas Malala (Kakamega) said Sonko’s fate lies in the hands of senators.
‘’Senators will decide Governor Sonko’s fate, mine is to play the role of the referee,’’ said Lusaka.
Senate Majority Leader Irungu Kang’ata, speaking at a different function, said the House will serve justice to the people of Nairobi.
“The interest of the Senate is to serve justice to the people of Nairobi and wider devolution cause.
This case will be examined objectively devoid of partisanship and factionalism.
On impeachment, the Senate has executed its mandate fairly previously. Same case applies with Nairobi matters,” said Kang’ata.
If approved by the Senate, the move may pave the way for an election in Nairobi.
Matters are complicated by the fact that Nairobi county has no deputy after Sonko’s failure to replace Polycarp Igathe, who resigned in January 2018.
Eighty-eight Members of County Assembly (MCAs) supported the motion accusing the governor of violating the Constitution, abuse of office and gross misconduct with only two voting against it.
Sonko is further accused of crippling operations of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and the Executive by failure to assent to the Sh37 billion budget.
Speaking after the vote, Majority Leader Abdi Guyo welcomed the decision, describing it as ‘a game changer’ for the residents of Nairobi.
“We want to apologise to our party leader and Jubilee for the wrong decision we made of electing Sonko,” said Guyo.
He said focus now shifts to the Senate, where they are set to prosecute their case against the governor and expressed confidence that the impeachment will be upheld.
Sonko was impeached a day after the Labour Court temporarily stopped an impeachment motion against him.
Justice Nzioki Makau barred the County Assembly from discussing the impeachment motion by Kileleshwa Ward MCA Michael Okumu pending inter partes hearing of the case by Sonko.
In the case, Sonko has sued Okumu alongside the Clerk of the Nairobi Assembly, the Speaker, the County Assembly, MCA Peter Imwatok.
This is after Okumu, who is also the Nairobi County Assembly Minority Leader, last week tabled the motion seeking Sonko’s ouster.
The motion listed four key grounds for the removal of Governor Sonko: a gross violation of the law; committing a crime under the national and international laws; and lacking the capability to run the county.
He argued that Sonko has been in and out of courtrooms on various cases and is therefore unfit to hold public office.
MCAs accused the governor of declining to assent to the Sh37.5 billion Nairobi City County Appropriation Bill, 2020 that gives Sh27.3 billion to NMS is said to be among the main reasons for the bid to remove him from the helm of City Hall.
According to court documents by Sonko, more than 60 MCAs had sworn affidavits in the case saying they have never appended their signatures to any motion as it was alleged by Okumu who brought the impeachment motion.
Sonko has been at loggerhead with the national government especially President Uhuru Kenyatta whom he accuse of meddling into Nairobi county matters.
President Kenyatta had earlier formed the Nairobi Metropolitan Services headed by the army general, Mohammed Badi to oversee various developmet agendeas of the city.
This later brought am issue between the governor and the head of NMS with the former now blaming the national government for his woes.