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Court declines to set aside order stopping Sonko ouster

By Nancy Gitonga
Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
Governor Mike Sonko addresses the press in Nairobi. Photo/PD/Bernard Malonza
In summary

The Employment and Labour Relations court has declined to set aside orders stopping an impeachment motion against Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

This is after Sonko on Tuesday obtained a court order barring the County Assembly from discussing the impeachment motion by Kileleshwa Ward MCA Michael Okumu pending inter parties hearing of the case

When the matter came up for mention on Thursday before Justice James Rika barred the media from covering the impeachment case on grounds that he only wanted lawyers in his court.

However, Lawyers Harrison Kinyanjui and Kwanga Mboya who are appearing for the governor informed the court that while they were sitting in court the county assembly was proceeding with motion contrary to the court orders.

Speaking to the media at the Milimani Law courts, Kinyanjui maintained that the court declined to set aside the orders issued on Tuesday and any attempt to impeach the Governor will be in contempt.

"We were kept waiting online for a while for the mention of the case virtually and matter was not called only to find out that the county lawyers were physically present in court and addressed the judge," said Kinyanjui.

The lawyer said that his application to have the matter adjourned to file a supplementary affidavit in the case was never allowed as the judge directed the case proceed within 15 minutes.

Kinyanjui said they are appalled by how the case transpired in court accusing Judge Rika of being bias based on how he handled the case.

This even as Judge Rika recused himself from the case and referred the file to the Principal Judge for directions on how it will proceed.
However, lawyers says the judge did not give any valid reasons why he decided to recuse himself from the case at his stage.

He expressed frustrations on how the proceedings were carried out saying at one time the county lawyers disappeared keeping them waiting in an alleged cat and mouse game for over two hours.

He adds that the judge directed the county lawyers to be sought within if they were within the court premises to attend court only to appear later.

On his part, County Assembly lawyers led by Duncan Okatch equally said according to their interpretation of the law the said orders were vacated automatically because the judge did not extend them.

But, Sonko's lawyers Kinyanjui says the order issued on Tuesday still stands until Thursday midnight unless there is another order stating that the previous one has been suspended.

At the same time during the court session yesterday tempers flared up between the parties as they each tried to convince the judge to hear their side of their arguments.
According to sources, this is the main reason that made the judge to literally run away from the case as the lawyers banged the tables and at one point they tried to rough each other up in court.

However, following what happened Sonko's lawyers said they will file a complaint against the judge before the judicial Service Commission over the manner in which he handled the case.
n 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.

The legislator argued that Sonko has been in and out of courtrooms on various cases and is therefore unfit to hold public office.

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