Flurry of court cases throw city governor contest into disarray
Eric Wainaina @EWainaina
A flurry of court cases, including Monday’s suspension of the Nairobi gubernatorial by-election has thrown into serious disarray the battle for the capital city’s top job.
On Monday, Justice Anthony Mrima suspended the February 18 mini poll following a petition by impeached Governor Mike Sonko pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Sonko had argued that his impeachment was illegal.
The waters were further muddied yesterday after another petitioner, referring to himself as a “Nairobi voter” went to court under a certificate of urgency to seek the confirmation of former Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe as the substantive governor for the remainder of Sonko’s term.
Yesterday, it emerged that a section of government functionaries are preparing the ground to clear the way for Ann Mwenda, whose nomination by Sonko as deputy governor was thwarted by a court case to assume the county leadership.
Ms Mwenda is a criminology expert. Impeccable sources privy to the happenings told People Daily that some powerful forces within the establishment were reluctant to have a by-election to choose Sonko’s successor.
Those behind the scheme are said to be burning the midnight oil to have the petition filed in court by one Peter Agoro against Mwenda withdrawn to pave the way for her confirmation as deputy governor and by law, Sonko’s natural successor.
Should the plan materialise, Mwenda, who was the County Chief Officer for Disaster Management and Coordination in Sonko’s administration, will be vetted by the County Assembly and subsequently sworn in to replace Sonko.
“Of course, we are monitoring the development in the Sonko case, but the main card on the table is to prevail upon the petitioner in the Mwenda case to withdraw the suit. Should he agree, the House will vet her because her nomination was lawful.
She will be sworn in as the deputy governor before being confirmed as governor as per the law.
The plan is not to have a by-election by all means,”a lawyer privy to the on-goings told People Daily.
Roysambu Ward Rep Peter Warutere, a Sonko ally, confirmed the plot, saying the Assembly was even readying itself to vet Mwenda on grounds that “Nairobi is not ready for a by-election.”
“That is the position. We are going to vet her, the case is supposed to be withdrawn and once that is done, we will convene a Special Sitting to vet her. We will approve her appointment and have her sworn in,” Warutere said.
The move, if successful, will forestall the planned by-election that has attracted several politicians.
The latest plan, sources revealed, is premised on fears by forces allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga, that a by-election in Nairobi could negatively impact on the planned referendum over the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) project.
Yesterday, Mwenda said though she had not been approached by anyone with such an offer, she would gladly grab it if it came her way.
“That issue has been in court forever. No one has talked to me about assuming the position of the governor. Not any one, so far,” she said in an interview.
BBI co-chairman Dennis Waweru and Agnes Kagure had both indicated their intention to contest the by-election on a Jubilee ticket while former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiku had also thrown her hat in the race as Deputy President William Ruto’s candidate.