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Kananu turns to courts in fight for city big seat

By Nancy Gitonga
Friday, January 22nd, 2021
Nairobi deputy Governor Anne Kananu Photo/PD/David Ndolo
In summary

Nairobi Acting Governor Anne Kananu has turned to the courts again, as she fights an order stopping her last ditch attempts to take the oath of office as the governor.  

In her application through lawyer Joseph Kiarie, Kananu wants the court to vacate its decision to bar her from being sworn in as the governor. 

Kananu says the orders granted to the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) on Monday following her swearing in as deputy governor, are unjust and unenforceable.

Speculative process

She says the court injuncted a speculative process and that LSK did not demonstrate any prejudice it would suffer if the orders were denied by the court. 

“The LSK ought to have sought the said orders against the Assumption of Office of the Governor Committee as established under Section 5 of The Assumption of Office of the Governor Act, 2019, and the Judiciary, since they are the only statutory bodies with mandate and capacity to swear in the applicant,” Kananu argued. 

She adds that the application lodged by LSK does not meet the principles laid out for granting of any conservatory orders in a constitutional process. 

According to Kananu, the orders granted to LSK were unwarranted.

“It is absurd that the petitioner believes that after the removal of Mike Sonko from the office of the governor by impeachment, all processes that were initiated by him but were pending conclusion by the County Assembly are invalid,” she further says.

She adds that the application by LSK is speculative, premature, misconceived and an abuse of the court process.

 “That the orders issued on January 18, were issued on reliance on extraneous circumstances, as the petitioner did not place any evidence that is a real likelihood of Kananu being sworn in as Nairobi County governor,” says Kiarie.

The office of Nairobi governor became vacant after the senate impeached Sonko last month.

LSK under a certificate of urgency, argued that her hurried vetting, approval by the Nairobi County Assembly and swearing in as a deputy governor, in quick succession on Friday was without regard to the Constitution and the law and is a calculated political move to avoid a by-election in Nairobi. 

 LSK through lawyer Peter Wanyama further argued, that at the point of the vacancy occurring at the office of the governor, there was no deputy governor to assume the office of the governor, for the remainder of the term as prescribed in Article 182 (2) of the Constitution.  

Wanyama also argued that the issue regarding the existence of a vacancy in the office of deputy governor, at the time when the governor of Nairobi ceased to hold office cannot be disputed.   

   The petitioner avers that the incomplete process of vetting of Kananu cannot be revived because this would create legal absurdities.

 In addition, these consequential acts will deeply undermine Constitutional objectives of a by-election that Article 182(5) of the Constitution of Kenya curves out.

Justice Mrima yesterday directed the case by Kananu to be heard today.

He also directed that all cases filled by different petitioners challenging Kananu’s appointment and vetting be mentioned on February 10 for further directions.

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