Sonko wins big as court suspends Nairobi by-election poll

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021 00:00 | By
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko during a past apperence in court. Photo/PD/File

The High Court has suspended the upcoming Nairobi gubernatorial by-election scheduled for February 18 pending hearing and determination of a petition by Mike Sonko challenging his impeachment. 

Justice Anthony Mrima of the Constitutional and Human Rights Division suspended the by-election on the basis that he cannot allow it to continue while there is an ongoing suit challenging the impeachment of Sonko as Nairobi governor.

“That the Special gazette notice number 10914 dated December 21, 2020 issued by Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) be and is hereby suspended until the hearing and determination of the amended notice of motion,” ordered Justice Mrima.

Sonko, who was impeached on December 17, 2020 after the Senate upheld a motion by the Nairobi County Assembly, had moved to court to challenge his impeachment.

Through lawyer Wilfred Nyamu, Sonko had also sought orders seeking to stop Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura from taking over as acting governor, but that was overtaken by events since Mutura had been sworn-in by the time the suit was filed.

Mutura is expected to act for 60 days before the electoral agency conducts a by-election.

In his petition, Sonko argued that his impeachment was illegal since it did not meet the threshold to remove him from office and occasion the by-election.

“The motion to remove me was illegal, null and  invalid since it did not meet the requisite legal threshold to warrant an impeachment to commence,”  he argues.

While seeking to stop his removal, Sonko avers that the entire process to impeach him was unconstitutional, as it lacked integrity, not transparent and verifiable.  

“IEBC will be proceeding on an illegality if they proceed to hold elections for the gubernatorial seat for Nairobi City County,” Nyamu adds.

Powerful forces

The lawyer says the velocity  at which Mutura was sworn-in  indicated there were powerful forces that wanted Sonko out in total disregard of his rights to fair administrative action.

Nyamu says the law allows for 10 days before the swearing-in of acting governor.

Sonko, in his affidavit, said his removal was compromised from the beginning. 

“No select committee was appointed by the County Assembly to investigate allegations levelled against me,” he said.

He seeks a conservatory orders restraining the implementation of the resolution passed by the Senate on December 17,2020 to remove him as the Nairobi Governor and announcing a by-election for the same seat until the case is heard. 

In the case, Sonko has sued Mutura, IEBC, Nairobi City County, the Senate, Speaker of the Senate Ken Lusaka, the assumption of the office of the County Governor Committee, Nairobi County and the Attorney General .

 Justice Mrima directed parties to file and exchanged pleadings in the matter before the hearing of the application on January 14. 

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