What Sonko's Impeachment Means For Nairobi

  • Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko
    Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko at City Hall 23 September 2019.
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  • The impeachment of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko by the county assembly cast a shadow of uncertainty over the future of the city. 

    88 out of 122 MCAs, on Thursday, December 3, voted to support the motion achieving the two-thirds majority (82) required by the constitution.

    Following his removal, Sonko has the option of running to court to block the resolution of the assembly. 

    NMS boss Mohammed Badi (left) and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (right)
    NMS boss Mohammed Badi (left) and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (right)
    Twitter

    Should the governor decide to go to court, his lawyers will try to prove that the proceedings were flawed and that the procedure was not followed and seek to have legal redress.

    A number of MCAs, alongside the Governor, have claimed that despite being absent from the impeachment proceedings, their accounts on the video link platform used during voting had been hacked. 

    Many governors who have been impeached sought the court's intervention but in most cases, the proceedings were overtaken by events where the Senate debated their removal.

    The most recent case involved Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu who challenged the manner in which the County Assembly had calculated the number of MCAs who voted for his impeachment. Despite getting a reprieve in court, the Senate proceeded and was overtaken by events. 

    It is most likely that the matter will proceed to the Senate after which Senators will then summon Governor Sonko to defend himself against the allegations of gross misconduct and abuse of office.

    The Senate has the option of hearing the case as a committee of the whole house as was in the case of Ferdinand Waititu or appoint a special committee as was in the case of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru. 

    The house will either vote to uphold the county assembly’s decision or reinstate the governor. 

    In case the Senate confirms Sonko’s removal, he will immediately cease to occupy the seat of Nairobi Governor. 

    Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura will assume the role of the governor in an acting capacity for 60 days. This is because Nairobi does not have a Deputy Governor as Sonko has not appointed one since the resignation of Polycarp Igathe in January 2018. 

    “A person who assumes the office of county governor under this Article shall, unless otherwise removed from office under this Constitution, hold office until the newly elected county governor assumes office following the next election held under Article 180 (1),” the Constitution reads.

    Should Nairobians have to return to the ballot, Sonko is allowed to run but that will be subject to being cleared by the IEBC which relies on information from state agencies such as the DCI which issues the certificate of good conduct.

    It is interesting to note that Sonko had failed to get the clearance documents in his 2017 run and only survived after the reported intervention of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

    The BBI proposals also recommend that individuals facing corruption charges be barred from running for office. This could bar Sonko depending on when the proposed laws are enacted by Parliament. 

    However, political pundits foresee a situation where the Treasury could claim a lack of enough resources to fund a by-election and have speaker Mutura rule alongside NMS for the remainder of the term. 

    Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura
    Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura
    File
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