FROM SUPREME COURT, AG

Elachi waits for legal advice on Sonko’s deputy nominee

In Summary

• Elachi said there is no point in introducing a nominee's name, debate and pass it then later the assembly is caught up with the law.

• With no deputy governor in office, it has remained unclear on who exactly should take charge of the county’s affairs as Sonko battles in court.

Anne Kananu and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko during a past event.
Anne Kananu and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko during a past event.
Image: FILE

The county assembly has sought a second legal advisory from the Supreme Court and the office of the Attorney General over the leadership crisis in Nairobi.

This time to get advice on the nomination of Anne Mwenda as deputy governor.

The first time county assembly speaker Beatrice Elachi sought an advisory opinion from the two institutions was on December 11 last year after Governor Sonko was barred from accessing his office over Sh357 million corruption case.

 
 
 
 

With no deputy governor in office, it has remained unclear on who exactly should take charge of the county's affairs as Sonko battles in court.

In a special sitting last week, assembly speaker Beatrice Elachi said she had sought the legal advisory opinion of the AG and the Supreme Court regarding the nomination of the deputy governor.

"The office of the speaker is in receipt of a letter dated January 6, 2020, nominating Ms Anne Kananu Mwenda to the position of Deputy Governor," she said.

"This assembly has since sought legal advisory from the Office of the Attorney General and Supreme Court on January 6, 2020 under Supreme Court Advisory ref:1 of 2020." 

On Tuesday, Elachi told the Star that everything will be done in accordance with the law.

"There is no point in introducing a nominee's name, we debate and pass it then later we are caught up with the law. That is why I ruled that the debate on the deputy governor's nominee will happen once the house is back from recess in February and before then, we would have received the advisory opinion," she said.

The advisory opinion is expected to be given in the course of the month.

 
 
 
 

"There is a lacuna in the constitution on what Nairobi is facing and that is why the advisory from the AG and Supreme Court will give us the direction we need to take as an assembly," Elachi added.

The Constitution does not indicate what needs to be done when a county faces a crisis such as the one Nairobi is facing.

With no vacancy in the office of the governor, the county assembly speaker cannot occupy the office.

"This situation is unique, hence it is important that we wait for the way forward," Elachi said.

Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju has also said that the party has written to the Attorney General seeking a solution to the Nairobi leadership gap.

EACC PROBE

Meanwhile, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has started investigations into the procedure used to nominate Mwenda as deputy governor. 

EACC chief executive Twalib Mbarak last week wrote to Elachi, asking for Governor Sonko’s original letter nominating Mwenda.

“This commission requires the original letter dated January 6, 2020, from the governor to the speaker, nominating the deputy governor candidate. Your timely action will be appreciated," read the letter.

Last week, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said Sonko violated court orders when he nominated a deputy governor.

Haji also argued that Sonko's nomination of a deputy governor amounts to interference with the crime scene and prospective witnesses and will ultimately compromise the integrity of the trial.

He asked the court to cancel the bail terms granted to Sonko and commit him to detention pending the hearing and determination of his case.

"It is evident from the conduct of the respondent that he has no respect for the orders of this court and has disregarded the directive given by the court," Haji said.

However, Sonko through his lawyer Cecil Miller said that the Anti-Corruption Court did not remove him from office but only barred him from accessing his physical office and communicating with intended witnesses.

"The court did not bar him from exercising the constitutional and statutory functions of his office,” Miller said.

In addition, some MCAs led by minority whip Peter Imwatok, want Sonko arrested for contempt of court following the nomination of Mwenda.

“You [Sonko] were barred from your office where you were to be escorted by an investigative officer to pick your personal belongings. It means everything you pick from that office, must be declared to the officers,” Imwatok said.

“At what point did you access that office to access a letter head, which is a public document not a private one, for use to write the letter of nomination?” he questioned.