NAIROBI BY-ELECTION

College degree: State says Mutura's stay in office temporary

Voter has challenged his swearing-in, saying he lacks an academic degree.

In Summary
  • State says Mutura holds the position of acting governor by virtue of his position as the county assembly speaker and is not an elected governor.
  • The case will be mentioned on January 14 alongside impeached Governor Mike Sonko’s case.
Nairobi county assembly speaker Benson Mutura.
Nairobi county assembly speaker Benson Mutura.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Acting Nairobi Governor Benson Mutura’s academic qualification should not be questioned as he is only standing in pending a by-election.

A voter has filed a case challenging the swearing-in of Mutura, saying he lacks an academic degree.

In response, the Attorney General says the petitioner wrongly invoked provisions of law that deal with qualifications of persons nominated for election as governor.

“The constitutional petition erroneously invokes the provisions of the section 2(22) of the elections Act which deals with the qualifications of a persons to be nominated for election as a County Governor whereas the position in question is held by the Speaker of the County Assembly on a temporary basis by operation of Article 182 (4) and (5) of the Constitution,” read court papers.

The AG, through state lawyer Thande Kuria, has opposed the case and asked the court to dismiss it for lack of merit.

Bernard Olango, the petitioner, argues that Mutura does not hold an academic degree and is therefore not competent to hold the office of the governor.

Olango wanted to stop Mutura's swearing-in but says since he is already sworn in, he should be restrained from assuming office and performing duties.

He says Mutura should be barred from executing any authority as acting governor pending determination of the petition

“Swearing-in of Mutura as the acting governor is in breach of Section 22 of the Election Act and Articles 181 and 182 of the Constitution,” Olango argues.

Olango says he stands to suffer grave risk and prejudice as a voter in Nairobi City County should Mutura assume office.

He has sued the Chief Justice, the Senate, the Speaker and the clerk of the county assembly.

But Kuria says Mutura holds the position of acting governor by virtue of his position as the county assembly speaker and is not an elected governor.

“The case should be dismissed on grounds that it primarily raises a question of the validity of the provision of the Article 178 of the Constitution, which is prohibited by the virtue of the provisions of Article 2(3) of the Constitution,” he says.

Kuria says Olango has not demonstrated to the required standards that the clerk of the county assembly is not qualified by law to hold the position of assembly speaker.

On Wednesday, Justice Antony Mrima directed Olango to serve all the parties in the case with the petition.

The case will be mentioned on January 14 alongside impeached Governor Mike Sonko’s case.

The court suspended the February 18 by-election following Sonko's petition. 

Parties in the case had asked the court to consolidate both cases arguing that they similar and it will save judicial time to deal with them simultaneously

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya