- Speaker Elachi may head City Hall if court bars Sonko from resuming office after his arraignment
- Lawyer says Governor Sonko has no room to appoint County Executive Committee member to take charge
The dramatic arrest of Governor Mike Sonko on Friday threw Nairobi City into a crisis and could mark the beginning of the end of his leadership.
Sonko, a former Nairobi senator, was arrested at Ndara roadblock near Voi while heading to Mombasa. He will spend the weekend in police custody after the court refused to grant him bail.
Jubilee leaders told the Star on Friday the arrest may have opened away to “remove the governor from office and restore order at City Hall”.
“We have been wondering how to call the governor to order. If he is charged, suspended and his position becomes untenable, the party will seek to replace him based on the DPP’s charges which could amount to gross misconduct,” said a senior party official.
Article 181 states that a governor can be removed from office for among other reasons (a) gross violation of the Constitution or any other law; (b) where there are serious reasons for believing that the governor has committed a crime under national or international law; (c) abuse of office or gross misconduct; or (d) physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of office of county governor.
Sonko will become the third governor to step aside following a landmark ruling by Justice Mumbi Ngugi that all constitutional office holders charged with corruption should step aside.
Ngugi made the ruling following an application by Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal, who had been barred by a lower court from accessing his office.
She termed as unconstitutional Section 62(6) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act that shielded constitutional office holders from suspension from office when charged with corruption.
The same ruling was used to lockout Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu who is also facing graft charges.
The same fate is likely to face Sonko who has since Polycarp Igathe quit on January 12, 2018 failed to name a deputy, a decision that will cause a crisis at City Hall.
Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi is likely to take over for 60 days after which IEBC will have to conduct fresh gubernatorial elections in Nairobi
There is also a possibility that MCAs opposed to him could impeach him.
“We will review the situation and the numbers we have. If we have a quorum, we will impeach him,” said Makadara MCA Peter Imwatok.
Sonko's leadership style has rubbed many people the wrong way, raising questions about his management skills as head of Kenya's capital city.
Since Sonko took office in 2017 more than 40 workers, including senior officials, have either been sacked or suspended.
In January, former county Education executive Janet Ouko painted the picture of a chaotic, intimidating and unprofessional leadership.
“At City Hall there doesn’t exist any respect for systems or policies," she said.
According to City Hall employees, top officials in the Sonko administration live in constant fear of losing their jobs.
In April last year Sonko defended himself against claims that he routinely punctuates serious meetings at City Hall with alcohol drinking sessions.
"The claim that I drink alcohol in meetings and throughout the day is an outright lie," Sonko said in a statement.
On Friday, a defiant Sonko issued a statement vowing to defend himself in court.
"I want to confidently state from the onset that I am more than ready for the lawful course that will help us know the truth," he said.
Sonko said he believes in total accountability, especially when it comes to the management of public resources.
He called upon his supporters and Nairobi residents to be calm as he deals with "this temporary insubordination."
"I assure everyone that I shall not be intimidated and won’t be moved an inch into some political traps," he said.
Sonko said he stands for justice and he is more than ready for the court process.
"... I will unleash my armoury against these conspirators. As a matter of fact, my quest for justice that puts EACC on the spot over land grabbing will remain on course," he said