IMPEACHMENT

Scheme to remove Sonko takes shape

MCAs have been holding meetings with Jubilee officials and State House operatives

In Summary

• MCAs form an ad hoc committee to run City Hall as plot to impeach embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko takes shape.

• The city has been on "autopilot" since December last year when the flashy county chief was arraigned and subsequently locked from his office over loss of Sh357 million

Nairobi assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi and MCAs at the assembly on January 7.
Nairobi assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi and MCAs at the assembly on January 7.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Details have emerged of a fresh plan to impeach embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko even as MCAs form an ad hoc committee to run City Hall.

The city has been on "autopilot" since December last year when the flashy county chief was arraigned and subsequently locked out from office over the loss of Sh357 million.

The Star has established that the ward representatives have resolved to remove the beleaguered governor to "salvage the sinking county" after weeks of meetings and consultations.

The reps also resolved to form an ad-hoc committee to oversee what insiders described as "the resumption of services."

The powerful committee is made up of some MCAs and executives and is chaired by Speaker Beatrice  Elachi.

According to plan, the ad hoc committee will steer the affairs of the county as the removal of Sonko takes shape.

However, Elachi insisted that their role would be "just to bring in a framework on how we would want to see the executive move."

"And our main role is to oversight," she told the Star.

Several Assembly officials confirmed that Sonko's impeachment is on the cards in what is likely to end the governor's controversial 10-year political career. His case is unlikely to be determined by 2022.

“We will impeach him. We are preparing the ground first because we don’t want to be embarrassed when we take our case to the Senate,” Minority leader David Mberia said.

Yesterday, Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju confirmed the ouster bid had reached his desk.

He, however, said that the party will not intervene to save the governor.

“I have heard those sentiments through our director in charge of Nairobi at the headquarters office. [But]When it comes to impeachment at the county assembly, we don’t sit there. They [MCAs] decide what to do. That is their responsibility and mandate. We have no reason to intervene,” he stated.

To demonstrate their resolve and unity of purpose, the MCAs, who until days ago were in factions, have closed ranks.

The MCAs, led by Elachi, held a kamukunji on Tuesday and discussed the "state of county affairs".

They later addressed a press conference attended by the faction that opposed her return as speaker. That faction was led by former Majority leader Abdi Guyo.

It was at the Tuesday meeting that the ward reps resolved to form the ad hoc committee. They also ordered the more than 100 officers suspended by the governor to report to work.

Elachi has convened a special sitting of the Assembly today to discuss the state of affairs of the county and approve the names to the committee.

“The governor should understand that the county needs to move on. It is in his own interest that everything from the county administration down to the projects in the wards are in progress,” Elachi said.

The speaker denied that she was working with Guyo to impeach Sonko.

She, however, maintained that the MCAs are free to remove the governor provided they do so within the confines of the law and Standing Orders.

“I would not like a scenario where the MCAs impeach then our brothers at the Senate say that we did not follow the law accordingly,” she told the Star.

On his part, Guyo told the Star they have agreed to impeach Sonko but denied that was the reason he decided to reunite with the speaker.

“I have not closed ranks with her to impeach Sonko but I am on the side of the people who want to send Sonko home,” he said, adding: “We have sufficient grounds to impeach him – abuse of office, gross violation of the Constitution.”

The county legislators said the governor has irregularly suspended and sacked many county employees, ignored the Supreme Court advisory on appointing a deputy and ran the county for a long period with only half the cabinet.

 

They said the corruption case the governor is facing in court and other cases the anti-graft agencies are pursuing amount to abuse of power and gross misconduct.

The EACC is investigating the governor over irregular payment of Sh196 million for the construction of Dandora stadium.

The DCI has separately launched a probe into suspicious multi-billion-shilling tenders in Sonko’s administration.

They include payments made to AAR Insurance Kenya, the refurbishment of Pumwani Maternity Hospital and casual workers.

Several sources have disclosed that the MCAs have been holdings meetings, including with top Jubilee officials and State House operatives, to plan the ouster.

“We have held a meeting in a hotel in Kiambu, another one in Upper Hill and the latest one at the party headquarters. The county is sinking and we cannot sit and watch,” a Jubilee MCA said off record.

A source revealed that a group of Harambee House officials have been working with some MCAs and Speaker Elachi’s office to come up with a plan.

“The plan must be free of legal landmines. It must also protect the MCAs from the repercussions of the county being dissolved and thus necessitating them to seek re-election in a by-election," one source said.

The Harambee House group is said to be working closely with the State Law Office in exploring the available options.

“So far, the best option is the impeachment of the governor and I can tell you that this is something you will see happening very soon,” a top official at OP said.

Several MCAs from both Jubilee and Nasa confirmed the impeachment plot, saying it was mooted soon after the governor was arrested and charged with several counts of corruption and abuse of office.

Yesterday, Mberia intimated that both camps – Jubilee and Nasa – have agreed to remove the governor from office, a matter he said they are undertaking in the interest of the city residents.

“I can assure that even from the other end [Jubilee], we are really in agreement that [impeachment] is the end result,” he added.

Embakasi MCA Michael Ogada (ODM) will collect the requisite number of signatures and sponsor the ouster motion.

“I have already started collecting the signatures and we will petition the speaker at the right time. We will impeach him. There are no two ways about it,” Ogada confirmed to the Star.