THREE-JUDGE BENCH

Sonko's bid to get Nairobi governor's job back flops

Court rules that the former governor's impeachment was carried out as per the Constitution

In Summary

• A three-judge bench on Thursday ruled that Kananu's nomination, vetting and subsequent swearing-in as deputy governor were within the law.

• Justices Said Chitembwe, Wilfrida Okwany and Weldon Korir ruled that Sonko never withdrew Kananu's nomination as deputy governor, as he had alleged.

Anne Kananu when she took the oath of office as the deputy governor Nairobi county on January 15, 2021.
Anne Kananu when she took the oath of office as the deputy governor Nairobi county on January 15, 2021.
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

Deputy Governor Anne Kananu can now be sworn in as the substantive governor of Nairobi county after the court upheld her swearing-in.

A three-judge bench on Thursday ruled that her nomination, vetting and subsequent swearing-in as deputy governor were within the law.

The court also found that the impeachment of former Governor Mike Sonko was constitutional and that his case challenging his removal lacked merit. 

The court threw out Sonko's argument that he had not been properly informed about his impeachment and that he was not given a chance to adequately defend himself against allegations levelled against him by the assembly. 

Justices Said Chitembwe, Wilfrida Okwany and Weldon Korir ruled that Sonko never withdrew Kananu's nomination as deputy governor, as he had alleged.

They found that the attempt to withdraw Kananu's nomination by Sonko was unlawful and had an ill motive behind it.

“Before his impeachment, Sonko had voluntarily nominated Kananu as deputy governor, but later after his impeachment, he decided to withdraw her nomination.”

The court ruled there was appropriate public participation in Kananu's vetting, dismissing the arguments by Sonko that there was no public participation.

On the issue of being sworn in by the acting governor, the court said even though that is unlawful, this case was different.

“Under normal circumstances, the speaker who is the acting governor holds office for 60 days as he waits for the by-election, but in this case there was a nominated deputy governor in place before the governor was impeached.”

The judges said they were not dealing with a perfect case scenario ruling and had Kananu been vetted or disapproved, the current predicament would not have arisen.

The court also agreed with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission that a court order staying the occurrence of a constitutional event, which was a by-election, does not amount to breach of constitutional timelines.

The IEBC cannot be faulted for calling for a by-election before Kananu was approved by the county assembly as deputy governor.

So the order stopping the by-election is no longer necessary

The bench also upheld a decision by the county assembly to impeach Sonko.

They further said the Senate also followed due process in his impeachment and he  was given a fair hearing.

The court noted that 88 MCAs signed the motion to impeach him and none of them went to court to dispute their signatures.

They ruled that each MCA signed against his or her name. Only 44 were needed, so they surpassed the required number.

Edited by A.N