What next for Nairobi if Governor Sonko arrested, charged?

Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi could act as governor in the event Governor Sonko is arrested and arraigned over corruption.
Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi could be the acting governor should Governor Mike Sonko be arrested and arraigned, lawyers say.

Without a deputy governor, Nairobi County has found itself in a dicey situation, but law experts say there is no cause for alarm.

The law

The Constitution states that the office of the governor shall become vacant if the holder of the office dies, resigns, ceases to be eligible to be elected county governor; is convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for at least twelve months or is removed from office under this Constitution.

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The law also states that in the event a vacancy occurs in the office of county governor and that of deputy county governor, or if the deputy county governor is unable to act, the speaker of the county assembly shall act as county governor, but only for sixty (60) days.

Speaking to Standard Digital on phone, lawyers cited the High Court ruling that barred Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his Samburu counterpart Moses Lenolkulal from accessing their offices after they were charged with corruption.

Just like in the case of Waititu and Lenolkulal, Sonko would be barred from discharging his duties hence the Speaker will come in.

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In cases where governors have been indicted or charged over graft-related cases, their deputies have resumed the governor’s roles pending investigations as per the recent High Court ruling.

Lawyer Duncan Okatch, says the Speaker will have to act because Sonko does not have a deputy.

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“If he had a deputy, then the situation would have been similar to that of Samburu and Kiambu counties.”

Okatch, however, clarifies that Sonko has not ceased being governor therefor the sixty days acting period for the Speaker does not arise.

"The seat of the governor has not fallen vacant, therefore, we are not in the situation where the law indicate that the Speaker act for 60 days,"he said. 

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji on Friday ordered for the arrest of Sonko and other county officials over corruption. 

Haji said following investigations by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) they have sufficient evidence to charge the governor.

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Nairobi CountyNairobi Speaker Beatrice ElachiGovernor Mike Sonko