CoG to challenge High Court verdict on charged governors

Council of Governors members led by chairman Wycliffe Oparanya address the media at Nairobi's Movenpick Hotel on December 16, 2019. They said they will move to Supreme Court to challenge High Court decision compelling governors charged to step aside. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]
The Council of Governors (CoG) will move to the Supreme Court to seek interpretation of the High Court ruling that bars county chiefs from accessing their offices when charged with corruption-related cases.

The governors are perturbed that more of them could be forced to step aside following the recent arrest and arraignment of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko for corruption allegation charges.

After several hours of meeting at a Nairobi hotel, the county bosses resolved to move to the Chief Justice David Maraga-led Supreme Court.

CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) said: “As a matter of common interest, the county governments will urgently move to court over the ruling seeking governors to step aside when charged with corruption, as has been witnessed in Kiambu, Samburu and Nairobi counties.”

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He said the CoG would expedite the matter since critical services could be affected in Nairobi City County, being the capital city and with no deputy governor.

Awaited ruling

CoG’s move comes three days before the judgement on an appeal lodged by Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his Samburu counterpart Moses Lenolkulal on being barred from accessing office by High Court Judges Grace Ngenye and Mumbi Ngugi, respectively.

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The Court of Appeal will make its ruling on Friday.

Sonko, who has been charged at the anti-corruption court over alleged irregular procurement and payment of over Sh357 million, has been running the county without a deputy since January 2018 when Polycarp Igathe resigned.

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When Sonko was arrested, CoG failed to openly defend him over corruption allegations facing him as it has done in the past with other governors facing similar charges.

Instead, the council called for an emergency meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss the fate of Nairobi that has been thrown into a leadership crisis following Sonko’s inability to discharge his duties as a governor.

Meanwhile, the county bosses have asked the National Treasury to unconditionally disburse the equitable share meant for the counties.

“We acknowledge the order by the High Court that compels the National Treasury and Controller of Budget to unconditionally disburse the equitable share overdue to county governments. We urge the National Treasury to comply with the order and the law with immediate effect,” said Oparanya. 

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CoGSupreme CourtCorruption allegation charges.Wycliffe OparanyaHigh Court ruling