Court of Appeal ruling deepens Nairobi leadership crisis

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

Today's ruling upholding Justice Mumbi Ngugi's ruling that elected officers facing corruption charges cannot be allowed access to their offices deepens the leadership crisis in Nairobi, whose Governor Mike Sonko is facing similar charges and has not named a Deputy.

On July 24, High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi ruled that elected executives cannot continue to attend to office functions when facing corruption-related charges.

Sonko, facing economic crimes charges, alongside governors Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) and Samburu's Moses Lenolkulal sought refuge at the Court of Appeal.

However, Judge Jamila Mohammed today upheld Ngugi's ruling.

SEE ALSO :Governor Sonko to face 3 assault charges over arrest drama

DPP Noordin Haji had applied to have Lenolkulal and Waititu remain out of office during the trial of their corruption cases.

Justice Mohammed read the judgement on behalf of Judges David Musinga, Steven Gatembu and Agnes Murgor.

The decision casts the limelight on Nairobi county leadership, as well as Kiambu.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.  

Sonko has challenged the possibility of having County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi assume functions of the Governor’s office.

In a certificate of urgency filed by his lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, the governor avers there is no leadership vacuum in the county.

SEE ALSO :Court declines to stop Sonko impeachment

Sonko's chickens have come home to roost in matters regarding a Deputy Governor, or the lack of.

County leaders and national politicians urged Sonko to pick a Deputy Governor soon as Polycarp Igathe resigned in January 2018.

However, he has been playing a cat and mouse game, seeing as the Constitution is silent on steps to take when a Deputy Governor resigns.

Igathe resigned four months after being sworn into office.

A letter dated January 10, 2019, signed by Nasa chief executive Norman Magaya urged Sonko to pick Rahab Wangui.

SEE ALSO :MPs scoff at Uhuru’s threat over conflict of interest law

"I shall not be forwarding the name of my Deputy Governor today to allow for further consultation," Sonko said then.

On March 8, 2018, the Supreme Court gave Sonko two weeks to nominate a DG and forward the name to the county assembly for approval, or otherwise within 60 days.

But Sonko failed to nominate a deputy as advised by the apex court.

Law experts have in the past said the court only issued an advisory opinion, not an order.

The Deputy Governor position cannot be filled through an election. The deputy assumes office through nomination by the governor.

SEE ALSO :Blame game over alleged foreign trip to save Sonko

County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi told ward reps they have to wait for an advisory opinion from the office of the Attorney General to determine the next course of action.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja implored President Uhuru Kenyatta to urgently convene a Summit - a meeting of the 47 governors that the President chairs and which is deputised by the deputy president - to seek a way out of the constitutional crisis facing Nairobi County.

In August, Waititu's appeal at the High Court was dismissed. The court declined to review his bail terms in the Sh588 million corruption case against him.

Justice Ngenye Macharia also refused to reduce the Sh15 million cash bail and orders barring him from office.

“I find no illegality in the order of trial Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi in ordering Waititu not to set foot in the Kiambu County offices pending hearing and determination of the case," Macharia said.

The judge said allowing the accused back into office is “a mockery to the constitution.”

But while Kiambu has Deputy Governor James Nyoro to fall back on, Nairobi has none.

Other than the legal woes, Ferdinand also has to deal with the impeachment bid hanging over his head.

Waititu was ousted Thursday evening after 63 Members of the County Assembly voted in favour of his removal.

The motion was tabled by Ndenderu MCA Solomon Kinuthia who accused the governor of engaging in corrupt dealings, abuse of office and gross misconduct.

In the motion, the governor was accused of violating the public procurement rules and conflict of interest after it emerged that tenders in the county were awarded to companies owned by relatives.

He was also accused of breaching the county procedures by hiring casual workers without the involvement of the County Service Board.

Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.

Get the latest summary of news in your email every morning. Subscribe below

* indicates required
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko