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Court blocks IEBC from clearing Sonko to contest

By Joackim Bwana | May 20th 2022 | 3 min read
By Joackim Bwana | May 20th 2022
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has been stopped from processing Mr Mike Sonko’s nomination papers to vie for Mombasa governor’s seat.

Yesterday, Justice John Mativo issued the orders stopping IEBC from clearing Mr Sonko for the August 9 elections, pending the hearing and determination of an application by Haki Yetu, Kituo Cha Sheria and Transparency International.

The organisations want Sonko disqualified.

“That pending the hearing and determination of the application and or further directions of this court, I order that the IEBC be and is hereby restrained from processing Sonko’s nomination papers to vie for the office of the governor Mombasa County,” said Justice Mativo.

On May 16, the High Court in Eldoret forwarded one of the three petition files, seeking to stop Sonko from vying for Mombasa governor to the Chief Justice.

Justice Reuben Nyakundi directed the three petitions filed in Mombasa, Nairobi and Eldoret be placed before Chief Justice Martha Koome to decide if they will be consolidated and transferred to Mombasa.

In Nairobi, an impeachment case against Sonko is pending at the Supreme Court.

In Mombasa two petitioners, Ndoro Kaguya and George Odhiambo filed the petition before Justice Mativo, seeking conservatory orders stopping IEBC from clearing Sonko.

Mr Sonko through his lawyers Jared Magolo and Gikandi Ngibuini applied to have the matter transferred to Mombasa and be consolidated with the Mombasa petition.

Mr Sonko told Justice Mativo that IEBC has the mandate to determine his eligibility.

On Wednesday, Kituo Cha Sheria, through lawyer Grace Okumu, said the election calendar is time bound, and IEBC is likely to clear Sonko.

“IEBC is likely to clear Sonko if the interim order is not granted and this case dealt with expeditiously,” said Okumu.

She said Mr Sonko was removed from office for violating the Constitution and failing to promote public confidence and integrity in the office of the governor.

Okumu said Mr Sonko having been found unsuitable to hold the office of the Governor of Nairobi City County, he is equally unsuitable to hold any other state office. 

The civil societies have sued Sonko, the Wiper Party and IEBC.

Mr Sonko is facing two other petitions in Mombasa and Eldoret, with both seeking to stop him from vying for Mombasa’s top job.

“The Constitution provides that the authority assigned to a state officer is that of public trust and must be exercised in a manner that demonstrates respect for the people, brings honour to the nation, and promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office,” said Okumu.

She said violations of these principles do not necessarily have to be criminal in nature.

Haki Yetu advocate Munira Ali said despite being disqualified by Article 75 (3) of the Constitution from holding state office, Sonko has expressed his intention to contest the Mombasa governor’s seat and has been nominated by Wiper.

Ali said the petitioners posit that by nominating Sonko, Wiper violated the Constitution.

Ali said Mr Sonko’s move is a mockery of the Constitution and the rule of law. “It is an insult to the people of Mombasa to be presented with a person who was removed from the office of governor,” said Ali.

The case is set for hearing on May 24.

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