Supreme Court urged to dismiss Sonko impeachment review case

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (right). [Collins Kweyu, Standard

Three entities have asked the Supreme Court to dismiss an application by former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko who wants a review of judgment that affirmed his impeachment.

The Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Nairobi County all want the court to reject Sonko's claims, with the AG seeking him to pay the costs of the case.

The AG, through lawyer Paul Nyamodi, said the evidence Sonko says he wants to introduce was within his knowledge and ought to have been produced as part of his appeal.

“Even if the honourable court has the jurisdiction to entertain the instant application, the same does not meet the threshold for admission of new or additional evidence,” Nyamodi said.

"The appellant has not shown that the new and additional evidence could not have been obtained with reasonable diligence for use during the pendency of his petition of appeal, was not within his knowledge or could not have been produced at the time of the petition of appeal was pending."

The lawyer said the Supreme Court has no powers to review its judgment.

He said Sonko has not also shown that Chief Justice Martha Koome was biased during the hearing of the appeal.

“The seventh respondent prays that the notice of motion application dated July 18, 2022, be dismissed with costs,” Nyamodi said.

Sonko was a governor for Nairobi until December 17, 2020, when the County Assembly removed him from office through impeachment.

The Senate voted on 11 charges related to gross violation of the Constitution, abuse of office, gross misconduct, and crimes under national law against Sonko, and upheld his impeachment by the County Assembly of Nairobi.

After the impeachment, Sonko appealed the decision before the High Court arguing there was no quorum in the County Assembly when he was impeached.

He also complained that there was no public participation and that he was not given a chance, through his appointed lawyer, to rebut the allegations.

Sonko's lawyer argued that he was locked out of the County Assembly and that the number of MCAs who were present during his impeachment was also contestable.

He also argued that the public ought to have been invited to give their views before Senators voted on the decision by the County Assembly.

The case was opposed by the Senate, the County Assembly, Sonko’s successor Ann Kananu, IEBC and the AG.

The matter reached the Supreme Court, and now Sonko wants it to review its judgment that went against him. 

A seven-judge bench compromising CJ Koome, her deputy Philomena Mwilu and justices Mohamed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u, Isaac Lenaola, and William Ouko, unanimously agreed that the Nairobi County Assembly and the Senate followed the law when they impeached Sonko and upheld the impeachment, respectively, in December 2020.

“Chapter Six of the Constitution was not enacted in vain or for cosmetic reasons. The authority assigned to a State officer is a public trust to be exercised in a manner that demonstrates respect for the people, brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office, and promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office,” the Supreme Court judges said in their verdict.

"It vests in the State officer with the responsibility to serve the people rather than the power to rule them."