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Embattled Nairobi Governor Sonko faces fresh ouster bid

By Japheth Ogila and Josphat Thiong'o | November 26th 2020 at 17:17:30 GMT +0300

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. [File, Standard]

Embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is facing another battle to keep his seat after the MCAs tabled a notice of impeachment motion against him on Thursday.

A total of 86 MCAs from both Jubilee and ODM have so far appended the signatures on the notice. This is above the 42 signatures required as the minimum threshold to jumpstart the ouster process.

Minority Leader Michael Ogada who filed the notice of the motion has mentioned various grounds for the removal of the governor. Some of them include abuse of office and violation of the Constitution.

Sonko now has one week to respond to the allegations levelled against him failure to which the assembly will proceed with the debate on the ouster motion and if approved, the matter will be taken up by the Senate.

This will be the third attempt by the lawmakers to kick out the county chief whose troubles are compounded by a frosty relationship with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Major General Mohammed Badi.

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Sonko first survived an impeachment scare in December 2019, when the then Minority leader David Mberia prevailed upon his Jubilee counterparts, led by the Majority Leader Abdi Guyo to drop the ouster plans.

ODM MCAs managed to spare Sonko after they were persuaded by the party to hold their horses on the matter. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji had directed that the governor be charged in Sh357 million graft case. This paved way for the lawmakers to hatch impeachment plans on the basis of incompetence and violation of the law.

On February 20, 2020, Makongeni Member of County Assembly Peter Imwatok filed an impeachment motion against the governor, citing incompetence, violation of the law and failure to appoint a deputy hence paralysing operations of the county.

He also accused the governor of failing to clear county debts hence ashaming the office of the governor.  But this could not see the light of day. Sonko reportedly hosted 53 MCAs at his Upper Hill office in Nairobi. According to the sources which spoke to Standard at the time, the main intention was to ensure that no quorum would exist to push the impeachment motion. This happened despite the fact that 60 out of 85 MCAs overwhelmingly supported the motion.

Uhuru came through

Having been barred from the office by the court, Sonko was using his Upper Hill office to run the county. He got a reprieve on March 2, 2020, when the High Court stopped his impeachment motion as the judge ruled that there was a failure to adhere to the due process. President Uhuru Kenyatta then moved to save Sonko by urging the MCAs to renege on their plans.

The President’s advice managed to diffuse the heated political environment in the county but failed to exhaustively silence dissenters into submission.

"I'm not going to toe the line or get arm-twisted. In fact, I will be the one seconding the motion. I don't understand why the President is supporting a corrupt person," said MCA Michael Ogada.

Same sentiments were shared by Woodley MCA Mwangi Njihia, who supported the motion as a show of commitment to ‘fighting against corruption.’

"The President didn't convince me on why I should not impeach Sonko. I am, therefore, in support of Mr Imwatok 100 per cent, and I will support the motion on Tuesday,” he said.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko MCAs Impeachment
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