Governor Mike Sonko impeached

 Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. [File, Standard]

Nairobi County Assembly has impeached Governor Mike Sonko in a vote that saw 88 MCAs out of 122 in favour of the ouster motion.

Two Members of the County Assembly opposed the vote while twenty others abstained.

This is despite a court declining to lift orders stopping the impeachment. Governor Sonko had petitioned the High Court to stop the ouster, arguing it was illegal and unconstitutional.

Justice James Rika on Thursday ruled that Sonko will be prejudiced if he is impeached before his case is determined.

The net effect of the impeachment in disregard of the court order would be it declared illegal.

Speaker Benson Mutura chaired the session which needed at least 82 MCAs to vote in favour of the impeachment motion.

This is as over 40 MCAs allied to Sonko, who were holed up in Diani, Kwale County, say the voting was fraudulent because they were logged into assembly's system even when their mobile phones were off.

They said the 'fraud' was in the form of being logged into the assembly's e-voting system and "voting" for Sonko's impeachment against their wish.

One of them said they had reported the 'fraud' to Diani police and shared with Standard Digital an OB No.

Governor Sonko had been working behind the scenes to scuttle the impeachment and had flown the MCAs to the Coast to strategize on how to defeat the motion.

A source intimated to The Standard that the idea was to deny the Assembly a crucial two-thirds majority vote and consequently shoot down the impeachment motion, which was to be conducted virtually.

"They want to abstain from voting either 'Yes' or 'No' thus making it clear to the governor that they are loyal. The governor and his team will be monitoring to see if and how they vote,” said the source.

However, the move flopped as 58 MCAs were present in the chambers with the others logging in virtually. The House needed 42 MCAs to achieve a quorum.

The motion to remove Sonko from office was moved by Minority Leader Michael Ogada.

The ward reps accused the governor of gross violation of the law, misuse of office and inability to run the county government.

They said Sonko had failed to approve a Sh37.4 billion budget to facilitate the operations undertaken by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

Ogada also listed the irregular awarding of a Sh1.5 billion tender for construction of stadia, among them Dandora Stadium, as a ground for Sonko’s impeachment.

This is, however, not the first time that the governor is dealing with an impeachment. Last December, a similar ouster motion was tabled by MCA Peter Imwatok.

Earlier this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta intervened and prevailed on MCAs to shelve the ouster plans to allow the deed of transfer agreement to be implemented.

Speaker Benson Mutura, while giving his communication to the House, said the earlier impeachment motion had been rendered null because it was not debated within the stipulated legal timeframe. 

Additional reporting by Hillary Orinde