Anne Kananu will not be Nairobi governor just yet, declares court

Deputy Governor Nairobi County Ann Kananu [Samson Wire, Standard]

The Court of Appeal has issued orders stopping Nairobi deputy governor Anne Kananu’s swearing in as the city county’s first female governor.

Appellate Judges Wanjiru Karanja, Jamila Mohamed and Jessie Lessit issued the orders stopping Kananu’s assumption to the governor’s office following an appeal by her former boss, Mike Sonko, who challenged a High Court decision that dismissed his claim for reinstatement to office.

“An order is hereby issued restraining anybody or any State organ from swearing in the deputy governor as Governor for Nairobi City County. She is also restrained from performing any duty reserved for a substantive governor,” ruled the judges.

By moving to the Court of Appeal, Sonko has declared his intention of not going down without a big fight, which has again left the city in limbo.

Just like his days as governor when he ruled the capital for several months without a deputy after the resignation of Polycarp Igathe, the tides have now turned and the county is being governed by a deputy without a governor.

In his appeal filed through lawyer Wilfred Nyamu, Sonko argued that the High Court erred by failing to reinstate him in office when he provided sufficient evidence to prove that his impeachment last December was unconstitutional and illegal.

“The High Court judges took into account irrelevant matters, made contradictory findings and showed open bias against Sonko and in the end arrived at a wrong decision that should be overturned by the Court of Appeal,” said Nyamu.

High Court judges Said Chitembwe, Weldon Korir and Wilfrida Okwany on June 24 dismissed Sonko’s case which challenged his impeachment on account that the impeachment both at the County Assembly and the Senate met the required threshold.

According to the judges, Sonko shot himself in the foot and tried to run away from the mess he created himself when it was too late to undo the damage by nominating Kananu and failing to behave in a manner expected of a governor.

They ruled that Sonko’s actions which led to the impeachment did not portray good governance expected of a state officer and that they cannot fault the county assembly or the Senate for impeaching him when there was overwhelming evidence that he had violated the constitution.

But Sonko in his appeal argued that the judges failed to address the constitutional violations of his rights and had a predetermined decision to reject his plea to be reinstated.

“The judges failed to objectively assess his evidence and objections to the purported impeachment. They proceeded to castigate and condemn him as the maker of his own problems and found him guilty of the unsubstantiated charges levelled against him,” said Nyamu.

He added that the judges made a mistake by failing to determine whether Sonko’s impeachment met the threshold and whether the allegations of misconduct raised by the county assembly were proved.

According to Nyamu, the High Court judges also failed to consider that there was no public participation prior to Sonko’s impeachment and misinterpreted the facts that were presented before the court.

Sonko wants the Appellate Court to overturn the High Court decision and declare that he was illegally impeached.