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Supreme Court dismisses Sonko case, sets stage for Kananu swearing

By Paul Ogemba | November 9th 2021
Nairobi Deputy Governor Ann Kananu at the KICC grounds on Dec 15, 2020. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Nairobi Deputy Governor Ann Kananu is set to become the new county boss after the Supreme Court cleared the last hurdle that stopped her swearing-in.

The apex court dismissed an application by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko challenging Kananu’s appointment ruling that they have no jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

It lifted the order it issued 14 days ago stopping her from assuming office.

“The court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the appeal given that his main appeal at the Court of Appeal challenging his impeachment has not been heard,” ruled the judges.

The Supreme Court decision marked the end of the road for Sonko who launched a legal fightback not only to stop Kananu from succeeding him but also to quash the proceedings that lead to his impeachment in December last year.

It was also a final breakthrough for Kananu to become the first female Nairobi governor after enduring the controversy that surrounded her appointment.

In January 2020, Sonko nominated her as his deputy and forwarded her name to the County Assembly for vetting.

However before the assembly could vet her, a Nairobi resident challenged the nomination which led to a court order stopping the assembly from vetting and approving her nomination.

Kananu remained in the cold until December 18 last year when Sonko was impeached and the court lifted the order that barred the assembly from vetting and approving her nomination.

She was subsequently vetted, approved, and sworn-in as deputy governor but as she was preparing to take over as governor, Sonko moved to the High Court and obtained orders stopping the oath.

In June, High Court Judges Said Chitembwe, Weldon Korir and Wilfrida Okwany dismissed the application and set the stage for Kananu’s swearing-in as governor.

The judges ruled that it was Sonko to blame for his mistake when he nominated Kananu only to purport to revoke the nomination when he had already been impeached.

They also dismissed the ex-governor’s petition challenging his impeachment, ruling that both the County Assembly and the Senate complied with all statutory provisions for impeaching a governor.

Sonko appealed against the decision and got a temporary order barring Kananu from assuming office pending determination of the application.

But Appellate court Judges Wanjiru Karanja, Jamila Mohamed and Jessie Lessit last month dismissed Sonko’s case and lifted the order that stopped Kananu’s swearing.

The judges ruled that Kananu’s swearing has no nexus with Sonko’s appeal against his impeachment and that he can still pursue the appeal to be compensated should the court find that he was illegally impeached.

But the ex-governor moved to the Supreme Court arguing that allowing Kananu to assume office will deny him a chance to lead the people of Nairobi who elected him in 2017 and has expectation that he will remain their governor until 2022.

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