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Mike Sonko: High Court mishandled my impeachment case

NAIROBI
By Paul Ogemba | December 2nd 2021

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko fielding questions from journalists about his claims that the Judiciary is corrupt in his private office in Nairobi on November 23, 2021. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko has blamed his ouster on alleged illegalities committed by the county assembly and misinterpretation of the law by three High Court judges.

Sonko accused the High Court of upholding the decision to impeach him without considering the illegalities committed by the county assembly.

Through lawyers Wilfred Nyamu and Harrison Kinyanjui, Sonko maintained that he would still be the governor were it not for misinterpretation of the law and relying on unverified evidence by three judges.

“It cannot be taken casually that the people of Nairobi elected their governor who would then be removed from office without their involvement. His impeachment was tainted with illegalities from the beginning when they failed to give him a fair hearing,” said Nyamu.

The lawyers say the High Court failed to appreciate that there was no evidence to prove Sonko had engaged in gross misconduct and that the Senate had a predetermined mind to remove him from office without giving him a hearing.

High Court judges Said Chitembwe, Weldon Korir and Wilfrida Okwany on June 24 dismissed Sonko’s case in which the former county boss had challenged his impeachment.

The judges said his impeachment both at the county assembly and the Senate met the threshold.

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 Nyamu told Appellate judges Roseline Nambuye, Hannah Okwengu and Laibuta Kibaya that the High Court judges failed to address the constitutional violations of his rights and had a predetermined decision to reject his plea.

“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 leveled against him,” said Nyamu.

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

But lawyers representing the county assembly and the Senate defended the High Court decision, arguing that a proper process was followed and that the governor was given adequate time to defend himself but he declined to take up the opportunity.

“Sonko was given every reasonable opportunity to defend himself but he instead collected a few members and took them to Kwale where they opted to watch the proceedings on television instead of participating through the virtual link he was given,” said Duncan Okatch.

He added that Sonko should forget the seat and move on since there is no vacuum in the county’s leadership after Anne Kananu was sworn-in.

Ndegwa Njiru dismissed Sonko’s claims that there was no quorum at the county assembly when he was impeached arguing that the Hansard report proved there were more than 90 MCAs who participated in the impeachment debate.

Eric Theuri pleaded with the Appellate Court to consider the wellbeing of Nairobi residents who have been receiving quality services since Sonko’s ouster.

Senate lawyer Mercy Thanji asked the Court of Appeal not to overturn the decision and allow someone who has been found unfit to hold public office to take up duties of a governor.

Appellate Court will issue its judgment on March 4. 

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