Since 1902

Mombasa High Court stops IEBC from clearing Mike Sonko

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has been temporarily stopped from processing nomination papers for Mike Mbuvi Sonko to vie for Mombasa governor seat.

Justice John Mativo today issued the orders stopping IEBC from clearing Sonko for August 9 elections pending the hearing and determination of an application by Haki Yetu, Kituo Cha Sheria and Transparency International who want Sonko disqualified from contesting.

“That pending the hearing and determination of the application and or further directions of this court, I order that the IEBC be and is hereby restrained from processing Sonko’s nomination papers to contest and vie for the office of the Governor Mombasa County pending hearing and determination of this application,” said Justice Mativo.

On May 16, 2022 Eldoret High Court forwarded one of the three petition files seeking to stop Sonko from vying for Mombasa governorship to the Chief Justice.

Justice Reuben Nyakundi directed that the three petitions filed in Mombasa, Nairobi and Eldoret be placed before Chief Justice Martha Koome to decide if they will be consolidated and transferred to Mombasa.

In Nairobi, the impeachment case against Sonko is pending at the Supreme Court.

In Mombasa, two petitioners, Ndoro Kaguya and George Odhiambo, also filed a petition before Justice Mativo seeking conservatory orders stopping IEBC from clearing Sonko.

However, Sonko, through his lawyer Jared Magolo and Gikandi Ngibuini, applied to have the matter transferred to Mombasa and be consolidated with the Mombasa petition.

Sonko told Justice John Mativo that IEBC is the one vested with the mandate to determine his eligibility to vie for a political seat or not.

On Wednesday, Kituo Cha Sheria, through its advocate Grace Okumu, said the election calendar is time bound and IEBC is likely to clear Sonko and have his name in the ballot paper for election into office of Mombasa governor seat.

“IEBC is likely to approve and clear Sonko to vie in the race for which he has been nominated by the Wiper party if the interim order is not granted and this case dealt with expeditiously,” said Okumu.

She said that Sonko was removed from office for violating the Constitution and failing to promote public confidence and integrity in the office of the governor.

Okumu said Sonko, having been found unsuitable to hold the office of the Governor of Nairobi City County, is equally unsuitable to hold any other state office.

The civil societies have sued Sonko, the Wiper party and IEBC.

Sonko is facing two other petitions in Mombasa and Eldoret, with both seeking to stop him from vying for Mombasa’s top job.

“The Constitution provides that the authority assigned to a state officer is that of public trust and must be exercised in a manner that demonstrates respect for the people, brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office, and promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office,” said Okumu.

She said violations of these principles do not necessarily have to be criminal in nature.

Haki Yetu advocate Munira Ali said that despite being disqualified by Article 75 (3) of the Constitution from holding state office, Sonko has expressed his intention to contest the Mombasa governor’s seat and has been nominated by Wiper.

Ali said the petitioners posit that by nominating Sonko, Wiper violated the Constitution.

“IEBC is likely to approve and clear Sonko to run for the position of Governor Mombasa since he has already been nominated by Wiper party and his name submitted to IEBC in further perpetration of Constitutional violations and a real threat to petitioners’ Constitutional rights,” said Ali.

Both the petitioners denied that only a final conviction can bar a contestant from occupying public office.

Ali said that Sonko’s contestation is a mockery of the Constitution and the rule of law.

“It is an insult to the people of Mombasa to be presented with a person who was removed from the office of governor as a candidate to run for the same office in the county,” said Ali.

She said that in the likely event the Supreme Court upholds the Senate’s decision impeaching Sonko, there is no clarity as to whether he will continue in office until deposed by the County Assembly and Senate again or will automatically leave office.

The case will be heard on May 24, 2022.