Blow for Mike Sonko as Supreme Court seals impeachment case

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. [David Njaaga, Standard]

The Supreme Court has ruled that former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was fairly removed from office in December 2020.

Sonko is eyeing the Mombasa gubernatorial seat in the August 9, 2022 General Election.

One of the key qualifications for one to seek an elective seat is that the aspirant must not have been found guilty of abusing or misusing State or public office or contravened Chapter Six of the Constitution.

“Chapter Six of the Constitution was not enacted in vain or for cosmetic reasons. The authority assigned to a State officer is a public trust to 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. It vests in the State officer the responsibility to serve the people, rather than the power to rule them,” the Supreme Court judges said in their ruling on Friday, July 15.

However, the aspirant could be cleared to run if he or she has not exhausted all the appeal avenues.

In Sonko’s case, he has exhausted all the appeal routes, given his impeachment case was determined by the Supreme Court, Kenya’s highest court, on Friday.

“To qualify for the position of the county governor in Kenya (or deputy governor), you must not have been found to have abused or misused state or public office or contravened Chapter Six of the Constitution; and not have been dismissed or removed from public office for contravening the provisions of Articles 75 (Conduct of State officers), 76 (Financial probity of State officers), 77 (Restriction on activities of State officers) and 78 (Citizenship and leadership) of the Constitution,” says the Constitution.

It’s now upon the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to make the call on whether Sonko, whom they had on Thursday, July 14 cleared to run, will be on the ballot.

If the electoral agency okays Sonko’s candidature, the greenlight could be challenged in court, given Sonko has now exhausted all his appeal options.

"The impeachment proceedings [against Mike Sonko] before the County Assembly and the Senate were properly conducted in accordance with Article 181 of the Constitution, Section 33 of the County Governments Act and Standing Orders of the Assembly and the Senate," the Supreme Court ruled.

Sonko had recently been cleared by the Mombasa High Court to run for office.

The former county chief is seeking to succeed Ali Hassan Joho as Mombasa’s second governor.

Sonko had been cleared to vie on Wiper Party ticket, deputised by Kisauni Member of Parliament Ali Mbogo.

The two have since been issued with clearance certificates by the IEBC.

Will the certificates be revoked?