NAIROBI, KENYA: The Liberal Democratic Party has expressed dissatisfaction with recent happenings in regards to the Nairobi County by-election and current political temperature in the country ahead of general elections next year.
The party said a standoff that centers on whether to have a by-election or not Nairobi is misplaced in terms of the letter and spirit of the constitution.
“Under article 185(20) of the Constitution, an election shall be held within 60 days after the speaker assumes the office of the governor. The power to postpone elections is only granted to the IEBC and no other body which has the jurisdiction to postpone the elections,” said the party Executive Director Nixon Kimeta.
“The decision by the court to postpone the election gives the basis for wrong jurisprudential precedence which in the future may be exploited to achieve expedient interests,” he added.
He also noted that since the speaker must step down after 60 days, there must be an elected governor to take over. However, in the case of the acting governor stepping down, the deputy governor cannot take over since he or she had to be appointed by the authority of the exiting governor.
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“The theatrics of vetting and swearing in the deputy governor is simply absurd and tantamount to abuse of office,” he claimed.
The Nairobi County boss seat fell vacant following the impeachment of Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko late last year.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of four charges brought against the governor which include gross violation of the constitution, abuse of office, misconduct, and crimes against national law.
High Court has since barred Nairobi County Deputy Governor Anne Kananu from assuming the top seat.
Justice Anthony Mrima ordered that Kananu should not be sworn-in as the Governor of Nairobi County until a petition filed by the Law Society of Kenya challenging her vetting and approval as the deputy governor is heard and determined.
“Pending the hearing and determination of the application, a temporary injunction is hereby issued restraining anyone from swearing-in Anne Kananu Mwenda as the Governor of Nairobi City County,” ruled Mrima.
The judge said the petition also raised substantial constitutional questions on whether Kananu should become the city’s governor and sent the file to acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu to appoint a Bench of three judges to determine it.
Kananu was set to be sworn-in as the new governor of Nairobi following her vetting and subsequent swearing-in as deputy governor, but the LSK filed the petition to revoke her approval by the Nairobi County Assembly on grounds that it was illegal and unconstitutional.
Through lawyer Peter Wanyama, the society instead wants the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ordered to conduct a fresh by-election for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat as had been planned, to allow Nairobi residents to elect a governor of their choice to succeed impeached Mike Sonko.
“The hurried swearing-in of Kananu without regard to the Constitution was a calculated move to avoid a by-election in Nairobi. This undermined the right of the people of Nairobi to elect a governor and deputy governor of their choice,” said Wanyama.
The case will be heard on January 28.
LDP candidate for the Nairobi Governor race Denise Kodhe said Kenya is bigger than few individuals and it was time Kenyans were given time to elect leaders of preferred choice irrespective of political parties and affiliation.
“Time has now come for us to understand that political parties who shift positions merely because of the political convenience of the day, cannot be trusted to lead and manage the affairs of the whole nation,” he said.
“What is required in our considered view, are statesmanship and pragmatism so that Kenya as a country can move forward.”