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Court forwards petition seeking to bar Sonko's governorship bid

Mombasa County Governor aspirant Mike Mbuvi Sonko accompanied by Wiper Party leader, Kalonzo Musyoka during a rally in Changamwe, Mombasa on May 6, 2022. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

The High Court in Eldoret has forwarded one of the three petitions seeking to stop Mike Sonko from vying for the 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.

Sonko, through his lawyers Mr Jared Magolo and Mr Gikandi Ngibuini, applied to have the matter transferred to Mombasa and consolidated with a petition there.

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

Sonko had last month argued that the High Court in Mombasa lacked jurisdiction to hear the petition seeking to bar him from contesting for the Mombasa governor’s seat. He told Justice John Mativo that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was the one vested with the mandate to determine his eligibility to vie for a political seat.

Sonko asked the court to strike out the petition filed by Mr Ndoro Kaguya and Mr George Odhiambo seeking conservatory orders stopping IEBC from clearing him to run for the governorship.

Mr Kaguya has since applied to withdraw the petition against the wishes of Mr Odhiambo.

The petitioners said Sonko was on December 17, 2020, removed from the office of Nairobi City Governor by way of impeachment for violating and contravening, inter alia, Article 75 (1) (c) of the Constitution because he behaved in a manner that demeaned the office of a county governor.

Mr Kaguya said Sonko was disqualified from holding any other state office, including the office of the Governor of Mombasa County by virtue of Article 75 (3).

In a sworn affidavit, Mr Kaguya said the impeachment was upheld by the High Court and Court of Appeal on the basis that it was lawful and procedurally fair.

The petitioners averred that there could be no regular elections in instances such as the present one, where the candidate to be elected was not qualified for the office he sought.

Mr Odhiambo, through lawyer Mr Willis Oluga, said Mr Kaguya could not stop the petition from proceeding, but was at liberty to withdraw from the petition and let him proceed with the same.

Meanwhile, police in Mombasa on Monday summoned Sonko over the chaos witnessed during the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya rally at the Mkomani showground on Saturday.

Sonko, who spent the better part of the day at police headquarters in Mombasa, is said to have recorded a statement about the chaos that left people injured.

Wiper Mombasa chairperson Sheikh Twaha Omar said Sonko was not arrested as alleged, but “had just been summoned and recorded his statement.”

“Sonko is with the police but he has not been arrested. He was here since morning at 8 am and he is only shedding more light on what happened at Mkomani showground, especially after one person claimed to have been injured by Sonko’s gun. Since the matter is still under investigation and our governor candidate has recorded his statement, he will not be addressing the press over the same,” said Mr Twaha.

He said changes on the venue of the rally were not communicated, and that the Wiper leaders knew about it when it was late.

“Everyone knew the rally was to take place at Tononoka grounds and our supporters, who we had mobilised, gathered at Tononoka grounds only to be told the venue had been changed to Bilima grounds. We did not give up and went to Bilima, only to be told the rally is at the Mkomani showground. The changes of the venue without communication was an indirect message that it was an ODM rally and not an Azimio-Oka rally as popularised, and we have bowed out of the said Azimio. The Wiper Party is now going on its own from the top seat downwards,” Mr Twaha told The Standard.