Reprieve for Sonko as orders stopping his clearance lifted

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko during an interview with Standard on April 24, 2022. [David Njaaga,]

The High Court on Monday granted former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and former Kiambu County executive Karungo Wa Thang’wa a reprieve after lifting orders barring the electoral commission from clearing them.

Justices David Majanja, Mugure Thande and Chacha Mwita lifted orders issued by their colleagues Justice Anthony Mrima and John Mativo, paving way for Sonko to vie for the Mombasa governor's seat.

The order now allows Sonko and Thang’wa, who is eyeing the Kiambu Senate seat, to face Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and present their papers for clearance.

In a ruling read by Justice Majanja, the three judges stated that the effect of the orders issued against Sonko and Thang’wa was to bar them from contesting without giving them a chance to argue their case.

“Since the orders were issued ex parte, this court has jurisdiction to review or set the orders aside. The effect of the ex parte orders is determined with finality the eligibility of the respondents as candidates of the respective positions,” said Justice Majanja. He continued: “We think every party has to be given an opportunity to be heard before adverse orders herein are issued.”

At the same time, the court found that the orders also barred the Wafula Chebukati-led commission from determining their eligibility to vie.

However, the court clarified that its orders were not a ticket for the IEBC to clear or reject nomination papers to be presented by the two.

“For the avoidance of doubt, these orders should not be construed as directing IEBC to accept or reject any nomination papers of candidates in these petitions,” said Majanja.

At the heart of the two cases is whether Sonko and Thang’wa are eligible to vie after they were impeached. In their replies to the cases filed against them, they argued that they should be given a chance to exhaust the appeal process before their fate is sealed.

The petition in Nairobi was filed by Mukidi Jwenge and Anderson Warui who claimed they are registered voters in Mombasa who will be affected should Sonko be allowed to contest after being impeached as Nairobi governor.