Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has been impeached.
Sonko lost his seat on Thursday night after majority of the senators voted to uphold all the four charges levelled against him by city MCAs.
Some 27 legislators voted in favour of each of the charges thus surpassing the Constitutional threshold of 24 votes needed to remove the governor from office.
Sixteen senators voted to oppose each of the charges with two lawmakers – Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni) and Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) – opting to abstain from the vote.
The embattled governor was accused of gross violation of the constitution or any other law, abuse of office, gross misconduct and crimes under national law.
Sonko becomes the second governor to be impeached by the senators after Martin Wambora (Embu) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu).
However, Wambora escaped impeachment after the courts quashed his removal.
Waititu, on the other hand, failed to secure an injunction and was successfully removed from office.
Sonko’s impeachment implies that Nairobi assembly speaker Benson Mutura will assume the office of the governor in an acting capacity, pending a by-election in 60 days.
Sonko has been running the county government with a deputy after Polycarp Igathe resigns in January 2018.
“[Impeachment] is a constitutional duty of the senate to take up this matter… we cannot be intimated…. We have listened. Senators paid keen attention to the presentations and everybody has been given a chance to be heard,” he said.
He added, “This is a time of reckoning. Time has come to put it to a vote. I want to encourage members that this is your duty and you have to act.”
While seconding the motion, Minority leader James Orengo said the grounds for impeaching governor only requires the MCAs to show that the grounds were believable.
“The constitution says a governor can be impeached where there are reasons to believe (that he breached the grounds…. not to have been found … the standard of proof is very different… it is a political question,” he said.
Narok senator Ledama Ole Kina opposed the ouster motion, saying that MCAs had not substantiated their case against the governor.
“We were told bursary money was diverted to pay lawyers. But the lawyers who spoke for the governor spoke differently. We were given here documents from central bank,” he said.
“..…it was a very tough time for devolution. If we agreed to violate Article 197 of the Constitution……We will be doing a disservice,” he added.
Senators Christopher Langat (Bomet), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Enoch Wambua (Kitui) and Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho) rejected Sonko’s impeachment.
Langat claimed the MCAs did not follow legal procedure when impeaching Sonko.
“If we are not careful as a house, irregularities that are happening in county assemblies will be replicated in this house.”
“This house may become a lynching ground for the MCAs……. Governor are in fear… if only we could send back this motion to the MCAs,” he said.
Murkomen claimed Sonko’s impeachment was state sponsored.
“This is about power. It is about transfer of functions. It is about NMS. It is about competition interest especially commercial,” he said.
In the particulars of the charges, MCAs accused Sonko of using taxpayers’ money to fly her daughter first class to New York, US, diverting millions of shillings meant for bursaries and repairing city roads and molesting executives.
But the county chief refuted all the claims, terming them political, only meant to assassinate his character.
Source: The star