Motion on Sonko’s ouster to be tabled at city assembly

Nairobi MCAs

Some of the MCAs who are at the Coast with Governor Mike Sonko as he tries to scuttle an impeding impeachment motion.

Photo credit: Collins Omulo | Nation Media Group

The ouster motion against Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko will be tabled before the county assembly today (Thursday).

This comes even as the City Hall boss shepherded dozens of MCAs to Mombasa in a scheme aimed at scuttling the motion.

At least 38 MCAs allied to the governor left Nairobi for Mombasa on Monday evening, soon after a chaotic press briefing at Riverside in Nairobi, where they vowed to defeat the impeachment motion facing Sonko.

According to multiple sources who spoke to the Nationthe county legislators have been operating in three places in Mombasa and Kwale counties in a bid not to be easily located.

The pro-Sonko ward representatives have been moving from one hideout to another as they wait for the D-Day.

Sonko’s private residence in Ukunda and Diani Beach Resort, Kwale County, Salama Bling Beach Resort and English Point Marina — both in Mombasa County — have played host to the MCAs as the governor ring-fences the ward representatives.

Keeping close eye on MCAs

“The MCAs on Monday evening went straight to Ukunda after leaving Nairobi. On Tuesday, one section proceeded to English Point Marina while another went to Salama Bling Beach Resort. They will then head back to Ukunda ahead of Thursday’s D-day. The whole point of hopping from one place to another is to avoid being tracked,” said the source who requested anonymity.

Another source confirmed that the MCAs are in Mombasa where the governor is keeping a close eye on them and moving them from one place to another to avoid being tracked by the police for fear of a repeat of the ugly scenes witnessed at Riverside in Nairobi when the police disrupted a similar meeting.

The source added that Governor Sonko has chosen to be together with the MCAs so as to monitor their movements and communication, as well as how they will virtually vote today (Thursday), to avoid being betrayed.

“They have, together with the governor, chosen to keep the identity of their location a secret so as to avoid being tracked. The idea of going to Mombasa is to ensure that their votes are not manipulated in favour of the ouster motion,” said the source.

“They want to make it clear and prove to Sonko that they did not vote to impeach him because the governor and his team will be monitoring how they vote,” added the source.

The intricate plan is part of a plot by Governor Sonko to shoot down his impending impeachment motion should it be tabled at the assembly.

The plot is reminiscent of one by former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu who also took MCAs to Naivasha in a bid to scuttle his ouster before eventually biting the dust.

Two-thirds majority

The scheme is aimed at denying the assembly the required two-thirds majority vote that will see Sonko removed as Nairobi’s second governor. 

The MCAs who are with Sonko have switched off their phones and have been unreachable for three days now.

For the censure motion to succeed, 82 MCAs out of the 122 at the assembly need to vote in favour of it. On Thursday last week, a total of 86 MCAs, 47 from ODM and 39 from Jubilee, appended their signatures to the notice of impeachment motion. 

However, the number has now reduced to 119 MCAs after three pro-Sonko MCAs — Ann Thumbi, Silvia Museiya and Millicent Jagero – were on Tuesday suspended by the Jubilee Party for three months, meaning they will not be able to vote. This now means the required threshold is now 80 MCAs.

According to the governor’s camp, they are assured that at least 67 MCAs are on their side, which will mean that the motion by Minority Leader Michael Ogada will be defeated.

Imara Daima MCA Kennedy Obuya said Sonko “is going nowhere” as he has the support of more than half of the MCAs at the assembly, accusing supporters of the motion of advancing selfish interests.

“I can tell you without fear or favour that the impeachment will flop as it lacks blessings from either of our top party leaders. There is no party position concerning the impeachment as our party leader has not told us anything on the same,” said the ODM MCA. 

Another ODM MCA, who spoke on condition of anonymity, accused their leaders at the assembly of coercion to have them sign the motion but also said the governor is “going nowhere”.

“I can tell you that I only signed because I was under pressure as are many of my counterparts but I have my stand which I will exercise today,” he said.

Trip to Dubai

Last year in December, fearing that an impeachment motion against him was about to be introduced after his arrest and subsequently being barred from his City Hall office, Governor Sonko hatched a plan to fly out 18 MCAs to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a bid to frustrate any impeachment plan.

Deputy Minority Whip Moses Ogeto, however, said they are still determined to send Sonko home and that this will be manifested through the debate of the motion today.

“I do not see a big fuss where the MCAs will be voting from as the assembly has given members the option of voting virtually using zoom in adherence to the current Covid-19 measures,” said Mr Ogeto.

On his part, Minority Whip Peter Imwatok put up a brave face, saying that as far as he knows, no ODM MCA is in Mombasa as he has been keeping tabs on his members.

“I don’t know any member of ODM who is in Mombasa. All ODM MCAs are in Nairobi and I have spoken to them one by one. Maybe those from the Jubilee faction are the ones in Mombasa,” he said. 

The Nation has learnt that Sonko, as a last option, has begun engaging senators allied to Deputy President William Ruto to save him in case the motion sails through at the county assembly.

Governor Sonko is facing four grounds for his removal from office, including gross violation of the Constitution and other laws, abuse of office, committing a crime under national and international laws, and lacking the mental capacity to run the county government.

If the censure motion succeeds, Speaker Benson Mutura will then inform the Speaker of the Senate of that resolution within two days.

The matter will then be taken over by the Senate provided the governor does not go to court to challenge his impeachment if it happens.

If the resolution is upheld by the Senate, then Speaker Mutura will act as Nairobi governor for 60 days before a by-election is called.


comulo@ke.nationmedia.com

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