Fresh Sonko impeachment bid gathers momentum

Governor Mike Sonko

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Minority Leader Michael Ogada promises to table evidence to support the grounds for Sonko's ouster.
  • This is the second time the MCAs are trying to impeach Mr Sonko after the first attempt in February aborted. 

A phone call from State House and a meeting at ODM party leader Raila Odinga’s Capitol Hill office sealed the fate of beleaguered Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, setting in motion a fresh plan to remove him from office.

The second impeachment bid has been a long time coming, with sources saying it was only a matter of when and not if there would be another move against the former Makadara MP.

According to multiple sources who spoke to the Nation, Mr Sonko crossed the red line through constant actions aimed at frustrating the operations of the newly-formed Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

This includes denying the NMS funds. His recent barefaced attacks on President Uhuru Kenyatta were the last straw, the sources added.

Plans to impeach Mr Sonko were mooted early this month, but it was not until the meeting at Capitol Hill on Tuesday between the county assembly leadership and Mr Odinga that things were firmed up. This was after the President reportedly asked the Jubilee leadership at the assembly to meet the former premier to tighten the plan.

Signature collection

“The process began on Sunday evening following a call from State House the day before. The reason given was his refusal to work with NMS Director-General Mohammed Badi and his constant abuse of the President,” said a Jubilee MCA who sought anonymity.

Majority Whip Paul Kados and Deputy Majority Leader Peter Wanyoike were tasked to lead signature collection on the Jubilee side while Minority Whip Peter Imwatok and his deputy Moses Ogeto were to lead the ODM wing.

The Capitol Hill meeting led to the return of Assembly Clerk Edward Gichana, who has been missing from the assembly since July, in what is billed as an all-out plan to rally support across the political divide for Mr Sonko’s ouster.

Mr Gichana made a comeback to the assembly on Wednesday, ahead of a notice of an impeachment motion that was moved by Majority Leader Michael Ogada yesterday.

“Gichana enjoys support from the ODM wing and a substantive clerk must be present for the impeachment process to legal,” said an ODM ward rep.

He said Governor Sonko’s goose was cooked when he refused to append his signature to the county’s Sh37.5 billion budget, which allocated the NMS Sh27.1 billion.

Moving the motion yesterday, Mr Ogada laid four grounds, including gross violation of the Constitution and other laws, abuse of office, committing a crime under national and international laws and lacking the physical and mental capability to run the county government.

By-election

The motion was signed by 86 MCAs out of the 122. Only 42 are needed to ratify it.  Mr Ogada said he will, on Thursday next week, table evidence to support the grounds.

Mr Imwatok said Speaker Benson Mutura will serve the governor with the notice of motion detailing the grounds for his removal, after which Mr Sonko will be given seven days to deliver his defence before the impeachment motion is tabled on Thursday next week.

If the censure motion is passed by two-thirds of the assembly (82 out of the 122 ward reps) Speaker Mutura shall 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 the ouster is successful, Speaker Mutura will act as Nairobi’s governor for 90 days before a by-election is called.

 comulo@ke.nationmedia.com

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