Glimmer of hope for Sonko at East African court

Mombasa gubernatorial aspirant Mike Mbuvi Sonko

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The East African Court of Justice has constituted a five-judge bench to hear a case filed by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko against the decision of Kenya’s Supreme Court to uphold his impeachment.

The case has also been fixed for hearing in an open court on March 27, 2023, at the East African Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania.

The judges on the bench are Justice Yohane Masara — Principal Judge, Justice Dr Charles Nyawello, Justice Richard Muhumuza, Justice Richard Wabwire Wejuli and Justice Dr Gacuko Leonard.

Kenya’s Attorney-General Justin Muturi is listed as a respondent in the case.

Mr Sonko moved to the regional court after the Supreme Court of Kenya ruled that he was properly removed from office.

The apex court led by Chief Justice Martha Koome said Mr Sonko was properly removed from office since the impeachment proceedings before the County Assembly and the Senate were properly conducted.

Irresistible conclusion

“We come to the irresistible conclusion that the impeachment of the appellant (Sonko) was in compliance with the Constitution and the law. We, therefore, find no merit in the Petition of Appeal. It bears mentioning in conclusion that Chapter Six of the Constitution was not enacted in vain or for cosmetic reasons,” ruled the Supreme Court judges.

But Mr Sonko, in his case at the regional court, claims that the actions by the Kenyan courts were in breach of Articles 6 (d); and 7 (2); of the Treaty of the Establishment of the East African Community "in that he has been discriminated against and has been selectively persecuted".

"Sonko was gravely and fundamentally aggrieved by the decision of the Supreme Court of Kenya and in the manner in which the said court, and the courts below (High Court and Court of Appeal) conducted the said proceedings contrary to the rule of law and the rules of natural justice with the resultant effect of a grave injustice and miscarriage of justice being visited upon him," reads the court papers.

"His fundamental political rights and freedoms were illegally, unlawfully, and unjustifiably curtailed over a flawed judicial process tainted and marred by illegalities, lack of transparency, lack of accountability and failure to adhere to the rule of law," his lawyers said.

They added that the decision by the Supreme Court and the lower courts was arrived at unjustly and the effect was to curtail the political rights of Mr Sonko and the people he represented.