What you need to know:
- Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, said he wonders if the Judiciary is divided into pro and anti-handshake groups.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen criticised the exercise, pointing the finger at the Judiciary.
The Friday swearing-in of Anne Kananu Mwenda as Nairobi deputy governor continues to elicit reactions from politicians and lawyers.
While congratulations for Ms Mwenda have flowed, others have condemned the manner in which she was elevated, with the pro and anti-handshake politics clearly playing out.
Immediately the ceremony ended, Mr Peter Wanyama – a lawyer – led a chorus of disapproval, saying it went against the law.
Mr Wanyama said a deputy governor cannot assume office without the seal of appointment of a governor as prescribed in section 32(d) of the County Government Act.
Ms Mwenda was nominated by Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko who was later forced out of office through impeachment.
“I don’t know what is going on at the courts but from the standpoint of the rule of law, the position taken by judges is disappointing,” the city-based lawyer told the Sunday Nation.
“The Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court should clarify this legal mess. A person cannot assume office as deputy governor, given the circumstances in question”
Mr Wanyama said the county assembly speaker being made acting governor should be a path to a by-election.
He added that attempting to reverse the clock only creates legal problems and the “absurdity of grabbing power through the backdoor”.
“The sovereign power belongs to the people. The people through the National Assembly and Senate have prescribed the manner in which power shall be exercised. What is happening at City Hall is a coup d’etat,” Mr Wanyama said.
Mr Steve Ogolla, another lawyer, agreed with Mr Wanyama.
He said the process was unconstitutional as the assembly cannot purport to vet Ms Mwenda into office as deputy governor to eventually take over the remainder of Mr Sonko’s term.
He said Ms Mwenda had not been appointed deputy governor when Mr Sonko was impeached by ward representatives.
Mr Ogolla said the Speaker should be acting governor before a by-election is held.
He added that the governor-elect has the constitutional right to appoint his or her deputy.
“Ms Mwenda cannot lawfully become governor. Secondly, she cannot lawfully serve as deputy under a governor-elect because the law permits governor-elect to nominate a deputy,” the advocate said.
Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, said he wonders if the Judiciary is divided into pro and anti-handshake groups.
He was referring to the March 9, 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the then opposition leader Raila Odinga.
He asked acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu to issue a statement explaining the swearing-in of Ms Mwenda as Nairobi deputy governor.
“If the acting chief justice was not aware of the ceremony, who authorised it? Did the judge satisfy himself that the acting CJ authorised the swearing-in ceremony he conducted? Kenyans witnessed synchronised events by judicial officers but obviously remote-controlled and executed by third parties. Very troubling,” Mr Abdullahi said.
The political class, especially those drawn from Tangatanga – a group associated with Deputy President William Ruto – criticised the process.
Former Starehe MP and United Democratic Alliance Nairobi governor by-election aspirant Margaret Wanjiru termed the ceremony illegal.
“The people of Nairobi want a by-election and not leaders being imposed on them through fraudulent procedures,” Bishop Wanjiru said.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen criticised the exercise, pointing the finger at the Judiciary and accusing it of promoting an illegality.
“I was sure the government would do anything on the matter of Nairobi county. For top government officials, the Constitution is a document of general guidance to be ignored if its compliance leads to inconvenience,” Mr Murkomen said.
“What was even more shocking was the decision by the High Court and the swift facilitation of Judiciary.”
Thirdway Alliance weighed in, with acting party leader Miruru Waweru saying the ceremony was a coup against Nairobi people.
He said it was a sure sign of Kenya is sinking into the pit of despotism.
“Never in our nation, and especially under the current Constitution, have we witnessed such blatant State-sponsored attacks on the law. This will encourage the political class to circumvent the will of the people,” he said.
Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi said the organisation is the ideal party to challenge the “fraud”.
“Problem is that ‘Deep State’ will appoint a lawyer to take over and withdraw the petition as soon as it is filed,” he tweeted.