IEBC: Why impeached Sonko will still be on the ballot

Mike Sonko

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko addresses journalists at Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa. Mr Sonko shifted his  base to the coastal city.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group 

Impeached governors are eligible to run for office again as long as they still have pending appeal cases in courts, the electoral commission has said, giving a sigh of relief to Mombasa governor aspirant Mike Sonko.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)’s Abdi Guliye on Monday explained the agency is guided by the law on such matters.

Prof Guliye said those with pending appeals in court as having a “lifeline”.

“The law guides us that if you have been found culpable by a court to have been impeached sufficiently for certain irregularities in the performance of your duties, then if there are existing appeal mechanisms you are still eligible to vie. But if all those mechanisms have been exhausted and the final verdict is uncontested then you shouldn’t run,” Mr Guliye explained in a show on Citizen TV.

Formers governors Mike Sonko (Nairobi) and Ferdinard Waititu (Kiambu) who were impeached and, consequently, removed from office pursuant to Article 181 of the Constitution for, among others, financial impropriety and violation of Chapter Six have declared interest to contest the governor seat in the August 9 General Election.

In March, the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling that Mr Sonko’s removal from office was proper. He has since moved to the Supreme Court to appeal the ruling.

The Nairobi County Assembly impeached him on December 3, 2020, after which the Senate voted to remove him from office on December 17, 2020, ending his 40-month chaotic reign at City Hall. 

A bench of three judges of the appellate court further said that the entire process leading to his removal followed the law and that the High Court, which upheld his ouster, cannot be faulted.

Mr Sonko said he would file a notice of appeal in the Supreme Court saying he will not relent in his fight to prove his impeachment was illegal.

Mr Waititu who was also impeached had sought the UDA ticket in the race for Kiambu governor but lost to Senator Kimani Wamatangi. Mr Waititu has since not pronounced himself on whether or not he will run as an independent candidate.

Even then, Prof Guliye explained the commission will have a meeting today to deliberate on the contentious issue of impeached governors seeking reelection.

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