Voters want court to bar Mike Sonko from Mombasa governor race

Mike Sonko

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko addresses journalists at Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa in January 2019.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Two voters have moved to court seeking the disqualification of former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko from contesting in the Mombasa governor race in August polls.

They say that Mr Sonko, having been impeached as Nairobi governor, is disqualified from holding any other state office including that of Mombasa governor. 

In a 33-page petition filed at the Mombasa High Court, Mr Ndoro Kayuga and Mr George Odhiambo, through their lawyer Mr Willis Oluga, asked the court to stop the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission from accepting the nomination of Mr Sonko by the Kalonzo Musyoka-led Wiper Party.

Mr Kayuga is a resident of Mombasa County and a registered voter in Kisauni constituency while Mr Oluga told the court he is a resident in the Coastal region with interest in governance, management, and running of the affairs of the Mombasa County government.

Nomination

"Pending the hearing and determination of this application, there be and is hereby issued a conservatory order of injunction to restrain IEBC, the third respondent herein, from accepting the nomination of the first respondent to contest and vie for the office of the governor of Mombasa County and from clearing the first respondent for election into the office of the Governor," the two told the court in their petition.

 In their petition, Mr Kayuga and Mr Odhiambo said that the 2020 impeachment of Mr Sonko was also upheld by the High Court of Kenya and the Court of Appeal, "first respondent's impeachment was lawful and procedurally fair."

"The charges levelled against the first respondent and which resulted in his removal from office by way of impeachment were abuse of office and gross misconduct," the petition read in part.

The petitioners said that Article 75 (1) (c) of the Constitution of Kenya requires State officers to behave in a manner that avoids demeaning the office they hold.

According to the petitioners, Governor Sonko was kicked out of office for several reasons: persistently intimidating, harassing, and molesting officers of the County Executive, including blackmailing his County Executive Committee Members and Chief Officers.

They also cited an accusation that Mr Sonko unlawfully used public funds to pay for his daughter's travel to New York, USA.

He was also accused of failing to promote public confidence in the integrity of the governor's office.

The embattled ex- Nairobi governor was also accused of drawing a salary and hefty allowances besides enjoying the privileges of the office he holds while failing to "diligently report to work and being perennially absent even before the courts formally restrained him from accessing his office due to corruption charges.

They further said that Mr Sonko was also accused of wilfully using, publicising, and publishing abusive and unbecoming words and language, as evidenced by his social media posts and numerous rants, in which he has hurled abuses and conducted himself in a manner that undermines and demeans the office of the governor.

 Mr Sonko has disputed the allegations, taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court after the High Court and the Court of Appeal upheld his impeachment.

Wiper Party

Mr Kayuga and Mr Odhiambo said that the nature of the accusations led to the conclusion that he behaved in a manner that demeaned the office of the county governor and resulted in his removal from office by way of impeachment, which is a violation of the constitution.

"Having been removed from the office of the governor of Nairobi City County for contravention and violation of inter alia. The first respondent is disqualified from holding any other State Office including the office of Mombasa governor," they said.

The duo also picked issue with the Wiper Party, which handed Mr Sonko a direct nomination to contest for the Mombasa County Governorship seat mid-last week.

In the Wiper deal, Mr Sonko will be deputised by Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo, who was also eyeing the Mombasa County top seat but agreed to work with the former.

"By nominating the first respondent to vie for and be elected into the office of the governor of Mombasa Country, the second respondent contravened and violated Article 75(3) of the constitution," the petition read.

Terming the move to hand the Wiper ticket to run for the seat as dangerous, the petitioners said that it would not be in order for IEBC to go ahead and allow the politician to participate in the general elections because of the timelines.​

-Additional reporting by Philip Muyanga

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