How Sonko’s arrest could plunge Nairobi County into crisis


How Sonko’s arrest could plunge Nairobi County into crisis
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. PHOTO/COURTESY

In Summary

  • But the Speaker’s ascension in Sonko’s case would not be out of vacancy but inability to act caused by a court process.
  • In the event that Governor Sonko picks a Deputy Governor Nominee and submits the name to the Assembly, a committee chaired by the Speaker would have to be constituted to vet the nominee
  • The question is, would the assembly allow Speaker Elachi to constitute that panel?

A crisis looms in Nairobi City County should governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko find himself behind bars and barred from accessing his office should a precedence that has befallen two of his colleagues catch him.

Sonko leads a county without a Deputy Governor and with an embattled County Assembly Speaker who has not steered Assembly operations for a year now.

For hours on Friday, Governor Mike Sonko was said to be holed up in meetings with his strategists looking for solutions to his latest headache.

This follows a 5.8 billion tax debt that could lead to prosecution of key County Officials alongside the controversial garbage tenders with a Ksh. 20 million deposit in his account

Sonko is reported to be mulling the pros and cons of appointing a Deputy Governor nominee, who would step in should he find himself charged and barred from accessing his office.

Article 182 of the constitution Sub-article 4 provides that:  “If a vacancy occurs in the of office of county governor and that of deputy county governor, or if the deputy county governor is unable to act, the speaker of the county assembly shall act as county governor.”

Should Governor Sonko be barred from accessing his office before nominating a deputy and having him or her approved by the assembly for formal appointment, questions would arise over the Speaker to act as governor.

Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi was ousted from office on September 6, 2018.

It’s been one year, and even though the Employment and Labour Relations Court reinstated her in May, she has not presided a sitting of the Assembly.

Would she then ascend to the position of Acting Governor given the hostile situation she finds herself in, after being impeached by a majority of Nairobi MCAs and reinstated by the court?

Even then, Sub-article 5 of article 182 of the constitution provides that in an instance of a vacancy occurring of a governor and his or her deputy, an election to the office of county governor shall be held within 60 days after the speaker assumes office.

But the Speaker’s ascension in Sonko’s case would not be out of vacancy but inability to act caused by a court process.

In the event that Governor Sonko picks a Deputy Governor Nominee and submits the name to the Assembly, a committee chaired by the Speaker would have to be constituted to vet the nominee

The question is, would the assembly allow Speaker Elachi to constitute that panel?

If not, would the Acting Speaker Chege Mwaura chair such a panel given the cause for his election as acting speaker has since been quashed by the courts?

Governor Sonko has been without a deputy for 19 months now.

At least two false starts have been reported, having nominated Hardliner Miguna Miguna who at the time was facing deportation.

Miguna was however rejected by Elachi as not being a Jubilee member as per procedure.

Thereafter, Sonko reneged on a promise to announce a nominee to allow for consultations.

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Story By Sam Gituku
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