Sonko in court seeking to block Acting Nairobi Governor Mutura’s new appointments


Sonko in court seeking to block Acting Nairobi Governor Mutura's new appointments
A side-by-side image of impeached Nairobi County boss Mike Sonko and acting Governor Benson Mutura. PHOTOS / FILE

Impeached Nairobi County boss Mike Sonko has now gone to court seeking a conservatory order barring acting Governor Benson Mutura from making any changes at City Hall pending hearing and determination of his application.

This comes a day after Mutura announced new appointments, including the reinstatement of Janet Ouko – who resigned in January 2019 during then Governor Sonko’s tenure – as the County Executive Committee (CEC) member in charge of Education.

Mutura transferred Lucia Mulwa from the Education docket to Agriculture and appointed Jairus Musumba as the Acting County Secretary. He also appointed Paul Mutungi as the Chief of Staff and Brian Weke as the legal advisor for the Governor’s office.

Sonko however, in a petition filed by lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui on Thursday, said Mutura cannot reappoint Ms. Ouko to the position since she is “not available” because she was allegedly “dismissed from being a CEC” by his administration.

He termed the realignments by Mutura as a plot to wreak havoc in the governance of the city, adding that “purporting to exercise unlimited powers of an elected Governor when he is not” alluded to a gross violation of the County Governments Act.

“…the powers to nominate, appoint or dismiss any person in the County Government are not available in law to Hon. Benson Mutura to exercise while in an acting capacity,” read court papers.

“All these cited ‘appointments’ are unlawful and in express violation of Section 32(4) of the County Governments Act, necessitating an urgent issuance of Conservatory Orders to protect the public interest, and stem the rogue and unlawful actions of the said Hon. Benson Mutura.”

The petition further added: “Barely a few minutes after he was purportedly sworn in as the said Acting Governor, the said Hon. Benson Mutura purported to sign warrants for the release of the entire sum of Ksh. 37.5 billion Shillings as set out in the impugned Nairobi City County Appropriation Act, 2020, yet the High Court had suspended the said Act, save for the release of recurrent expenditure as contained in an Order dated December 18th 2020.”

Sonko, hence, termed the move by Mutura to sign the release of the said funds to the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) as illegal and unconstitutional, hence praying for a conservatory order barring the latter from holding himself as the substantive Nairobi Governor.

Sonko further argued that Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi on February 17, 2020 stopped the vetting and approval of Anne Kananu Mwenda as the Deputy Governor of Nairobi.

He added that Ms. Mwenda was still his deputy governor nominee until December 7, 2020 when he revoked and withdrew the nomination.

The embattled former county chief alluded to a plot by the Nairobi County Assembly and Mutura, who also serves as the Speaker, to appoint Ms. Mwenda as the deputy governor, terming the said move null and void and outside the precincts of the law.

Sonko, in the petition, named President Uhuru Kenyatta’s sister Christina Pratt Kenyatta and Jane Weru as interested parties.

This, he said, was because Ms. Pratt allegedly contacted him via phone prior to his impeachment and recommended the appointment of Ms. Weru as the Nairobi County Deputy Governor as he had by then already quashed his nomination of Ms. Mwenda.

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Story By Ian Omondi
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