What next for Nairobi County? Speaker says county assembly to seek AG’s advisory

What next for Nairobi County? Speaker says county assembly to seek AG's advisory
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko in court on December 11, 2019. PHOTO| COURTESY

The Nairobi County Government is now grappling with a constitutional quagmire after Governor Mike Sonko was on Wednesday barred from accessing office pending the hearing and determination of the graft case against him.

Sonko, who has been operating without a deputy governor since January 2018, is facing 19 corruption related charges over irregular procurement and payment of over Ksh.357 million.

He denied the charges before Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti and was released on bail but was barred from accessing office which includes executing the Governor’s functions.

Following the barring of Sonko from accessing office, Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi now says the Members of County Assembly will write to the Attorney General seeking an advisory on the way forward.

The county assembly has since adjourned pending the advisory from the Office of the Attorney General.

Meanwhile, Nairobi County is already in the middle of a leadership crisis with legal pundits now left cracking their heads on provisions of Article 182 on the vacancy in the governor’s office and article 192, that gives the president power to suspend operations of a county government, in exceptional circumstances.

Article 182(4) outlines that should a governor’s seat fall vacant, and the deputy is not in office or has no capacity to take over in an acting capacity, the county assembly speaker shall act as county governor and an election held within 60 days.

President Uhuru Kenyatta may also step in, should the leadership crisis in Nairobi persist. Article 192 gives the president power to suspend a county government in case of an emergency arising out of internal conflict or war, or in any other exceptional circumstances.

However, the suspension can only be effected if a commission of inquiry confirms there were justifiable reasons for the suspension, and county functions must not be affected.

The senate can however terminate the suspension at any time, with the law requiring a gubernatorial election be held within 90 days of the suspension.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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