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Ann Kananu, Nairobi Governor who greatly benefited from Sonko’s downfall

Anne Kananu, the outgoing Governor of Nairobi, will most probably be best remembered as not just the first woman to assume that office in the county, but also as the one who stepped in to right the wrongs from Mike Sonko’s chaotic tenure of office.

Ms Kananu will also hold the unenviable distinction of being Nairobi’s Governor with the shortest stay in office so far. While Nairobi’s first governor, Evans Kidero, served a full five-year term, Kananu’s predecessor, Mr Sonko’s troubled tenure last just over three years.

By the time Kenyans will be going the polls on August 9, Kananu will have been in office for just nine months. And given that Kananu has since shelved her plans to contesting the seat in favour of Jubilee Party’s Polycarp Igathe, Nairobi will certainly have a new governor after the polls.

But Kananu may have no regrets in the long run, considering the circumstance that saw her assume an office that comes with the biggest responsibilities in the capital city. For a start, she came to office without being subjected to an election following Sonko’s impeachment. In fact, it is the very same Sonko who paved Kananu’s path to the seat.

During her second year, while serving as Chief Officer for disaster management, Kananu found her luck in Sonko’s office. On January 9, 2020, Sonko nominated Ms Kananu to deputize him in a letter that he addressed to former assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi saying the decision was in line with article 180(5) of the Constitution and the Supreme Court Advisory of March 9, 2018.

This came after Polycarp Igathe resigned from the Deputy Governor’s position in January 2018. Sonko however said the move further was motivated by the complexity of the situation in Nairobi to ensure continuity after he was barred from office while facing charges of misappropriation of public funds.

“Given the foregoing, and in the interest of ensuring stability at Kenya’s Capital City and largest County by economy and population, I do hereby nominate Anne Kananu Mwenda to the position of Deputy Governor,” Sonko’s letter read.

However, upon receiving Sonko’s letter, on January 17, 2020, Elachi sent back the letter to Sonko, saying the governor failed to follow the guidelines developed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in nominating Kananu.

On January 22, 2020, Kananu’s name was tabled in the assembly and committed to the appointment committee. However the High Court declined to issue orders stopping the county assembly from vetting Kananu for the DG’s position. This was after DPP Noordin Haji had moved to court saying Sonko was in contravention of his bail terms by claiming to appoint Ms Kananu

However three days later, IEBC Nairobi County returning Officer Joseph Eroo handed over the clearance certificate to Kananu paving the way from her vetting.

On November 16, 2021, Kananu was eventually sworn-in as Nairobi’s third and its first woman governor at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) Comesa Grounds.