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Sonko files petition against Senate decision to uphold his impeachment

Impeached Nairobi governor Mike Sonko has moved to court to challenge the decision by the Senate to uphold his removal from office by the city county assembly.

Through lawyers Evans Ondieki and Wilfred Nyamu, the ousted governor Monday wanted the court to stop the swearing-in of the County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura as the acting governor. But the prayer was overtaken by events after Mr Mutura took oath and assumed office in the morning.

The development forced the lawyers back to their chambers to amend the petition, in which they argue that the Senate was biased in the impeachment motion and that it “applied the political doctrine instead of the law and the Constitution”.

Another argument is that the Senate violated the doctrine of legitimate expectation by ignoring pleadings and submissions made by Sonko.

Sonko also wants the court to issue a temporary injunction restraining the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from publishing in the Kenya Gazette, electronic and the print media of national circulation, a notice declaring gubernatorial elections seat for the Nairobi City County as a consequence of the resolutions passed by the Senate last week.

Sonko apprehensive

In the court documents, Sonko says he is apprehensive that the IEBC may initiate the process of conducting a by-election since the seat has already been declared vacant by the Speaker of the Senate.

“It will only be fair and just if they are restrained from taking any further action that is prejudicial to my rights,” he says.

He wants IEBC stopped from taking any steps towards his replacement as governor of Nairobi City County pending the hearing of his application.

The 50-page petition indicates that Sonko’s removal was highly politicised and the process overturned the popular will of the people as contained in Article 1(1) of the Constitution.

“He will suffer irreparable damage not compensable in monetary terms because he stands to lose his position as the second governor of Nairobi City County without the due process of the law, the rule of law and constitutionalism,” reads the court petition drawn by Nyamu & Nyamu Company Advocates.

The former governor has taken on senators for failing to confirm if the impeachment motion was supported by evidence.

Evaluation of evidence

He says senators voted for the charges levelled against him was without any evaluation of the evidence placed before the Senate.

Sonko also claims that there was no public participation at the county assembly level and that the MCAs denied him the opportunity to defend himself during the proceedings.

“I was prejudiced by the lack of compliance by Parliament with Article 181(2) of the Constitution of Kenya to guide the process undertaken within a proper legislated framework,” says Sonko, adding that he had raised a preliminary objection at the beginning of the Senate proceedings.

He argues that failure to comply with the elaborate impeachment process, despite the grave and serious allegations levelled against him, resulted in the impeachment being based on “anecdotal allegations rather than serious and cogent evidence”.

Sonko wants the court to declare that the impeachment was unconstitutional.