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Sonko impeachment: Senate to hold special sitting on Wednesday

The Senate will on Wednesday hold a special sitting to determine the procedure to be followed in the trial of Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko who was impeached last week.

Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said he has received communication from the Nairobi County Assembly, notifying him of the impeachment.

“The House leadership has agreed that Wednesday it is,” Mr Lusaka told the Nation yesterday, adding that a notice to that effect would be placed in a special edition of the Kenya Gazette today.

Nairobi ward representatives accused Mr Sonko of grossly violating the Constitution and other laws, abuse of office and crimes under national law.

Those are the same charges the governor will answer to when he appears at the Senate.

Mr Lusaka will communicate to members the decision of the County Assembly when the special sitting convenes.

He will also communicate the procedure through which the impeachment hearing will be conducted. The decision must, however, be approved by the House.

The law provides two options: Either the senators establish an 11-member team to hear the charges and report back to the House for a vote, or a trial through the plenary.

Though Mr Sonko has threatened to challenge his removal in court this morning, powerful forces in his Jubilee party and government want him out.

“The decision has been made. Governor Sonko has run afoul of many powerful people who have decided he must go. The governor’s goose is cooked,” a senior parliamentary official, who did not want to be named, told the Nation yesterday.

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda said Mr Sonko “was a big mistake from the start” and supported calls for his immediate removal.

Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata, who has recently earned the moniker of the President’s political “assassin” in the House, owing to his role in the impeachment of Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, said the House would stick to the rules.

“The Senate will be guided by law and precedent,” said Mr Kang’ata, who also played a huge role in saving Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru’s job when she was impeached.

“The aim of the Senate is to serve justice to the people of Nairobi and the devolution cause. This case will be examined objectively, devoid of partisanship and factionalism,” he said.

Signs of factionalism that have defined the last two impeachment trials are already emerging, taking the usual political faultlines defined by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga on one hand and Deputy President William Ruto’s team on the other.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen fired the first salvo when he said Mr Sonko’s case is as good as finished. He said it would likely to follow the same route Mr Waititu’s.

Mr Murkomen said the Senate is not independent but takes directions from “outside”.