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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,5TH JAN,2020-The battle for the leadership of the Nairobi City County Government is set to take a new turn after a petitioner on Tuesday filed a notice to withdraw a case challenging the nomination of Mike Sonko’s Deputy Governor nominee Anne Kananu Mwenda.
Prior to his impeachment, Sonko had nominated Ms. Mwenda, the county’s Disaster Management and Coordination Sector Chief Officer, to the position of Deputy Governor on January 6, last year.
The nomination, however, hit a hurdle after the High Court barred the vetting of Ms. Mwenda by the County Assembly pending the hearing and determination of the petition filed by Peter Odhiambo Agoro.
In the petition, Agoro argued that Sonko had violated court orders by making the nomination since at the time, Anti-Corruption Court magistrate Douglas Ogoti had barred Sonko from accessing office after he was charged with graft.
In a letter to then Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi, Sonko said the decision to nominate Ms. Mwenda was in the interest of ensuring stability in the country’s capital after he was barred from accessing his office.
Pundits, however, argue that the move to withdraw the petition challenging the nomination of Ms. Mwenda is an attempt to stop the high-stakes Nairobi gubernatorial by-election that some perceive as a litmus test for the BBI process.
A win or number of votes gathered by either of the political formations would be interpreted as an indication of their political control ahead of the 2022 General Election.
On Monday, the city by-election was suspended pending determination of a petition filed by impeached county boss Mike Sonko.
High Court Judge Antony Mrima, in a ruling delivered on Monday, said Sonko as well as the Nairobi County Assembly presented important arguments which he certified as urgent hence it was necessary to halt the by-election process and hear them first.
Nairobi County Assembly lawyer Ndegwa Njiru and Sonko’s legal team both expressed satisfaction at the ruling, further stating that the matter should be heard by more than one judge.
Judge Mrima will now issue a ruling on whether the matter will be heard by a bench on January 14, 2020.
Lawyer Ndegwa also stated that Sonko had nominated Ann Kananu to be his deputy governor hence arguing that should the Kenyan citizen who went to court to oppose the nomination drop the case, then Kananu should be sworn in as the new Nairobi Governor.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) last month set February 18, 2021 as the date for the by-election to replace Mike Sonko as Nairobi Governor following his impeachment.