Blow to Sonko as  Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal, Rules Impeachment Was Constitutional

Blow to Sonko as Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal, Rules Impeachment Was Constitutional

BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,15TH JULY 2022-The Supreme Court has dismissed former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s appeal challenging his impeachment by the Nairobi County Assembly. 

In a joint verdict delivered on Friday, the seven-judge bench ruled that the impeachment proceedings against Sonko before the County Assembly and the Senate were properly conducted in accordance with Article 181 of the Constitution, Section 33 of the County Governments Act and Standing Orders of the Assembly and the Senate.

“From the record and submissions before this Court, we come to the irresistible conclusion that the impeachment of the appellant was in compliance with the Constitution and the law. We, therefore, find no merit in the Petition of Appeal,” ruled the Apex Court.

The Supreme Court verdict technically locks out Sonko from vying for the Mombasa Gubernatorial seat and any other elective seat in future.

Persons impeached from office are deemed to have contravened Article 75(3) of the Constitution which stipulates that “A person who is removed from office on contravention of Chapter 6 of the Constitution is disqualified from holding any other State or public office whether elective or appointive.”

Sonko had earlier been cleared by the electoral commission IEBC to vie for the position of Mombasa Governor after he moved to the Supreme Court to challenge his impeachment.

It however appears his joy was short-lived.

Sonko had moved to the Supreme Court seeking to have the highest court on the land set aside or declare as unconstitutional the resolution passed by Senate on December 17, 2020, for his removal from office through impeachment.

In its verdict, however, the Supreme Court ruled that Sonko was accorded adequate time and facility to respond to the charges against him both at the county assembly and in the Senate.

Sonko had argued that there was no public participation in the impeachment exercise as required by law but the court ruled on the contrary.

“There was sufficient public participation, the intended tabling of the motion for the impeachment of the appellant was not only advertised in a local daily newspaper with wide circulation, in response to which people submitted memoranda, but also a survey was conducted in the county in the form of questionnaires. This was in addition to the fact that the proceedings were conducted in public,” noted the judges.

The Supreme Court further concluded that neither the County Assembly, the Senate nor the High Court or the Court of Appeal made an error in their analysis and conclusion of the four counts of impeachable charges against Sonko.

“Chapter Six of the Constitution was not enacted in vain or for cosmetic reasons. The authority assigned to a State officer is a public trust to be exercised in a manner that demonstrates respect for the people; brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office; and promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office. It vests in the State officer the responsibility to serve the people, rather than the power to rule them,” ruled the Supreme Court.

Sonko was impeached on grounds of abuse of office, gross misconduct as well as lack of capability to run county affairs.

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