In Summary
  • His arrest means there would be no one to assent to bills, including Finance Bill, which could cripple county operations.
  • Mr Wanyama says the looming situation requires the county government to run to the Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on how to move on.

The possible charging in court of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Monday is promising to raise constitutional questions, especially if he is barred from office like it has happened to two of his colleagues.

With no deputy governor to step in once he is charged and barred from office, in keeping with High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi’s ruling on July 24 that governors charged with economic crimes vacate office for the duration of their trial, the Sonko issue will present a unique situation for Nairobians.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Nordin Haji, on Friday ordered the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to arrest Mr Sonko and other persons “for the crimes of conflict of interest arising from having received monies from the County of Nairobi whilst serving as governor, unlawful acquisition of public property, money laundering and other economic crimes".

NO VACANCY

As provided in Article 183(4) of the Constitution, County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi would only act as governor if there was a ‘vacancy’ in the office of the governor.

However, lawyer and devolution expert Mutakha Kangu, as well as lawyer Peter Wanyama, contended that stepping aside, as would happen once Governor Sonko is charged possibly on Monday next week, would not create a vacancy in his office.

Even if the Speaker was to act, she would only do so for 60 days before an election is held.

It is an interpretation they share with deputy Senate Speaker Kithure Kindiki, who has argued that a governor does not cease to hold office by simply being barred from accessing his office.

SUSPEND EXECUTIVE

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