The Supreme Court has upheld the impeachment of former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko, marking end of his career in elective politics and the public service.
The top judges led by Chief Justice Martha Koome said Mr Sonko was properly removed from office, since the impeachment proceedings before the County Assembly and the Senate were properly conducted.
This means the electoral commission will have to recall its decision to clear him for the Mombasa governorship election based on provisions of Article 75(3) of the Constitution. The provision bars a person impeached from a public office from ever holding any other state office.
“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. It bears mentioning in conclusion that Chapter Six of the Constitution was not enacted in vain or for cosmetic reasons,” said the Supreme Court.
The judgment came a day after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) issued Mr Sonko with a nomination certificate allowing him to contest for Mombasa governor’s seat.
The judges released a shorter version of the judgement containing seven reasons for their decision to dismiss the appeal, in which Mr Sonko sought to overturn the decisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal to uphold his impeachment.
The Apex court said another copy of the judgment with detailed reasons will be released on a later date.
Dismissing Mr Sonko’s claims that his removal from office was illegal, the judges said the former governor was even accorded adequate time and facility to respond to the charges against him both at the county assembly and in the Senate.
They also dismissed his claims that there was insufficient public participation in the impeachment process.
“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,” said the judges.
The court noted that in the impeachment process, there were four counts against Mr Sonko.
“The County Assembly, the Senate and the High Court and Court of Appeal were convinced that the charges were proved to the standard required in such circumstances. No error for their analysis and conclusion has been presented,” the Supreme Court stated.
It found that the people exercised their power through their democratically elected representatives to uphold and defend Chapter Six of the Constitution, by removing the governor from office.
Another reason of dismissing the appeal was that the Supreme Court did not have the authority to deal with the appeal.
“However, in view of the public interest nature of the dispute, the need for due guidance to the judicial process and to the courts below and for the sake of posterity and development of jurisprudence the Court (the majority) has decided to settle all the pertinent questions the appeal raises, instead of downing tools on account of want of jurisdiction,” it said.
Mr Sonko was elected as Governor of the Nairobi City County during the 2017 general elections for a term of five years.
On assumption of office, he served as Governor until December 17, 2020 when he was removed from office by way of impeachment.
Passing the resolution to remove him from office, the Senate found him guilty of plundering public resources, persistently intimidating and molesting officers of the County Executive Committee and unlawfully using public fund to pay for his daughter’s travel to New York, USA.
He was also found guilty of charges of persistently and wilfully using, publicizing and publishing abusive and unbecoming words and language as evidenced by his social media posts.
Further that he made numerous rants in which he hailed abuses and conducted himself in a manner that undermines and demeans the office of the Governor.