The Senate on Thursday upheld the impeachment of embattled Nairobi County Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko.
Sonko was impeached by the Nairobi County Assembly on December 3 on grounds of gross violation of the Constitution, abuse of office, gross misconduct and crimes under national law.
27 Senators voted to support the impeachment in all the four charges, 16 opposed and two abstained.
Those who abstained include Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Junior.
Once again, the handshake politics played in the impeachment process as a majority of senators allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga supported the ouster motion.
Senators allied to Deputy President William Ruto’s Tanga Tanga camp led by former majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen opposed the motion to send the governor home.
Sonko’s refusal to assent the bill on Ksh37.5 billion 2020-21 budget was among the major reasons the Nairobi Members of County Assembly voted to impeach him.
Minority Leader Michael Ogada, who moved the impeachment motion, also accused Sonko of persistently harassing, intimidating and molesting county officers and using City Hall cash to fly his daughter to the County First Lady’s Conference in New York, the US in 2018.
Sonko, who put up a spirited defence during the Senate impeachment trial, becomes the third governor to be impeached by Senate after Martin Wambora (Embu) and former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu who was ousted in January this year on similar grounds.
Wambora’s impeachment was, however, quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2015. On the other hand, Waititu tried unsuccessfully to retain his seat.
What Next For Nairobi
Following today’s development and considering the fact that Nairobi doesn’t have a deputy governor, the Constitution stipulates that assembly speaker (Benson Mutura) shall act as county boss after a vacancy is declared in the office.
An election to the office of county governor shall be held within sixty days after the speaker assumes the office of governor.