Sonko out! Senate upholds impeachment of Nairobi Governor

Sonko out! Senate upholds impeachment of Nairobi Governor

The Senate has upheld the impeachment of Mike Mbuvi Sonko as Nairobi Governor.

Sonko was kicked out of office on four charges: gross violation of the Constitution and other laws; abuse of office; commission of crimes under the national laws and lacking the mental capability to run the county government.

“The effect of the vote is that pursuant to Article 181 of the Constitution Section 33 of the County Government Act and Standing Order No. 75 of the Senate Standing Orders, Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko of Nairobi City County stands impeached,” Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka announced after voting was concluded on Thursday night.

On all the four charges, 27 Senators voted YES, 16 voted NO while two (Mutula Kilonzo and Johnson Sakaja) abstained.

The impeachment proceedings against Governor Sonko were heard by the Senate plenary for two days where he pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

Earlier, Sonko had defended himself claiming that the county assembly was on a character assassination overdrive and attempts to remove him from office were politically choreographed.

He fended off corruption allegations involving Ksh. 297 million bursary funds.

The embattled governor denied diverting the money to pay for lawyers and garbage collection services as alleged, instead claiming that the amount in question was in fact never used.

“The funds were never released by the Central Bank of Kenya,” he averred, insisting that he had bust a syndicate where MCAs had allegedly opened dubious educational facilities to obtain the bursary funds.

The governor was also at pains to explain why his daughter flew first class to New York to attend a First Ladies conference under the guise of being a sub-county official.

According to the county assembly, the governor’s daughter hired a chopper to overfly New York city at Ksh. 220,000 and threw a private party at a cost of Ksh. 260,000.

Sonko admitted that indeed his daughter had been part of the delegation but said she had travelled as a woman and that the costs were catered for by the national government.

88 out of 122 MCAs voted in favour of a motion seeking to oust the Governor from office.

That Sonko was swimming against the currents was evident when he took on President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a series of verbal tirades, including sarcastically terming him ‘Nairobi’s Super Senator’.

His biggest challenge was the war he waged against the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) that is headed by Major General Abdalla Badi.

The refusal to sign requisite budget documents that starved the entity established by President Kenyatta to oversee four critical functions transferred early this year seemed to have been the final nail.

The governor nonetheless took issue with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) claiming that despite agreeing to donate some of his functions, it was robbing him all of his duties.

Sonko continually insisted that NMS was never part of the deal in the transfer deed to the national government.

On Thursday, the county boss further fended off corruption allegations involving Ksh. 297million bursary funds.

The embattled governor denied diverting the money to pay for lawyers and garbage collection services as alleged but instead claimed the amount in question was in fact never used.

“The funds were never released by the Central Bank of Kenya,” he averred, insisting that he had instead bust a syndicate where MCAs had allegedly opened dubious educational facilities to obtain the bursary funds.

Report by Francis Gachuri, Benjamin Muriuki and Sam Ogina