Three-judge bench stops Ann Kananu’s swearing in

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The High Court has blocked Anne Kananu from being sworn in as the Nairobi County Governor.

Justice Shitembwe, Justice Weldon Korir and Wilfrida Okwany confirmed the interim orders granted by Justice Anthony Mrima on 18th January 2021 and dismissed the application by Kananu saying it lacked merit. 

“The Interim orders granted by Justice Anthony Mrima on 28th January 2021 are hereby confirmed pending hearing and determination,” ruled the bench. 

Justice Antony Mrima issued conservatory orders, restraining the swearing-in of Kananu after the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) challenged her vetting and approval.

The judge said he issued orders pending appointment of a bench of the Chief Justice to hear and determine the matter.

LSK moved to court seeking orders to suspend the decision by the County Assembly made on 15th January 2021 approving her nomination as the Deputy Governor of Nairobi City County pending the hearing and determination of the petition.

Through lawyer Omwanza Ombati, LSK argued that the hurried vetting and approval of Mwenda as the Deputy Governor and her eventual swearing in was unconstitutional and a calculated political move to avoid a by-election in Nairobi.  

The Nairobi governor’s position fell vacant after the impeachment of Mike Mbuvi Sonko by the Nairobi County Assembly and the decision endorsed by the Senate.

The County Speaker Benson Mutura was made the acting governor, pending the election of the substantive holder. However, Kananu was hurriedly vetted and sworn in a process that took about five hours. 

The court heard that the swearing in is problematic, unconstitutional and a brazen attempt to undermine the process of a by-election as anticipated in the Constitution of Kenya.

According to LSK, the county government was likely to proceed to commit further acts of illegalities by swearing in Kananu as the Governor of Nairobi City County who will in turn nominate yet another person for appointment as Deputy Governor.

LSK said it was not possible for Kananu to be sworn into office as Deputy Governor without the formal statutory appointment.