Supreme court clarifies ‘orders’ declining to stop vetting of Sonko’s deputy nominee

The Supreme Court of Kenya.

The Supreme Court has issued clarification on a news story published in the media on the appointment of a deputy Governor for Nairobi County.

The story alleged that the Supreme court had declined to stop the vetting of Nairobi County deputy governor.

According to the court, the Speaker of the Nairobi County Assemble Beatrice Elachi filed a reference for on 6th January seeking to know whether the move by Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko to nominate a deputy was in accordance with the law given that he is facing charges of corruption over alleged loss of Sh 357 million.

The court clarified that the advisory opinion filed before it by the Speaker to the Nairobi County Assembly is not a bar to Governor Mike Sonko to appoint a deputy governor.

In a press statement to media houses, Supreme Court Deputy Registrar Daniel ole Keiwua said the petition does not act as a stay of any duties or obligations as sought for clarification.

“Therefore, the reference filed at the Supreme Court should not be visited upon by any party to act as stay,” sad Keiwua.

In a letter of clarification to Nairobi County government lawyer Joseph Kiarie & Company Advocates, the DR said that the matter will come up for mention on 5th March 2020 for further directions.

This direction was issued after the the parties in the case appeared before court on 6th February without pre-trial compliance.

Kiarie had written to the Registrar of the Supreme Court on 3rd February 2020 seeking clarification whether the petition by the Speaker stopped or barred any office/commission/ authorities to perform its duties as stipulated by the law.

In a petition filed by the assembly’s advocate John Diro, the Assembly wants the court to give direction whether there is a vacuum in the office of the governor and whether Governor Sonko can appoint a deputy in the current circumstances.

The assembly also sought for a Constitutional interpretation on whether the speaker of the assembly can assume the office as per the law with full powers vested in the governor in the absence of both the governor and the deputy and an opinion on what happens when the speaker declines to assume the office.

The application lists the county assembly speaker and the clerk as applicants and Nairobi County government, the attorney general and the chair of IEBC as intended interested parties.

Senior counsel Prof Tom Ojienda and lawyer Harrisson Kinyanjui for the county and the governor consecutively, told the court that there is a lacuna in the manner in which the law is being interpreted in the current scenario of Nairobi County.

“As far as we are concerned Sonko is still the Governor of Nairobi County and there is no vacancy which can be filled or assumed by the Speaker,” said Prof Ojienda.

He said the ruling of High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi has given certain directions which needs to be interpreted by the Supreme Court.

“Once the matter is properly before the Supreme Court, the court will deliver justice faithfully guided by the constitution and the law,” said the DR.