Opinion Politics

Why Sonko And Waititu Will Never Hold Any Public Office

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Leadership and Integrity law sound political death knell for impeached governors

In Summary 

• Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity makes it clear that a state officer kicked out for abuse of office is barred from holding any other state office.

• Article 75 (1) states that a state officer shall behave in a manner that avoids any conflict between personal interest and public or official duties.

It has emerged impeached Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and his Kiambu counterpart Ferdinand Waititu are permanently barred from holding any public office, as implications of their removal sank in.

Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity makes it clear that a state officer kicked out for abuse of office is barred from holding any other state office.

Lawyers also argue impeached governors stand disqualified from any election.

Article 75 (1) states that a state officer shall behave in a manner that avoids any conflict between personal interest and public or official duties.

It also says state officers must not compromise any public or official interests in favour of personal interests or in a manner demeaning the office he/she holds.

“A person who has been dismissed or otherwise removed from office for a contravention of the provisions specified in clause (2) is disqualified from holding any other State office,” Article 75(3) states.

The Constitution is even more explicit in Article 180 (2) and 193(2).

Article 180 (2) makes it mandatory that to be eligible for election as county governor, a person must be eligible for election as a member of the county assembly.

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Article 193 (2g) states that a person is disqualified from being elected a member of a county assembly if the person has been found, in accordance with any law, to have misused or abused a State office or public office or to have contravened Chapter Six.

This means Sonko, whose three-year tenure at the helm of City Hall was ended by the Senate on Thursday, cannot stand for any other elective seat, even an MCA.

This can only change if the impeachment is quashed by the courts.

“People take some of these constitutional processes for granted. Impeachment is very punitive. Sonko stands disqualified from any election,” High Court advocate William Okech told the Star.

There have been speculations that Deputy President William Ruto’s political faction could field Sonko in Nairobi against what is believed would be a “handshake candidate”.

Advocate Suyianka Lempaa said Sonko would now be forced to try something else outside politics.

“He can go into farming or become a tenderpreneur,” Lempaa said, but regretted that the impeachment law has been applied selectively.

“Why are governors like [Okoth] Obado, Moses Lenolkulal and Sospeter Ojaamong, who are facing serious criminal charges, not being impeached?” he asked.

On Thursday, the Senate voted Senators kicked out Sonko based on four broad grounds: gross violation of the constitution, abuse of office, gross misconduct and crimes under national law.


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