By Samuel Ouma
Kenyan Senate on Thursday night voted unanimously to uphold the ouster of Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko.
The decision was reached after the house found him guilty of four charges leveled against him by Members of Nairobi County Assembly (MCAs).
Sonko was accused of office abuse, gross misconduct, a gross violation of the constitution and crimes, and the national laws.
The MCAs alleged that he used taxpayers’ money to fly her daughter first class to New York, diverted funds meant for bursaries and refurbishing city roads, and molesting executives.
The vote was marred with politics as Senators allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake brother Raila Odinga supported the impeachment. Those leaning towards the deputy president William Ruto opposed it. Two Senators abstained.
45 Senators took part in the voting, with Garissa County Senator Yusuf Haji missing owing to illness, and Machakos seat fell vacant following the death of Senator Boniface Kabaka.
The 16 who voted NO argued the allegations were not substantiated, adding that the MCAs did not follow the due process.
“Both security machinery and resources that are given by the people of Kenya are used to impeach a Governor, then, there is a danger. Today from the witnesses and from the testimonies that we have heard from the County Assembly it is about control of the 10 percent of the country in terms of its economy. It is about power and establishment of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services,” said Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.
The governor denied all the claims accusing the ward representatives of being used politically to disparage his reputation.
“These funds were not released and that they are intact. Schools were closed during Covid-19, and this document shows that the mover of my motion exaggerated his claims. Some MCAs opened fake education accounts in 2013 and 2017, and I unearthed this scandal in 2017 and stopped it.
“The directors of these fake schools were wives and relatives of MCAs. They were receiving cheques from CDF accounts of various constituencies. The matter is being looked into by investigative agencies,” he defended.
Before the voting session, Sonko had sought public apology over his general conduct and utterance and pleaded with Senators to be lenient with him.
“Out of frustration, I may have made utterances that may have offended many people in ways that I did not intend. And today, I stand before you here with remorse, and having learned my painful lessons,” he said.
Sonko’s impeachment means the Nairobi County Assembly speaker Benson Mutura will take over for 60 days before a by-election is held.
Nairobi County has been operating without the deputy governor since Polycarp Igathe resigned in January 2018.
Sonko became the second governor to lose his seat after former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu was impeached in January this year.