CJ to give directions on all petitions filed against Sonko

Date:

Chief Justice Martha Koome is expected to give directions on at least five petitions that have been filed to bar former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko from vying in Mombasa.

The five files from Mombasa, Eldoret, and Nairobi are now before the CJ’s office for determination on whether a three-judge bench will be constituted to hear the matter.

The cases are also expected to be consolidated into one, since they are all challenging Sonko’s chance of being allowed to vie after he was impeached on December 17, 2020, for gross violation of the constitution.

On Wednesday, Mombasa High Court Judge John Mativo, who was handling two petitions filed against Sonko, said he cannot issue further orders on the matter.

He told the virtual court that he is waiting for direction from CJ’s office.

At the Mombasa High Court, the two petitions were filed separately- one by two Mombasa residents and the second one by three civil society organizations.

In the first petition, which was filed on April 25, two Mombasa residents – Ndoro Kayuga and George Odhiambo, had sued to block Sonko from contesting.

They argue that the former governor was removed from office for contravening Article 75 of the Constitution and for behaving in a manner that demeaned the office of a county governor.

On April 27, Kayuga however withdrew from the case handing the governor a glimmer of hope, albeit temporarily

However, Odhiambo, the second petitioner, told the court that he was keen to proceed with the case, in which Sonko, Wiper Democratic Party, and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are listed as first, second, and third respondents respectively.

Through his lawyer, Willis Oluga, Odhiambo sought the court’s permission to proceed with the case.

“Unlike the first petitioner, who seeks to withdraw the petition, I am keen to proceed with the same and therefore the first petitioner cannot withdraw the entire petition,” he said.

On Tuesday, Mativo allowed Odhiambo to continue with the case, despite Kayuga’s withdrawal.

“The first petitioner be and is hereby allowed to withdraw from this petition and is discharged from these proceedings immediately,” ruled Mativo.

Judge Mativo argued that Odhiambo will proceed with the petition as the reasons by the first petitioner to withdraw the petition are not substantive.

“The court may proceed to hear the petition despite the wishes of the petitioner to discontinue. This is a matter of judicial discretion,” he said.

In the separate case filed by three CSOs, Transparency International, Kituo Cha Sheria, and  Haki Yetu argued that Sonko had violated the Constitution.

Therefore, the three groups in a joint petition said, Sonko should not be allowed to contest for any seat.

Justice Mativo on Wednesday was expected to issue orders on the two cases- Odhiambo’s petition and the petition filed by CSOs.

However, he said he will now have to wait for directions since yet another similar petition from the Eldoret High Court has been forwarded to the Chief Justice.

Last week, Eldoret High Court judge Justice Reuben Nyakundi directed that the petitions filed in Mombasa, Nairobi, and Eldoret be placed before CJ Koome to decide if they will be consolidated and transferred to Mombasa.

Sonko, through his lawyers Jared Magolo and Gikandi Ngibuini, had applied to have the matter transferred to Mombasa and consolidated into one.

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