Kenya: Senate Begins Impeachment Proceedings Against Sonko

The Senate will today convene a special sitting to begin impeachment proceedings against Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

On Tuesday, members of Nairobi County Assembly, which impeached the governor on December 3, met their legal team at Windsor Hotel to strategise how to defend their case.

The impeachment trial, which was scheduled between last Thursday and Friday, was rescheduled to today, and the lawmakers will take the final vote tomorrow.

Speaker Kenneth Lusaka communicated the new dates on Tuesday, but did explain the reason for the changes.

“Pursuant to the Senate Standing Orders, on the request of the Senate Majority Leader with the support of the requisite number of senators, I have appointed Wednesday, December 16, and Thursday, December 17 as days for special sittings of the Senate to investigate the proposed removal from office, by impeachment, of Mike Mbuvi Sonko, the governor of Nairobi City County,” he said in a notice published in the Kenya Gazette.

Last week, the House failed to proceed with the investigation through a special committee after the Leader of Majority Samuel Poghisio withdrew his motion for the formation of the committee, forcing the Speaker to plan another special sitting.

Both sittings will begin at 9am, with the impeachment case the only business for the Senate, which will thereafter resume the recess until February 9, 2021.

Mr Sonko is facing four charges — gross violation of the Constitution and other laws, abuse of office, violation of national laws and lacking the mental capability to run the county government.

The Speaker has also indicated that he will use the opportunity to communicate to the House the death of Machakos Senator Boniface Kabaka, who died last week after a short illness. Mr Lusaka will give senators two hours until 11am to pay their tributes.

The House will then go into a closed session, where senators will be briefed by their lawyers, who have gone through the charges and evidence presented, before going back for an open session starting 11am.

The Senate has 67 senators but because the impeachment of a governor is a matter concerning counties, the voting will be conducted through delegations. There are 47 delegations in the House, which are presided over by elected senators. The delegations are determined on the basis of where each senator is a registered voter.

Governor Sonko will need 24 delegations to survive his removal from office, failure to which he will join Mr Waititu as the second governor to be ignominiously kicked out of office.

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