Kenya: Court Rejects Mukhtar’s Bid to Cling to Power, Clears Way for Abdi’s Return

Nairobi — The Court of Appeal has rejected a petition by Ahmed Ali Mukhtar to remain in office as Wajir Governor after the High Court reinstated embattled Governor Mohamed Abdi who successfully challenged his impeachment.

Mukhtar who was serving as the County Deputy governor took over the Office of the Governor following the impeachment of Abdi in May 2021.

In a ruling delivered at the Appellate Court in the Nyeri, Justices Imaana Laibuta, Wanjiru Karanja and Hannah Okwengu argued that the decision not to grant Mukhtar the injunctive relief sought pending appeal “would by no means render his intended appeal nugatory”.

“Having carefully considered the applicant’s Motion, the affidavit filed in support of and in reply to the Motion, and the rival submissions of the respective learned counsel, we find nothing to suggest that the absence of stay or conservatory orders sought pending appeal would render the appeal nugatory in the event that the appeal succeeds,” the bench determined.

The judges argued that Mukhtar had failed to satisfy the conjunctive twin principle for grant of his application under Rule 5(2) (b) of the Court’s Rules.

This means that Abdi will assume his earlier role as Governor from March 10 as Mukhtar reverts to his original role as Deputy Governor.

“Upon hearing counsel for the [8th to 11th respondents, 12th, 13th respondents and the applicant] and responses by counsel for the [1st to 6th respondents] on a request for stay of execution pending appeal to the court of appeal the court makes the following order: The order for the taking over by the [7th respondent] of the Office of the Governor of Wajir County shall take effect on the 10th of March 2022,” The court ruled.

Abdi was impeached on allegations of abuse of office and misappropriation of funds. His position was immediately taken up by Mukhtar who was the Deputy Governor at the time.

The former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was kicked out of office after a special committee of the Senate recommended his removal over abuse of office.

The senate committee chaired by Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni found the former governor guilty of gross violation of the Constitution, County Governments Act, Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act and the Public Finance Management Act.

However, Abdi secured a reprieve on February 16, after the High Court sitting in Meru reinstated him terming his removal from office being as illegal.

In its ruling, the court said that the County Assembly did not show proof of public participation when it launched the efforts to oust him from office arguing that Wajir residents should have been involved.

The three-judge bench ruled that there was a serious violation of law and Constitution by the County Assembly and Senate during the impeachment process.

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