NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 10 – Members of the Nairobi County Assembly have dismissed claims that the County could be headed into a crisis in the event Governor Mike Sonko is charged in an ongoing graft probe.
Led by Majority Leader Abdi Guyo, the City MCAs on Tuesday said there is no cause for alarm, adding that the Assembly is in full support of the Sonko administration.
“We want to tell the people who are behind that narrative to know that the county is not under any crisis, and I want to tell the public and particularly Nairobi residents that they shouldn’t panic,” said Guyo.
There have been reports on a crisis at City Hall with Sonko said to be considering naming a Deputy Governor who will hold brief for him should he be charged with graft and barred from office.
Sonko has been reluctant to pick a deputy since Polycarp Igathe resigned in January 2018 citing frustration and failure to win the confidence of the embattled Governor who has twice been grilled by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for irregularly awarding garbage collection tenders.
The speculations that Sonko could find himself behind bars, hence creating a vacancy in his seat came after anti-graft detectives last week grilled the Governor for close to 8 hours over alleged corrupt dealings involving garbage collection in the city.
The Majority Leader however said that the anti-graft agency should be left to conclude its investigations, exuding confidence that the Governor will be acquitted.
“EACC is an independent body, which should be left to take its investigations independently, for now Sonko is still the elected Governor of Nairobi and he will continue to discharge his mandate until 2022 when Nairobi residents will decide whether to give him another chance or otherwise,” added the Matopeni MCA.
Minority Leader Elias Otieno also cast aspersions that there is any possibility of the Governor stepping aside.
“Those spreading these rumors should stop,” said Otieno.
Roysambu MCA Peter Warutere cautioned against what he termed as pre-empting ana ongoing probe since detectives aren’t done with investigations and no file has been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution.
Apart from the graft allegations, Sonko is embroiled in a Sh5.8 billion tax debt that is said to have accrued over time, even before he took over the county leadership.
Should the Governor be charged, Article 182 (4), provides that “if a vacancy occurs in the office of the county governor and that of deputy governor, or if the deputy governor is unable to act, the Speaker of the County Assembly shall act as the County Governor.”
Sonko’s failure to appoint a deputy could however complicate administration at City Hall in the event he is barred from accessing office as has his Kiambu counterpart Ferdinand Waititu.
The County Assembly also lacks a substantive Speaker.