The Weekly Vision
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko suffered a devastating blow yet again after the High Court in Mombasa rejected his appeal for a Ksh. 45m compensation, money he claimes he had spent on his campaign for the Mombasa gubernatorial race during last year’s election.
Mr Sonko was barred by the Supreme Court from contesting following his impeachment by the Nairobi City County Assembly, the impeachment was upheld by the Senate. Mr Sonko then moved to court through Petition No. E14 OF 2022. He went to court through a Petition dated 22nd August 2022 seeking declaratory orders in connection with how the Supreme Court of Kenya handled his other Petition No. 11 (E008) of 2022.
Hon. Mike Mbuvi Sonko v The Clerk County Assembly of Nairobi City & Others. In the petition, Sonko prayed for an award of compensation for the loss of campaign fund contribution amounting to Ksh. 35m and an award of damages amounting to Ksh. 15m for breach of the right to be heard under Article 50(1). Mombasa High Court Judge Olga Sewe on a ruling delivered virtually on 11th May 2023 rejected Sonko’s compensation prayer. It reads in part
“That the Petition dated 22nd August 2022 as amended on 8th December 2022 be and is hereby struck out for lack of jurisdiction”. He had claimed that there was bias on the part of the Supreme Court contending that the Jurges deliberately committed procedural irregularities with the sole aim of preventing him from enjoying his socio-political rights under Article 38 of the Constitution, thereby ultimately violating his right to be heard under Article 50 of the Constitution.
Apart from the financial compensation, Sonko also sought a declaration that his rights to a fair trial under Article 50(1) of the Constitution were infringed upon in Supreme Court Petition No. 11 of 2022 (E008) Hon. Mike Mbuvi Gideon Sonko and The Clerk, Nairobi City County Assembly & 11 Others. Further, he prayed for a declaration that the Supreme Court judgment dated 15th July 2022 in Supreme Court Petition No. 11 of 2022 (E008) Hon. Mike Mbuvi Gideon Sonko and The Clerk, Nairobi City County Assembly & 11 Others is null and void as the 1st respondent contravened Article 50(1) of the Constitution of Kenya.
The ruling further reads “In the result, I take the view that, since this Petition sounds more in Judicial Review than in violation of the constitutional right to fair hearing, it is a matter that falls outside the mandate of the Court by dint of Article 165(6) of the Constitution; noting that one of the reliefs sought is a declaration that the judgment of the Supreme Court in Petition No. 11 of 2022 dated 15th July 2022 is null and void.
Analysts now say that Mr Sonko’s political career has been cut short and cannot hold public office having exhausted all the appeals. However, according to legal experts, even if his appeal succeeds at the East African Court of Justice, Kenya’s judicial system on matters of impeachment does not recognize such appeals. Readers will also remember that Nack Kenya leader Martha Karua too went to the same court after she believed the Supreme Court failed to give her justice.
Although she had requested the court to declare Governor Ann Waiguru’s election as Kirinyaga Governor null and void and make a declaration that the election was not free and fair, the court only awarded her Ksh. 28m for the Supreme Court decision which infringed on her rights to a fair hearing and trial. Legal experts say Sonko is also most likely to get almost a similar ruling and get compensation as opposed to determining his impeachment null and void.