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Court of Appeal halts swearing-in of new Nairobi Governor

CoA stops swearing-in of a new Nairobi Governor

Acting Nairobi Governor Anne Mwenda Kananu

The Court of Appeal on Tuesday halted the swearing-in of a new Nairobi County Governor.

The ruling was made after activist lawyer Okiya Omtatah filed a petition seeking to bar Nairobi deputy governor and acting governor Anne Mwenda Kananu from being sworn in as the county boss.

A three-judge bench ruled to have the ceremony halted until October 22, 2021.

Presiding judge Wanjiru Karanja along with Justices Jessie Lessit and Justice Jamila Mohammed ruled that further directions would be given on the October date.

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Nairobi gubernatorial race

Deputy Governor Kananu was sworn into office in January 2021 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).

During the swearing in, she promised to work with the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) for the people of Nairobi.

"I affirm my commitment to serve the people of Nairobi with utmost dedication, focus, discipline and integrity. I equal affirm and commit in the same vein to work and cooperate with the Director General of the Nairobi Metropolitan Service, Major General Badi with his team, to ensure the transferred functions are further strengthened and supported to meet the aspirations of the people of Nairobi," said Kananu shortly after being sworn in.

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After taking up the instruments of power for the office of the Governor, Ms Kananu noted that she will be vying for the gubernatorial seat.

"I will be vying in 2022. For those who think I am only here for a little while, I am telling them that I am here to stay. We shall face-off," she stated.

Cases against validity of Kananu's apointment

A number of court cases were filed in court challenging the validity of her appointment as DG following the impeachment of former Governor Mike Sonko.

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A three judge bench comprising Justices Said Chitembwe, Wilfrida Okwany and Weldon Korir ruled that the nomination, vetting and swearing in of Ms Kananu was all conducted procedurally.

In delivering its ruling, the bench noted that former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko nominated Ms Kananu voluntarily, adding that his mandate ended there.

Former Governor Sonko had also claimed that Nairobi Speaker Benson Mutura who was acting Governor during Kananu's vetting and swearing-in had no jurisdiction to conduct the process.

On this claim, the court noted that even though the Constitution does not confer DG appointment powers to an acting Governor, Speaker Muturi did not err in facilitating the process.

"The speaker was allowed by law to bring that process of Kananu's nomination to fruition. Although a speaker acting as governor has no power to appoint a DG, this case was different because there was already a nominated DG in place," Justice Okwany stated.

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