Governors Charged With Graft Could Soon Resume Offices

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko

Corruption vice has been biting off the economic and moral fabric of Kenya, and efforts to counter it are not as fulfilling as we citizens would want it because those on top of the list are public officials who we dutifully elected to represent and protect our interest.

Since President Uhuru Kenyatta declared war on corruption, the office of Director of Public Prosecution and EACC have been at the forefront in bringing the culprits to justice. Then came a landmark ruling by delivered on July 24, 2019, by Justice Mumbi Ngugi that has so far seen three Governors; Moses Lenolkulal for Samburu, Ferdinand Waititu of Kiambu, and Mike Sonko of Nairobi barred from office over graft charges. In the ruling, governors, like other civil servants, should step aside once charged for a criminal offense and their roles completely taken over by their deputies.

According to the judge, a section of the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act (ACECA) that protected State officers from stepping aside from office while under prosecution for criminal charges was unconstitutional and entrenching corruption and impunity in the land.

But this directive has never augured well with the council of governors who have now vowed to move to court to challenge this court ruling requiring governors charged with economic crimes to vacate office for the duration of their trial.

“As a matter of common interest, the county governments will urgently move to court over the ruling seeking governors to step aside when charged on corruption matters as has been witnessed in the cases of Kiambu, Samburu and Nairobi Counties,” said the Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya in a Press address yesterday challenging the ruling as a matter of common interest.

The three governors had been charged with theft and embezzlement of millions of public funds through irregular procurement processes.