Sonko picks Anne Kananu Mwenda as his deputy, DPP fires back

Anne Kananu Mwenda and Governor Mike Sonko [Photo: Courtesy]

The leadership crisis at City Hall took a new twist after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) criticised yesterday’s decision by Governor Mike Sonko to nominate a deputy.

DPP Noordin Haji challenged the nomination, arguing that the governor, who is facing graft charges and has been barred from office by the court, could not exercise such powers. “We will move to court to challenge this move. The court was clear on what Sonko cannot do. To purport to have power to name a deputy while his case is still on is a violation of the bail terms given to him,” Mr Haji warned.

The embattled governor picked Anne Kananu Mwenda as his deputy, ending a long-standing row pitting him against senators who had demanded that he names an assistant.

Ms Kananu is the chief officer of disaster management and coordination. She is also the acting chief officer of water.

In a letter addressed to Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi, Sonko argued that there was a “legal vacuum then, which has not been cured to this day, to provide for a framework for the replacement of a deputy governor”.

Bail terms

“However, the complexity of the situation in Nairobi became more intricate following my arraignment in court in December 2019, and the subsequent bail terms that, among other things, requires me, as governor, to stay out of office until the determination of the matter,” said Sonko.

He went on: “Given the foregoing, and in the interest of ensuring stability at Kenya’s capital city and largest county by economy and population, I do hereby nominate Anne Kananu Mwenda to the position of deputy governor.”

Read Also: How detectives trailed Sonko before dramatic arrest

Ann Kananu Mwenda [Photo: Courtesy]

The governor said his decision was in line with Article 180 (5) of the Constitution and the Supreme Court Advisory of March 2018.

“I therefore humbly urge the Assembly to expedite the vetting process of the said nominee, for purposes of appointment, as per the provisions of the County Government Act, Section 8(1)(a).”

The county has been without a substantive leader after Sonko was arrested last month and charged with money laundering, conflict of interest, abuse of office, acquisition of public funds and conspiracy to commit economic crimes.

Read Also: Inside Sonko's Upper Hill command post: Four hours at his private office

Last year, Sonko told senators that there was no provision in law that compelled him to appoint a deputy. He said he was still ‘consulting to avoid embarrassment’ following the resignation of Polycarp Igathe in 2018.

Meanwhile, Nairobi MCAs will today hold a kamukunji ahead of a special sitting of the assembly set for Thursday to discuss the county’s leadership woes.

This was revealed in a letter by Ms Elachi addressed to Jubilee Majority Leader Charles Thuo and ODM Minority Leader David Mberia.

MCAs have been divided over the court’s decision to bar Sonko from office, with some calling for his ouster and others for his reinstatement.