Kenyan Governors Move to Court Seeking Protection from Ruling Blocking Besieged Colleagues from Office

Kenyan Governors Move to Court Seeking Protection from Ruling Blocking Besieged Colleagues from Office

The Council of Governors (CoG) has moved to court to challenge a landmark ruling by the High Court that all county chiefs charged with graft be barred from office until their cases are heard and determined.

In a petition filed on Monday, the county bosses who are seeking protection from the harsh ruling question its constitutionality.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Inspector General of Police are listed as respondents in the case.

High Court Judge Makau Mutua certified the case urgent and ordered that direction on hearing the petition be given by a panel of three judges on October 21, 2020.

The ruling to bar governors charged with graft from office was delivered by Justice Mumbi Ngugi in July last year.

In the ruling, Ngugi held that governors, just like other civil servants, should step aside once charged with criminal offences and their roles taken over by their deputies for the duration of the trial.

Justice Ngugi upheld Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti’s ruling barring Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal from accessing his office over Ksh84 million graft case.

“What message does it send to the citizens if their leaders are charged with serious corruption offences and are in office the following day, overseeing the affairs of the institution?” she said.

The precedent-setting ruling has turned into a nightmare for besieged county bosses.

County bosses affected include Mike Sonko (Nairobi), Okoth Obado (Migori) and more recently Garissa Governor Ali Korane and his Tharaka Nithi counterpart Muthomi Njuki who were charged with Ksh233 million and Sh34 million graft respectively.

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