Kenya: Joho rejects petition to end his political career

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho wants a petition banning him from holding public office to be removed on the grounds that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear it.

The petition says that Mr. Joho and Changamwe MCA Bernard Ogutu, who were found guilty of failing to comply with a court order and fined Sh250,000 and Sh20,000 respectively, have violated Chapter Six of the Constitution and are no longer entitled are to hold their offices.

Mr Joho argues that the petition is not the right way to remove an elected official from office.

“The present petition is not an electoral petition and therefore cannot constitute an appropriate method for the impeachment of the governor under the constitution,” says Joho.

The petition, filed by Mombasa businessman Ashok Doshi and his wife Pratibha, also wants the court to rule that Mr. Joho and Mr. Ogutu are no longer eligible and have lost their qualifications to serve.

How to Remove a Governor

But Mr. Joho says the Constitution and the County Governments Act provide how a governor can be removed from office.

“It is therefore against the law for the petitioners to circumvent the application of all provisions and avoid going to this court for an appeal,” said Mr Joho’s request.

Mr Doshi opposed the motion and stated that Mr Joho was elected to office when he was elected, but that this stopped after his conviction by the Environmental and Regional Court.

He also argues that the couple’s petition is not aimed at removing the governor from office, but rather a statement that the office has become vacant.

Mr Doshi, who says the court has jurisdiction over the case, said Mr Joho could not claim that he had to serve as governor of Mombasa under Article 38 of the Constitution, but that he was no longer entitled to hold it.

“In holding the post of governor of Mombasa after he was no longer eligible for election, Mr Joho has denied the electorate and residents of Mombasa their constitutional right to be represented by a qualified governor,” he says.

The couple argue that by disregarding a court order, the two leaders failed to show respect for the people, thereby violating the Constitution and making them incapable of representing it.

Civil servants

They say that Mr. Joho and Mr. Ogutu are state officials and are required by the constitution to carry out their duties with good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability.

In May, Mr Joho was fined Sh250,000 or a 60-day prison term after being cited for disobeying a court order that prevented district officials from entering the couple’s property.

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