Governor Waiguru case puts Senate on the spot

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 00:00 |
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru. Photo/PD/FILE

The impeachment of Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru by the county assembly has kicked off a furious debate on four issues: fight against corruption, mwananchi’s voice in governance, devolution and independence of the Senate.  

Waiguru’s troubles with members of the county assembly and Members of Parliament boiled over when the assembly voted to impeach her.

In her defence, she dismisses the graft allegations levelled against her and  blames her woes on her political enemies.

She is neither the first nor the last county chief to face the impeachment whip over alleged financial impropriety and failure to account for funds. 

Tragically, flawed governance and plunder presided over the county administrations have killed the devolution dream that was the single most transformative agenda in the 2010 Constitution. 

While those being asked to account for the actions may cry witch-hunt, the fundamental question is that Wanjiku has a right to demand accountability from leaders— and if not satisfied, the law has given the instruments to enforce that right through the established institutions.

It was, therefore, sad that the Tuesday debate in the Senate, the custodian of the devolution dream, degenerated into a shouting match. 

Unfortunately, political expediency and mere procedural shenanigans took centre stage and the serious charges were buried in the din of accusations and counter-accusations.  

While the jury is still out there on this Senate, its conduct in the recent past has left Kenyans conflicted on which way for a House that so much was expected from.

After so much brouhaha on whether to try the governor in committee or plenary, those for the committee carried the day leading to an endorsement of 11-member team, which is expected to deliver a guilty or no guilty verdict on Waiguru.

Now the ball is in the court of the 11 senators to interrogate the veracity of the allegations. Kenyans expect them to rise above selfish interests and guard the integrity of the august House. 

The Waiguru case will be a test on the fight against graft, a cancer that the Building Bridges Initiative birthed by the Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga has promised to cure. But above all, it must restate the justice and morality in public leadership.

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