Governors seek clarity on impeachment threshold

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 00:00 |
Kisii Governor James Ongwae addresses the press at a past event. Photo/PD/file

Hillary Mageka  @hillarymageka

The Council of Governors (CoG) plans to move to court today to seek an interpretation on the threshold for removal of county bosses from office amid claims of persecution

Besides, the CoG wants courts to also establish rationale of night Gazette Notices on the removal from office of impeached governors in the wake of claims of possible abuse of the Government Printer.

The Senate in particular, in a record one year, has sent packing three governors through impeachment and ensured their chance of seeking redress is denied through the night gazette notices.

CoG further claims senators and Ward Reps have turned into ‘lynch mobs’ and sent three governors packing on flimsy that are not even impeccable grounds.

While protesting what they termed a worrying trend, the CoG has cited the impeachment of former governors Mike Sonko (Nairobi), Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) and Mohamed Mohamud (Wajir), all who have seemingly been politically persecuted, saying the impeachment process must be anchored in legitimacy and impartiality.

Last resort

Concerns by the governors come  even as impeachment motions are being mooted against Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Ali Korane (Garissa), Amos Nyaribo (Nyamira), James Nyoro (Kiambu) and Vihiga’s Wilberforce Otichillo.

Sources at CoG offices told People Daily that the decision to move to court is the last resort arrived at on Friday during the extra ordinary meeting that discussed among other issues, the impeachment of Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mahamud. 

Governors who attended the meeting, including the ousted Wajir county boss, claimed the current impeachment process is political and had turned them  into victims of their respective county Assemblies and the Senate.

Emerging from the council meeting on Friday, CoG vice-chairman Governor James Ongwae decried that the threshold of removing other holders of public office such as MPs and those of the county Assembly was seemingly higher than that of governors.

“The threshold for the impeachment of governors is becoming lower. We are getting into situations where procedural and administrative duties that do not fall under governors are actually impeachable,” Ongwae told journalists at Delta House on Friday, Westlands Nairobi.

“The council shall engage relevant institutions to streamline court pronouncements with the law so that the impeachment process can be anchored in legitimacy and impartiality,” he added.

Political proces

Ongwae opined that the governor’s forum will seek to be enjoined in the case by former Wajir governor challenging his removal and installation of Ahmed Ali Muktar as his successor.

“While we appreciate the fact that impeachment is both legal and a political process, the rule of law should prevail while undertaking the same,” said Ongwae, also the Kisii Governor.

The county chiefs underscored the need for all bodies involved to be guided by the Constitution and principles laid down by the courts on the threshold of impeachment.

CoG has asked the oversight bodies to remain cognizant of the legal principles surrounding impeachment so that the excise is not abused.

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