Ngilu, four more governors stare at ouster after Waiguru

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 00:00 |
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and her Kitui counterpart Charity Ngilu at a past event.

As Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru prepares to face her accusers next week, five more county chiefs are in line for the chopping board, with their regional assemblies planning to impeach them over alleged graft and abuse of office.

Governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Salim Mvurya (Kwale), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) and Isiolo’s Mohamed Kuti are not sitting pretty after members of their respective County Assemblies warned that it is not if but when the ouster motions will be tabled.

On Tuesday, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior asked his counterparts to “debate the impeachment motion against Waiguru soberly as they await five more from western, eastern, coast and north eastern regions”, perhaps an indication he was aware of what’s cooking in assemblies.

“Mr. Speaker, Sir I want to ask senators to approach this debate on impeachment of Waiguru in a sober manner bearing in mind there about five more which are coming,” he said.

Impeachment motion

The five governors are engaged in fierce fights with MCAs who have accused them of engaging in plunder of public resources, abuse of office, nepotism and blatant disrespect for the assemblies.

In Kitui, Ngilu, who jumped to the defence of Waiguru after she was impeached by MCAs, has accused Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka of hatching a campaign to remove her from office.

Kitui MCAs have embarked on a signature collection campaign in support of an impeachment motion against Ngilu, the latest in a protracted battle between the executive and the ward reps, majority of who are from Kalonzo’s Wiper party. 

On her part, the governor has initiated a parallel signature collection campaign that could see the county dissolved, effectively subjecting the MCAs to a possible fresh election.

“During my inauguration, Kalonzo warned that I won the governorship but I will have a rough time because his party controls the assembly.

He said mine was a minority government,” she told People Daily yesterday. “If they want to impeach me, so be it.

The MCAs have refused to cooperate to implement my development programmes on instructions from their father Kalonzo who has never initiated a project in Kitui for 35 years.”

Ngilu said apart from refusing to approve her budget and engaging in push and pull, the MCAs have frustrated her efforts to set up a Public Service Board so as to employ essential manpower for delivery of key services, including health workers.

In Isiolo, MCAs want governor Kuti removed over alleged graft and nepotism.

At least 17 members claim the governor has failed to account for funds allocated to the county by the National Treasury.

Speaking to the People Daily, Chari MCA Ali Dima accused the governor of allegedly trying to silence the members whenever they seek accountability for county funds.

They have also questioned the huge allocation of funds to fight Covid-9 pandemic, totalling Sh359 million.

“There is a lot of evil going on in the county government and we are going to fight until the truth comes out.

We want to bring a motion to impeach the governor,” said Ali. Moses Kithinji, a former Bullapesa ward representative has filed a petition seeking to have Kuti declared unfit to hold office over corruption and nepotism allegations.

Kithinji wants the court to declare the governor guilty of misconduct, having allegedly used his position and power to engage in corruption and for failing to comply with the Constitution, Public Finance Management Act, Integrity Act and the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.

But Kuti, who is represented in court by lawyer Ken Muriuki, has filed a notice of preliminary objection, saying the matters raised are under the exclusive jurisdiction of other constitutional bodies and wants the court to throw out the petition that seeks to have him impeached.

In Kwale, governor Mvurya has maintained that he will not bow to demands by MCAs after a section of them vowed to remove him from office after weeks of fighting following their rejection of allocation of Sh160 million for Covid-19 relief food.

Instead, the assembly redirected the money to health services and spared the county executive Sh5 million for the coronavirus food initiative.

Speaker Sammy Ruwa, who has been at loggerheads with the governor, has insisted that the supplementary budget was brought to the assembly “unprocedurally”.

“There is no notice of motion or a plan to oust the governor. He was only summoned to appear before the assembly on June 17, but he did not honour it. He requested for more time to come and shed some light on some development issues,” said Ruwa.

Fatma Masito, a nominated MCA, said the governor has been unable to explain how the Sh160 million supplementary budget would be spent.

Kwale county director of communication Daniel Nyassy termed allegations being raised by the MCAs as “unfounded”.

“What I know is MCAs have summoned the governor to appear before the assembly to explain why he has delayed delivering the county address,” said Nyassy.

In western Kenya’s Bungoma County, the fight between the assembly and governor Wangamati escalated yesterday after MCAs impeached two members of his cabinet.

Health executive Antony Walela and his Public Administration counterpart Richard Sabwami were sent home over corruption allegations.

The MCAs said Mathews Makanda, who heads the Agriculture docket, was next on the chopping board.

Misuse of funds

The MCAs accused the executives of abuse of office, gross misconduct, corruption and misuse of Sh6.9 million coronavirus funds and irregular recruitment of staff. 

The assembly accused Walela of presiding over corruption in the use of money set aside to fight the coronavirus in the county.

He was accused of staying silent when Sh6.9 million was taken from the Bungoma county referral hospital for the purchase of some 600 jerry cans at an exorbitant Sh10,000 each.  

The cost of the 20-litre jerry cans has been the subject of investigations by the anti-corruption commission.

In Trans Nzoia, governor Khaemba has rubbished the MCAs claims and dared them to go ahead and impeach him.

“I’m tired of being arm-twisted by these MCAs who have for long been using these dirty gimmicks in order to force me to give in to their thirst for money,’’ he said .

On Tuesday, the MCAs asked Khaemba to account for money disbursed by the National Treasury since inception of devolution or face impeachment.

“We will remove him because he has refused to act on graft. We intend to remove the education chief officer, minister, chief officer, health and the minister, among others, for deliberately scaling down bursary allocations and misusing Covid-19 funding,” said Hospital MCA Eric Wafula. —Reporting by Harrison Kivisu, David Musundi, Yusuf Masibo and Dorcas Mbatia

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