Spare us impeachment motions please, Governors tell MCAs and Senators
Governors have decried harassment and intimidation by Senators and Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) over impeachment threats.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Mombasa County, the Council of Governors (COG) Chairman Martin Wambora said governors are not satisfied with how Senators and MCAs carried out the impeachment of former Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mahamud.
According to Wambora, both the County Assembly and the Senate violated court orders that had barred them from debating the impeachment motion.
Besides, the council criticized the 11-member committee chaired by Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni for deliberately failing to consider the governor's exonerating evidence on health as captured by the Nation survey Report on health published in May 2019.
“The Senate lowering the standard of proof and the threshold on impeachment matters and thus exposing the Counties to political upheavals,” Wambora said in a statement.
“On the face of it, the impeachment process appears to be a political witch hunt, a vice that should not be allowed to disrupt governance,” Wambora’s statement added, disputing the standard set of what amounts to gross violations of the Constitution.
Some 37 out 45 Wajir MCAs voted to impeach Governor Mahamud on April 27th accusing him of having flouted the County Government Act, Public Procurement Act and Asset Disposal Act and the Public Finance Management Act among other allegations.
On Monday, twenty-five (25) senators upheld the ouster motion on grounds of gross violation of the Constitution despite most of the senators discrediting the grounds of his ouster before the vote.
During the roll-call vote, 25 voted for his ouster, two (2) against while four (4) abstained from the vote.
Wambora, also, the Embu County Chief, said in the Kirinyaga case, the Senate acquitted Governor Anne Waiguru, who has been charged with a similar violation of degrading the health standard of residents of Kirinyaga County.
In their verdict, the Senator Okong’o Omogeni-led panel found that the allegation of violation of the Right to Health of the People of Wajir County to have substantiated and recommended to the House to uphold Mahamud’s ouster.
“The committee finds that the allegation was proved and was therefore substantiated,” the 144 page report read in part, adding that the allegation meets the threshold for impeachment of the governor under Article 181 of the constitution
“The committee, therefore, finds that charge one on gross violation of the constitution of Kenya, the county government act 2012, the public procurement and asset disposal act, 2015 and the public finance management act 2012 has been substantiated,’ the report adds.
Governor Mahamud, appearing before the whole House on Monday, said while the committee had found him culpable of deteriorating health status it was not an issue which was impeachable.
In his opinion, the impeachment before the House does not actually meet the threshold.
“It may be impeachable but it cannot amount to gross violation of the Constitution. I'm saying this because we've done a lot in the county since I became Governor of Wajir,” the governor told senators on Monday, adding that a lot has been done besides health.
In rejoinder, the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) CAF Chairperson Wahome Ndegwa dismissed the anti-impeachment calls saying governors have nothing to fear if they have neither trespassed nor transgressed the law.
According to Ndegwa said the rift between governors and MCAs is caused by the county chiefs’ condescending approach to issues, and the “desire to treat the assemblies as the junior arm of the county government”.
“If the governors would surrender the documents required by assemblies and respond to assemblies’ inquiries, these issues would not be there,” he told People Daily on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the COG has also taken issue with the hurried manner in which Mahamud’s deputy Ahmed Ali Muktar was sworn in quick succession.
According to the governors’, provisions of Assumptions of office of a Governor Act was violated.
The law (Assumption of Office of the Governor Act 2019) requires publication and notification of the swearing-in ceremony in Kenya and the county Gazette stating the date, time, and venue.
The section also requires a governor to be sworn in the first Thursday after the 10th day following the declaration of results.
The provisions should apply with necessary modifications to the swearing-in ceremony of the deputy governor who assumes the office of the governor.
The council also took issue with night gazette notices which they allege has denied impeached governors chances of seeking redress.
In three scenarios, during, the impeachment of Governors Mike Sonko (Nairobi) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) gazette notices were issued at night immediately they were ousted from office.