Taita Taveta: Samboja ends drive to collect signatures
Taita-Taveta Governor Granton Samboja has survived impeachment after senators rejected allegations advanced by the County Assembly seeking his removal from office.
According to a report tabled by a special 11-member Senate committee constituted to investigate the matter, none of the particulars of the allegations against the governor were substantiated.
As such, the petition did not meet the constitutional threshold for impeachment.
“The committee has investigated the matter in accordance with its mandate under section 33 (4) of the County Government Act and standing order, 75 (2) of the Senate reports to the House that it finds none of the allegations against the governor substantiated,” says the report by the committee chaired by Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga.
Taita-Taveta County Assembly had accused governor Samboja of gross violation of the Constitution, the County Governments Act, the Public Finance Management Act, and the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.
Other accusations included illegal recruitment of casual workers, irregular procurement of a drilling rig and shipping of three paramedic ambulances, failure or delay in remittance of statutory deductions to NHIF, KRA, and NSSF.
Even as Senators shot down his impeachment, the special committee has recommended that the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) investigates three of the seven charges leveled against the governor and his administration.
“The committee recommends that EACC investigates these matters and takes appropriate action within sixty (60) days and report to the Senate on action taken,” the report tabled yesterday reads in part.
The committee also found that the county had not absorbed a substantial portion of its development budget, amounting to Sh1.2 billion.
The governor was also found guilty of failing to submit to the County Assembly an annual report on the implementation status of the county policies and plans as required by section 30 (2) (j) of the County Government Act, 2012.
Meanwhile, Senators have called for a cease-fire between the members of the MCAs and the governor for the betterment of the county.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula wants a mediation process be initiated led by the Devolution and Inter-Governmental Relations committee chaired by Laikipia Senator John Kinyua.
“Attempts to bring them together was rudely and rebuffed by the governor, he would not hear any of it. However, you can escape the dragon round one but get it in round two. Samboja should appreciate,” Wetangula said.
Senate Majority Leader and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator, Kipchumba Murkomen said the committee had acquitted itself that they had personal vendetta.
“The governor disrespected this House by not appearing and injuncting the committee but it focused on nothing but the law,” Murkomen said.
Senate minority leader James Orengo said defeat of the impeachment motion should be a lesson to all County Assemblies as they need to do “some little homework” before taking such to the Senate.
Samboja is the fourth governor to be recommended for impeachment by ward representatives, and the third to be rescued by the Senate.
Others were Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony and his Murang’a counterpart Mwangi Wa Iria who kept their jobs after the accusations against them were dropped by the senators.
However, Embu Governor Martin Wambora had to go through courts to retain his office after ouster was okayed by Senate.