Waiguru loses bid to nullify impeachment
Bernice Mbugua and Githinji Mwangi
Embattled Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru suffered a major blow yesterday after the High Court dismissed an application challenging her ouster.
Justice Weldon Korir declined to grant orders suspending any resolution passed by Kirinyaga County Assembly regarding her impeachment, saying the MCAs had proven that they did not violate the orders he had given earlier.
According to the judge, the MCAs had complied with the Covid-19 regulations.
On April 7, Korir had issued an order stopping the impeachment motion against Waiguru pending the hearing and determination of a suit she had filed or the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic, whichever event occurs first.
The embattled governor moved to court on Tuesday in an amended petition to stop the said impeachment. She accused the MCAs of contempt of court orders which had stopped the impeachment in April.
Justice Korir, however, dismissed the application with costs and declined to declare the proceedings of the impeachment motion null and void.
“The application is dismissed with cost,” ruled the judge.
In her application, the governor had claimed she only came to learn about the impending tabling and discussion of the impeachment motion on Monday night when she was informed that the MCAs were sleeping in the County Assembly waiting to move and pass the motion in the morning.
Waiguru had argued that the tabling, discussion and passing of the impeachment motion violated her rights as well as the members of the public who have not been given a chance to participate in the process.
“As Covid-19 pandemic has not been contained nor the petition been heard and determined, the respondents are in contempt of the order of this honourable court and unless this court grants the orders sought in the Notice of Motion, my rights will be grossly violated,” she argued.
According to the Governor, the impeachment proceedings were carried out without granting her a right to be heard.
“Further, to allow the impeachment proceedings at whatever stage to proceed while the order of this court subsists is to allow mockery of the orders issued by this court and renders the orders of this court in vain,”she claimed.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Kirinyaga residents took to the streets yesterday in support of Waiguru’s impeachment over alleged corruption.
The protesters, who brought business in Kutus town, the headquarters of Kirinyaga county, to a standstill appealed to the Senate to give the impeachment trial a sober hearing.
Waiguru’s fate is now in the hands of the Senate after members of the Kirinyaga County Assembly impeached her on Tuesday.
The MCAs have already submitted the impeachment proceedings to the Senate for the governor’s trial.
The protesters asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to rally his Jubilee Party senators to support the impeachment as a demonstration of his commitment to the war on corruption.
“We know our President has declared total war on corrupt government officers and governors in the country.
He should come out and support Kirinyaga residents the same way he did to people of Kiambu,” said one of the protesters in reference to removal of former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu last December where the President gave Jubilee senators a free hand.
Abubakal Omar, a protester, pleaded with Uhuru not to allow any political horse trading that could save the governor.
He attributed the shortage of drugs in local hospitals and the pathetic state of roads to the alleged corruption by the county government.
“We are aware that some politicians want to evoke the gender issue to defeat justice but we have confidence our President is determined to slay the dragon of corruption,” said Omar.
According to papers tabled in the Assembly during the impeachment motion, Verocity Partners was paid Sh50 million for services not rendered.
Waiguru is also accused of signing and obtaining Sh10.6 million imprest though she did not travel.
Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju has, however, defended Waiguru accusing the MCAs of violating a court order and vowed to institute disciplinary action.
“The matter is already in the Senate. Due process will be allowed into conclusion but the party will take disciplinary action against the Kirinyaga County Assembly leadership,” said Tuju.