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D-day for fight to save or slay Waiguru

Monday June 15 2020
ANNE

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru in a past photo. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
By ONYANGO K’ONYANGO

The battle to save or sacrifice besieged Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru begins today as she prepares her defence to face a divided Jubilee-dominated Senate.

And the governor, despite silent support from the who’s who in the political field, seems to have left her fate to God.

Asked to respond on the enormity of the matter to be debated in the Senate, Ms Waiguru only had two words: Mungu mbele (God first).

Despite the sword of Damocles hanging over her head, Ms Waiguru’s hopes lie in her political connections that are likely to play out in the debate for her ouster.

Today, the Senate will determine if the governor will be heard by a select committee of 11 members or the plenary.

UPHILL TASK

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While the Kieleweke faction of the Senate that supports President Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga and the BBI are reportedly fighting to save the county boss, those allied to Deputy President William Ruto want her out of office.

Following the removal of former Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki, a DP ally, Ms Waiguru is, however, likely to have a head start as she supports the President and Mr Odinga.

Already ODM party has thrown its weight behind her but it will not be smooth sailing for the leader nicknamed minji minji.

Ms Waiguru is likely to face an uphill task in the divided Jubilee-dominated Senate, which is fighting to control her impeachment process.

She was impeached last Tuesday after 23 MCAs out of 33 voted in favour of the motion by Mutira MCA Kinyua Wangui to remove her from office. Four MCAs abstained while six were absent.

Observers reckon that Ms Waiguru’s support for the handshake between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga has seen marked changes in how she has been conducting her politics.

She decamped to the Kenyatta-Odinga faction after ditching the pro-Ruto group, which she accused of only being interested in criticising the President’s development record and championing the DP’s political interests instead of pushing for the region’s interests.

NATIONAL POLITICS

This appeared to be a springboard that catapulted her into national politics as she became among the faces of BBI rallies spearheaded by Mr Odinga.

With time, she has turned out to be the government’s foremost defender on a number of issues, especially the war on graft and the Big Four Agenda.

And, owing to the advantage of numbers in the Senate, coupled with the power of incumbency, it remains to be seen whether Senate will agree with Kirinyaga MCAs.

There has been intense lobbying over the impeachment, but the political rivalry between DP Ruto and Mr Odinga is likely to play out in the Senate. On Sunday, ODM’s director of elections, Mr Junet Mohammed, said ODM would defend Ms Waiguru.

But Monday, Mr Odinga dismissed claims of whipping ODM senators to save the besieged county boss. Speaking to Citizen TV, the politician said senators should exercise their right to make a verdict on the former Devolution CS without influence.

“The Senate should work independently and those charged to defend themselves based on the facts presented,” Mr Odinga said.

The DP’s allies also waded into the debate on whether or not the Senate should approve the governor’s impeachment.

SAVE WAIGURU

Bomet Senator Christopher Lang’at told the Nation that the past records are clear and there is no need of ODM coming to the defence of the county boss.

Dr Lang’at said by ODM coming out to save Ms Waiguru, the move is meant to sabotage the current government so that they will later use it to campaign against Jubilee Party.

“The impeachment of Governor (Waiguru) should follow the law and not be spared because of her association with certain politicians. For the last seven years, Ms Waiguru’s records have been too conspicuous, therefore, ODM should not glorify any graft so that it will use it later to campaign against us,” Senator Lang’at said.

The governor’s case is a litmus test to the sovereignty of the Senate, he said, claiming that the House is no longer independent to serve its purpose.

“When the impeachment of Ferdinand Waititu was brought to the full plenary, it became very hard to manipulate the senators, but with Waiguru’s case heading to a committee of eight-to-10 individuals, they will be compromised making the Senate an appendage of political parties,” he added.

Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata told the Nation that they will give the governor a ruling according to the evidence and defence which will be tabled.

“Jubilee Party will wait for evidence in support of the impeachment to be tabled plus the defence, scrutinise both and render a fair and objective verdict,” Mr Kang’ata said.

EVIDENCE

According Jubilee deputy secretary-general Caleb Kositany, the governor will be subjected to a fair hearing and in case there is enough evidence to support the grounds raised by the Kirinyaga MCAs, the party will not interfere in the process.

“The position of the party is what President Kenyatta said recently, that anyone found in graft will have to carry his/her own cross and Governor Waiguru is not an exception,” Mr Kositany, also the Soy MP, said.

Belgut MP Nelson Koech and his Keiyo South counterpart Daniel Rono claimed that ODM is not sincere in the fight against corruption, and accused the party of bias.

“I’ve always believed that ODM and its leadership is overrated when it comes to ethics, governance and democracy. It is unfortunate how those alleged to be corrupt are trooping to Capitol Hill to be cleansed and come out as white as snow,” Mr Koech said.

“ODM is not and has never been sincere with corruption; they’re glorifying graft.”

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