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County bosses not at ease as ward reps push for their ouster

Saturday June 27 2020
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Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SAMWEL OWINO

At least five governors are facing impeachment threats over alleged corruption and abuse of office.

The five are Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Salim Mvurya (Kwale), Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia).

On Friday, however, Ms Ngilu got a reprieve from the High Court after it suspended the tabling and debating of the impeachment motion against her that was scheduled for Monday.

The court directed her to serve her pleadings and submissions by the end of today to the Speaker and clerk of the assembly, who have been listed as respondents.

In Trans Nzoia, MCA have told the county chief to account for every coin that has been channelled to the devolved unit since the beginning of devolution or face ouster.

Even as the Senate yesterday saved Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru after she was impeached by the county assembly, her Kitui counterpart is staring at the possibility of being impeached.

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The impeachment motion, which has already been signed by 40 MCAs out of 56, seeks to oust the governor on allegations of violating the Constitution, abuse of office and failure to account for public funds.

Ms Ngilu, who is one of the pioneer women county leaders, is accused of undermining the authority of the county assembly and conflict of interest in awarding county tenders.

Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang told the Saturday Nation that the upsurge in impeachment motions could be an indication that county assemblies are becoming more assertive in their oversight roles.

Mr Kajwang’ however said there is an urgent need to review the process.

“The impeachment process needs serious review as captured in the Impeachment Procedure Bill that the Senate passed and is currently in the second reading in the National Assembly. Issues to do with public participation, timelines, threshold among others must be reviewed,” Mr Kajwang’ said.

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi also weighed in on the matter, pointing out that MCAs now understand their mandate better and are alarmed at the wanton plunder of resources in counties.

Secretary-General of the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) Kipkurui Chepkwony blamed governors on the increased wave of impeachments, saying the county chiefs do not respect MCAs.

“I agree with MCAs on the impeachments because when answers on a number of issues are not forthcoming from county executive committee members, then MCAs have no option but to go for the governor,” Mr Chepkwony said.

In Kwale, Mr Mvurya has been in a tussle with his MCAs after they rejected his allocation of Sh160 million for coronavirus pandemic relief food.

The governor has maintained he will not be cowed by the reps, who have now threatened to impeach him over the standoff.Bungoma’s Wangamati is on the spot over the purchase of some 600 jerrycans at an exorbitant Sh10,000 each, a matter that is now being investigated by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption commission.

In Isiolo County, Mr Kuti is facing the wrath of MCAs, who have accused him of misusing funds allocated to the county by the national government.

Further, Mr Kuti is also facing accusations of corruption and nepotism.

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