Bernard Kiala narrowly survives impeachment - Daily Nation

Machakos Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala survives impeachment

Friday August 15 2014

Machakos Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala during a Senate committee hearing on his impeachment at County Hall on August 11, 2014. Mr Kiala escaped impeachment after Senators rejected a report by a special committee on August 15, 2014. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA |

Machakos Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala during a Senate committee hearing on his impeachment at County Hall on August 11, 2014. Mr Kiala escaped impeachment after Senators rejected a report by a special committee on August 15, 2014. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION TEAM
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Embattled Machakos Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala Friday night escaped impeachment after Senators rejected a report by a special committee.

A total of 17 Senators, a majority from Cord, voted in support of the Deputy Governor while five voted for impeachment.

The vote was almost put off after Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro said there was no quorum.

But the 15 Senators in the House at 9pm demanded that the voting takes place.

The House then took a break for an hour to allow Jubilee to whip its members back to take part in the vote that was concluded shortly after 11pm.

HEATED DEBATE

Before the vote Senators engaged in a heated debate as they discussed a report that recommended the removal of Mr Kiala from office.

Ten out of 11 members of a special committee that investigated the county official’s conduct found him guilty and recommended his impeachment.

They concluded that Mr Kiala should be impeached on grounds of gross violation of the National Cohesion and Integration Act and abuse of office.

Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar Hassan, who was the dissenting member of the committee, argued that the accusations against Mr Kiala did not meet the threshold for impeachment.

Mr Hassan, whose minority view is appended in the committee’s final report, argued that the impeachment proceedings were premature as other avenues for resolution of the matter had not been exhausted.

Dismissing the allegations as trivial, Mr Hassan said out of the 24 accusations against the deputy governor, only three could be substantiated.

Senate Leader of Minority Moses Wetang’ula joined him in opposing the report.

Mr Wetang’ula said the Senate committee had no authority to try Mr Kiala on allegations of hate speech. He said such matters should be left to the relevant authorities like the courts.

“The committee is an agent of the House and doesn’t bind the House. The Senate will be failing if we rubber-stamp this mischief,” he said.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who chairs the Senate Devolution Committee, echoed Mr Wetangula’s sentiments saying the Senate was on trial.

“Let us sit down and think through this, we must make a decision that will make the whole House to move together.

As Senate we should remain mature enough to make a decision that will not put this House in disrepute,” he cautioned.

OPPOSING ARGUMENTS

Nominated Senator Agnes Zani (ODM) opposed the motion, saying it lacked “heavy grounds” for his removal.

Opposing arguments also came from Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang’ and his Kisumu counterpart Anyang’ Nyong’o, who said no sufficient evidence had been adduced to back the allegations.

However, Kiambu Senator Kimani wa Matangi supported Mr Kiala’s sacking.

Mr Wa Matangi argued that  seven out of the 11 members of the Senate who recommended impeachment could not have erred.

Reports by Caroline Wafula, Samuel Karanja, Mazera Ndurya and Isaac Ongiri

EDITOR'S NOTE - Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen voted against the motion to impeach Machakos Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala. We apologise to Mr Murkomen for the error in an earlier version of this that he supported Mr Kiala's sacking.

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