, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – The Senate is torn over how to handle court injunctions targeted at them.
This came up at an informal meeting called by Speaker Ekwee Ethuro after Senators failed to agree on whether to go ahead and form a special committee to probe Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana’s impeachment since the embattled governor had obtained court orders barring the Senate from deliberating his impeachment by the County Assembly.
Senators were divided over the matter on whose orders (the courts or the law) they should comply with.
While some members insisted that they should go ahead and form the committee, some argued that going against the court order would surmount to contempt of court while others were of the opinion that even if they defied the courts, judges would overturn the final decision as in the case of Embu Governor Martin Wambora whom the Senate impeached but was reinstated by the High Court.
Last week, Busia Senator Amos Wako expressed the dilemma faced by the Senate over the court order and the legal timelines that the House has to adhere to in conducting its oversight role.
“If we obey the order that has been issued about Makueni, then it means we are not following the strict timelines set out under the Constitution, so whom do we obey – you obey the courts and violate the law or do you adhere to the law and disobey the courts?” Wako posed.
Since the Senators failed to reach a consensus, the matter was forwarded to the Rules and Business committee which is chaired by the Speaker to give direction on the way forward.
Two weeks ago, 35 members of the Makueni County Assembly voted in favour of a motion proposing the impeachment of the Governor whom they accuse of gross violation of the Constitution including refusing to consider, approve and assent to Bills passed by the assembly, contrary to section 30(2) of the County Governments Act 2012.
Already Speaker Ethuro has received the impeachment instruments from the Makueni County Assembly Speaker.
And in light of this and the ever increasing court cases targeted at the Senate, the House was set to form a committee to monitor the court cases which impact on its constitutional mandate.
The 13-member ad-hoc Committee would be chaired by Busia Senator Amos Wako and whose members would comprise Senators with a legal background including, Kembi Gitura(Murang’a), Kithure Kindiki(Tharaka Nithi), Moses Wetangula(Bungoma), Kiraitu Murungi(Meru), Fatuma Dullo(Nominated), Mutula Kilonzo Jnr(Makueni), Stephen Sang(Nandi), Boni Khalwale(Kakamega), Hassan Omar(Mombasa), Judith Sijeny(Nominated) and Kipchumba Murkomen(Elgeyo Marakwet).
Speaker Ekwee Ethuro will be an ex officio member.