, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 16 – Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya moved to the High Court on Wednesday in a bid to avoid prosecution for failing to comply with a Senate summons.
In the petition Oparanya contends that he should not be prosecuted for disobeying an unlawful order as the Senate had no power to summon him.
He has argued that it is the County Assembly and not the Senate which is mandated to put his County Government to task over queries raised in Auditor General reports.
“The Senate cannot scrutinise county expenditures in the same way that the committees and general assemblies of the county Legislature can. At most, if a County Assembly is considering a financial or Auditor General’s report, the Senate should be simultaneously seized of the matter in a manner that does not undermine or compete with the County Assembly,” Oparanya avers in his petition.
He has accused the Senate of undermining the Kakamega County Assembly by failing to allow it complete debate on the Auditor General’s report in question.
“On September 11, the Speaker of the County Assembly of Kakamega wrote a letter to the Clerk of the Senate stating the Auditor General’s report they wanted to examine was before the County Assembly for consideration and sought indulgence for the County Assembly to complete its work of the said report,” the petition reads.
Oparanya bases his argument on Article 189 of the Constitution which requires all levels of government to operate in cognisance of the roles of other institutions.
He’s also accused Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale of orchestrating the prosecution in order to get a leg up in the forthcoming election.
“The impugned witness summons against Oparanya were issued by a committee that is chaired by one Senator Boni Khalwale. The Senator has publicly declared his intention to vie for Kakamega County Governor position against Oparanya. As a result the Senator has perpetrated a hate campaign against Oparanya,” the petition accuses.
Following Oparanya’s move to the High Court, the prosecution advised Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo to hold off on having the accused plead to the charge of disobeying a lawful order.
The petition will be heard on January 4.