NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 14 – Kenya appeared set to get its first female Governor after the Senate went ahead to impeach Embu Governor Martin Wambora, and spared his heir apparent, Deputy Governor Dorothy Nditi.
Thirty-nine Senators voted to impeach Wambora for gross violation of the Constitution for abetting corruption.
Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti abstained from the historic vote as Baringo Senator Gideon Moi voted ‘no’ on all counts.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale who led the Senate Special Committee that probed the two found that the embattled Governor violated the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 (PPDA) and PPDA Regulations 2013, the Public Finance and Management Act and the Constitution.
The Senate team said the Governor repeatedly argued that he would never involve himself in matters of procurement which should be an entirely different thing from taking action to deal with those responsible for procurement malpractices.
“Mr Speaker, for that reason this House will be helping Governor Martin Nyagah Wambora; we will be saving him the trouble of having to be in an office where he has no idea what is going on. You will be giving him high blood pressure for nothing… ulcers for nothing; you will be giving him pre-emptive preventative treatment,” Khalwale said.
The report stated that the Governor gave the impression that he had totally removed himself from the controversies surrounding the works of the Embu stadium and defective maize seeds, leaving the matters primarily to the County Secretary, if not to no one in particular.
“This is a Governor who was challenged; ‘why did you give seed maize to farmers worth Sh3.5million’, he said Sh3.5 million is little money that I don’t normally bother about. MPs who control CDF they make use of that amount to move lives.”
“We had expected that CDF was John the Baptist and we had thought that the devolved funds was Jesus Christ, but looks now like John the Baptist in the hands of MPs is doing better than the Jesus Christ (counties) in the hands of an altar boy! (Counties, a man who trained to be a priest, the man who failed to be a priest),” Khalwale told the House.
The charges of abuse of office and violation of the County Governments Act 2012 made against the Embu Governor were, however, found not to have been substantiated by the Senate team.
None of the charges made against Wambora’s deputy Nditi were found to have been substantiated according to the report before the Senate, which let her go scot-free.
In his defence, Governor Wambora maintained his innocence but remained adamant that there was malice in the manner in which the County Assembly handled the impeachment Motion.
“I am here, I am taking the bullet. The oracle has spoken but I will leave this place with my head held high. I can assure you that I will continue contributing to the building of the nation even if I leave this work of a Governor because I have been a spiritual person who works hard professionally,” stated the Embu Governor.
“This Governor must go home, because when you want to be a Governor in the county you must read the constitution and understand you responsibilities; if you want to be a Governor you must be the chief executive of the county but if you have doubts in your mind that you cannot operate as the CEO of the county then you are doing the wrong job,” Siaya County Senator James Orengo stated.
Kiambu Senator Njoroge Wamatangi said: “There has not been even one single sorry to the people of Embu over the maize fiasco.”
Senators who spoke said that after 10 patient months, the Senate had been presented with an opportunity to flex its muscle in oversight of devolved structures.
Migori Senator Wilfred Machage was blunt over ‘extravagant’ Governors who he said had ignored their advice about spending county funds on things that are not for the wellbeing of their constituents. He told Nditi to move with speed and get to the root of the problem.
“Today we are talking about Embu, but whatever is happening in those other counties is worse because they refused to heed to our advice and now they are reaping the fruits of their labour,” said Machage.
Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance said they had summoned up to nine governors to appear before them on issues related to expenditure that have taken place in their respective counties. He added that all Governors should be held responsible for the expenditure and spending in their counties as outlined under Article 125 of the Constitution.
“We have been called names… some have called for the disbandment of this House; some of the politicians have called us a House of retirees but for this House to be respected we must stand up and show that we are hold the oversight role over all State officers,” Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko stated.