, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – High Court Judges Hedwig Ong’udi (Presiding), Cecilia Githua and Boaz Olao have clarified that they have not reinstated Martin Wambora as Embu Governor.
In a clarification of the interim orders they issued on February 19, the judges explained that they had simply suspended the gazette notice that notified the public of the Senate’s removal of Wambora.
“In our view, staying the gazette notice does not amount to staying the decision of the Senate or reinstating Mr Wambora back to office. The gazette notice was merely notifying the public about the decision of the Senate,” they explained.
They said they were yet to determine the question of Wambora’s reinstatement which is at the crux of the petition he has filed with the court.
“The issue of reinstating Mr Wambora is a matter that is still pending in the court. Parties are therefore advised to desist from making comments that are prejudicial to these proceedings. They are further advised to desist from giving their own interpretations to orders given by this court,” the bench cautioned.
The interpretation that the court had reinstated Wambora through its February 19 ruling did not sit well with both houses of Parliament which have on numerous occasions accused the Judiciary of interfering with matters that do not concern them.
“As far as the Senate is concerned, Governor Wambora was impeached on Friday, February 14 and no court can undo that process because that would be unconstitutional and amount to a dangerous and unprecedented affront to the integrity, legitimacy, and independence to the Legislature. They say courts can only interpret laws. Parliament is only subservient to the people of Kenya,” Senate Majority Leader Kindiki Kithure stated.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has also thrown his weight behind the Senate arguing that Governors should not hide behind judicial processes and should make themselves available when summoned by the people’s representatives in the spirit of accountability.
“It is pointless for a Governor to think he is a law unto himself, even me as the President I am not a law unto myself – I am accountable to the National Assembly; I must be accountable. Everybody must be accountable because how else will we establish transparency in this country?” he posed.
The Council of Governor’s has since softened its stance toward the Senate after having stated that they would not honour summons to appear before it until the Supreme Court determines who should be held accountable for county finances.
“We hold the view that County Executive Officers are the ones responsible for the keeping and maintaining the records. A Governor’s job is purely administrative but we have to find a way of working together and we are ready to talk with Senators,” the Council Chairman, Isaac Ruto stated on Saturday.