NAIROBI, Kenya, May 28 – Governor Paul Chepkwony has urged the Senate Special Committee probing his impeachment by Members of the Kericho County Assembly (MCAs) to reject the ouster bid, because they did not follow proper procedure.
Chepkwony, who was represented by his lawyer Peter Wanyama, told the inaugural sitting that the MCAs breached House Standing Orders while impeaching him.
The Governor has also accused the Kericho County Assembly Speaker of failing to discharge his mandate in accordance with the Standing Orders on the day the Governor was purportedly impeached, by allowing a drunken MCA to participate.
“The Senators will be considering whether the Governor is on trial or whether the Speaker is actually the one who is on trial. He was reluctant to throw out an MCA who was heavily drunk; he never invoked the House Standing Orders to ensure the proceedings were carried out in a dignified manner,” Wanyama said.
He argued that Chepkwony had no chance of getting justice and a fair hearing because the Kericho County Speaker had boasted on several occasions, including during demonstrations, that he would ensure Chepkwony was impeached.
Chepkwony’s lawyer continued: “We will also be demonstrating that the Speaker started the proceedings of the House, outside the House, where he was the MC when there was a demonstration against the Governor; where he invited people to speak very badly about the Governor… where he also indicated that he was going to have the Governor fired.”
Wanyama likened the May 14 impeachment to a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ because the MCAs did not indicate the specific procurement rules flouted by the Governor leading to his impeachment.
Wanyama argued before the Chris Obure-led committee that Chepkwony was being vilified for implementing development projects beneficial to the people of Kericho, which the County Assembly initially supported.
Chepkwony’s legal team further argued that no money was lost in the projects.
But this was rebuffed by the Kericho County Assembly lead counsel Charles Njenga, who maintained that due process was followed during the impeachment in line with Article 181 of the Constitution.
“We shall be demonstrating that this is not a witch-hunt. The moment you commit the county into contracts and then you seek to purport that they were revoked; you must realise there is an accrued liability on the county.”
“So that act of the Governor to try and ‘undo’ the damage that was already done does not exonerate the county from liability in the event they are sued by the parties in those contracts,” Njenga told the Senate Committee sitting.
He defended members of the County Assembly against allegations of being extortionists, arguing that the Governor failed to stop a flawed procurement process of solar power.
“Assemblies have been vilified… they have been told that by asking questions, you are greedy; you are power hungry, you are extortionists. That is missing the point completely. The assemblies are there in the Constitution and in our statutes to precisely do that; ask questions! If they stop asking questions, then we should remove them,” the counsel said.
The Kericho County Governor was impeached over allegations of unlawfully procuring or permitting procurement of goods and services without following due process contrary to the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.
The Governor is also faulted for allegedly violating the provision of the County Government Act and Public Procurement Act on grants and donations and failing to follow due process regarding public and private partnerships.
Chepkwony is further accused of recruiting personnel and creating offices in the county contrary to Sections 59, 60, 61 and 62 of the County Government Act.
The Senate Committee is determining if the Governor’s impeachment was procedural before submitting their report by Tuesday next week.