, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – The Senate committee on devolved government has suspended its probe of the Makueni county conflict to pave way for the Senate to commence the impeachment process of embattled Governor Kivutha Kibwana.
The committee Chairman, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said it was impractical for the committee and the Senate to conduct investigations at the same time as the affected parties would be expected to present their grievances twice.
“We thought that his committee should suspend the inquiry of Makueni until such time as the Senate has concluded the other legal processes of impeachment—in the meantime, section 33 of the County Government Act is very clear, the governor continues to perform the functions of a governor in Makueni until Senate completes its process,” Murkomen stated.
The devolved government committee was expected to hold a three–day probe from Tuesday where the governor, the County Assembly, the Controller of Budget and the public were expected to give their views on the cause of the friction, in a bid to find a lasting solution.
“Inviting the Governor to come to this committee at this point in time and inviting him again to come to a committee of the Senate listening to impeachment would almost be like forcing him to go through the same process twice,” said Murkomen in a bid to justify the Senate’s suspension of the probe.
But even as the Senate commences its investigation, a court order stands in the way of their work, after Kibwana went to court to bar it (Senate) from discussing his ouster.
Kibwana’s lawyer Wilfred Nyamu filed a case under a certificate of urgency on the resolution by the Makueni County Assembly paving the way for the impeachment of the governor.
Nyamu said: “Unless this court intervenes and grants temporary relief, the Senate will proceed to discuss and act on the recommendation of the county assembly, which has since passed a motion to remove Prof Kivutha Kibwana.”
“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.
The Speaker is yet to give direction on whether the Senate will respect the court orders. Clerk of the Senate Jeremiah Nyegenye has confirmed that the Speaker’s office on Friday last week received Impeachment documents from Makueni County Assembly.
Others who have faced impeachment motions include Martin Wambora (Embu), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho) and Bernard Kiala (Deputy Governor, Machakos).
Only Embu’s Martin Wambora stands impeached, the rest were cleared of the allegations levelled against them.