, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 – The fate of a petition where Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua is accused of mistreating his deputy Bernard Kiala now lies with Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro.
Senate Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee Temporary Chairman Mutula Kilonzo Junior said Ethuro will have to make a ruling on whether handling the petition will interfere with an ongoing court process.
In the petition, Kiala wanted the Senate to compel Mutua to provide him with minutes of all the County Executive Committee meetings held in his absence, provide him with an official car befitting the status of Deputy Governor, pay security detail attached to him, pay him all the outstanding allowances and to also reimburse all the expenses incurred while on official duty.
Kiala’s lawyer John Khaminwa said the Senate team should hear and conclude the matter because Kiala has been blocked from executing his duties as the Deputy Governor.
“Here we have a case of a deputy governor, being paid a salary and yet he is not allowed to sit in the cabinet, he is not given any work at all, with respect this is abuse of power. This is arrogance of the last order and they come here and they want to hide themselves under the sub judice rule. May I say Senators what is happening is totally unacceptable,” Khaminwa stated.
Machakos Governor last week urged the Senate Committee to surcharge Kiala for absenteeism. He said the Deputy Governor has only reported to work twice in the last 15 months and wants him to refund Sh9 million paid to him over the period.
Kiala who was present narrated to the Committee how he had been frustrated from carrying out his duties including performing county activities and being blocked from attending County Executive Committee meetings.
“I have never at one time acted while the Governor is out of the country. I don’t sit in any executive meeting and I am also not invited to any of the county functions.”
“I last sat in the county executive meeting on July 7, 2014, that is the time I mentioned that, I was ejected from the committee and that is the time my impeachment started,” he said.
Mutua’s lawyer Wilfred Nyamu said the Senate should allow the High Court to make a determination on the case to avoid causing confusion.
“It would be not only sub judice but an abuse of both the senate and the High Court. As it is if you look at the petition and the orders that have been sort in the high court the subject matter is the same. They are at liberty, if they chose to come before the senate, to withdraw the case and that is what I was waiting for,” Nyamu told the Committee.
The row between Governor Mutua and his Deputy further escalated before the Senate after their respective lawyers blamed each other for the frustrating efforts to reconcile the two.
Khaminwa cited the Nyamu had on several occasions rejected his attempts to negotiate an out of court settlement.
He said Machakos residents are suffering due to a lack of service from the office of the deputy governor.
Nyamu said the Khaminwa was being dishonest citing that there decision to move the court and petition the upper House was an equivalent of ‘someone is shopping for forums.’
He said it was impossible for the sides to have meaningful negotiations without the Kiala withdrawing the case.
Senators Kilonzo Junior, Fatuma Dullo and Judith Sijeny took Nyamu to task over whether the allegations that Mutua had withdrawn privileges enjoyed by Kiala.
Mutula said the fact that Kiala was given ex-parte orders meant he was supposed to enjoy all the privileges.
Lawyers for both parties are now expected to give the committee documents showing the status of the matter in court by Wednesday at 3pm before the team can present the matter before the Speaker for a ruling.
The relationship between Mutua and his deputy has been frost over the past two years, culminating in the impeachment of Kiala’s in July last year by the Machakos County Assembly.
He escaped impeachment after the Senate rejected a report by a special 11-member committee of Senators that backed the Machakos MCAs.