NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – Senators have concluded debate on a Bill that seeks to clearly set out procedures for the impeachment of the President and Deputy President, Governors and Deputy Governors, Cabinet Secretaries and the County Executive Committee Members.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka directed the Bill proceed to the Committee of the Whole where Senators will be expected to scrutinise proposed amendments and vote on whether to reject or accept them to form part of the Bill.
30 county delegations supported the Bill to proceed to the next level when the matter was put to question.
Speaking during the debate, Senate Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Samson Cherarkey (Nandi) said the legislation draws from past experiences in which impeachment proceedings, especially those against Governors, caused much anxiety by dragging on endlessly and at great inconvenience to the individuals and the public.
“We want a standard process of impeaching to be within the law. The one for removing CEC’s is similar to that for a CS; it starts with a motion by an MCA supported by 1/3 of the assembly. It ensures processes are timely and they can defend themselves,” he told the House.
Senators Mutula Kilonzo (Makueni) and Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi) said the Senate seeks to give guidance on various areas where the law is not express on matters of impeachment.
“I do not think, Mr Speaker, if this law is to make it easier to impeach a Governor. The Senate has spoken very clearly in the impeachment of Kericho Governor Chepkwony. You can’t impeach for the sake of impeachment, a must be addressed either now or later, what constitutes gross violation; what measure do you use to say this is violation of the Constitution but it is not gross, what was the intention of the drafters of this Constitution,” Kilonzo Jnr said in his contribution to the debate.
The Makueni Senator added; “impeachment cannot be a process to get money out of governors or to win trips as happened in the case of the Nairobi Speaker. Or the National Assembly using the impeachment process to arm-twist Cabinet Secretaries as happened in the sugar import case.”
Busia Senator and former Attorney General Amos Wako and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula noted that Parliament was operating without a law that gives the procedure for impeachment.
“Not everything can be provided for in law, therefore it is left to us now to whom powers have been given to really determine what is a gross violation of the Constitution, not just a mere violation of the Constitution but gross, which must be more than a mere violation of the Constitution and again what is gross misconduct according to the Constitution, which must be more than just a mere misconduct,” the former AG emphasised.
Wako further said the Bill has further sought to protect the impeachment proceedings from court injunctions by stating that an aggrieved party can challenge the decision of the Senate at the High Court or Court of Appeal within 14 days.
A petition to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court from any judgment or ruling shall be filed within 14 days. The courts shall hear and determine the application within 45 days.
“We saw in the last Senate, that if we allow courts to intervene in impeachment, Governors know they are protected. One Governor boasted he would remain in office till the election. He did, and he was cleared by the IEBC, he won and is now back to court again,” he said.
If the Bill is approved by the Senate with a concurrence given by the National Assembly, it will be upon the Speaker to determine if an impeachment motion complies with the set standard in law, allowing him room to approve or reject it.