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Waititu, Kasaine lose appeals against ruling barring indicted governors from office

Governors Ferdinand Waititu (right) of Kiambu and his Samburu counterpart Moses Kasaine (left) Friday lost appeals against Justice Mumbi Ngugi’s ruling barring governors facing graft from office/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 20 – Governors Ferdinand Waititu of Kiambu and his Samburu counterpart Moses Kasaine Friday lost appeals against Justice Mumbi Ngugi’s ruling barring governors facing graft from office.

In a ruling delivered by Lady Justice Jamila Mohamed, an appellate bench said that barring the governors from accessing their offices does not amount to their removal from office dismissing an argument by the lawyers representing the two governors that the decision amounted to a constructive measure.

Kasaine and Waititu appealed to have the ruling overturned and allow them to work from their respective county offices which are considered scenes of crime in multi-million graft cases they face.

The two were barred from accessing offices after they were charged with graft in April and August respectively.

Lady Justice Ngugi ruled on July 24 that state officers charged with corruption should be barred from accessing their offices until their cases are determined stating that allowing persons facing criminal charges to public offices entrenches corruption and impunity.

In her ruling, Ngugi said that Section 62(6) of the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act, apart from obfuscating, helps obliterate the “political hygiene” as it was contrary to the provisions of the constitutional requirement of integrity in governance, and against the national values as well as principles of leadership and integrity.

“Would it serve the public interest for him to go back to office and preside over the finances of the county that he has been charged with embezzling?” she wondered in her ruling.

On Monday, the Council of Governors (CoG) vowed to move to Supreme Court to challenge Ngugi’s ruling.

CoG Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya said, Justice Mumbi Ngugi’s ruling is a recipe for chaos in the devolved units underscoring the need to seek an interpretation on the ruling.

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“The County Governments will urgently move to court over the ruling seeking governors to step aside when charged with corruption,” Oparanya said.

He said the decision to move to the apex court was unanimously arrived at during a full council meeting on Friday last week.

The CoG sitting was convened to discuss issues affecting the operations of the county governments.

Apart from Waititu and Kasaine, Nairobi governor Mike Sonko also fell victim after he was ordered last week not to access his office after he was charged with corruption offences.

It is this growing trend set of by the court that governors want stopped probably in anticipation that more governors could fall victims to Justice Ngugi’s ruling.

In the case of Nairobi, the council is worried that a leadership crisis is looming since governor Sonko does not have deputy who can take over.

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