NAIROBI, Kenya June 16 – The impeachment of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru will now be determined by a team of 11 Senators and not a committee of the whole house.
The decision was made Tuesday by a vote of 45 in favour of the committee against 14 who were opposed to it. 1 Senator abstained.
Waiguru was impeached by Kirinyaga County Assembly members, who accused him of various charges, including gross misconduct, abuse of office and manipulating the public procurement procedures.
She is also accused of illegally conferring a benefit of Sh10 million to herself for travel allowance.
On Tuesday, Senators voted to have the committee investigate the charges levelled against her, with Speaker Ken Lusaka giving the team 10 days to complete the task and table a report in the house.
Members who will serve in the committee include Abshiro Halake, Michael Mbito (Trans-Nzoia), Mwangi Paul Githiomi (Nyandarua), Beth Mugo, Anuar Loitiptip (Lamu),
Others are Philip Mpaayei (Kajiado), Cleophas Malalah (Kakamega), Beatrice Kwamboka (Nominated), Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi), Judith Pareno (Nominated), and Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay).
“The hearing of charges for the proposed removal from office of a Governor is one of the most important functions of the Senate under the Constitution. I urge all Senators to exercise the highest level of responsibility on this matter,” Lusaka told the Senators before the vote.
At one point during debate, Siaya Senator James Orengo claimed that there was a clique of Senators who were not seeking justice in the case against Waiguru, but were after vengeance.
“People who are looking for Waiguru’s head are not the county assembly and I have the evidence,” Orengo claimed, raising protests from Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Nakuru counterpart Susan Kihika.
“The people of Kirinyaga have all along the week suspected that there is a decision already made elsewhere to save Waiguru and then Senator Orengo goes on record to confirm that. So if this committee is going to sanitize Waiguru they should tell us the truth. The people of Kirinyaga should be informed that this is a sanitizing committee,” Murkomen said.
Kihika on her part posed, “Is it in order for the Leader of Minority to impute improper motive in this House when we know very clearly that the impeachment motion was brought by the Kirinyaga County Assembly.”
Most of the Senators who took to the floor of the House to support the motion on the establishment of the committee noted that Waiguru stood a better chance of a fair hearing in the committee as opposed to the plenary.
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Haji Farhiya (Nominated) who moved the motion defended its establishment, noting that experience had favored due to a more interrogative approach applied by members who will be probing the allegations facing the impeached Governor.
“From the experience on both plenary and through committee, I always find it that in the committee route there is thorough probing,” she said.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas said that the committee was likely to do a better job and cited the case of former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu.
“The business of the House is transacted by committees and that is why we have 16 committees. Therefore, we are within the law. I was not satisfied with the way the Waititu case was interrogated, we turned the house into a political gathering but the committee way will have the chance to prosecute the matter properly,” he said.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr “I cannot support the insistence that you must go the Kirinyaga way because we will confirm that members of this house are subject to corruption and influence.”
Migori Senator Achillo Ayacko while supporting the committee route noted that it would serve the people of Kirinyaga their best interests to have the eleven members interrogate the issue in detail and issue a verdict.
“The plenary will be charged and nothing will be heard,” he said.