NAIROBI, Kenya May 17 – Wajir Governor Mohamed Mohamud has lost his seat after the Senate upheld the decision by County Assembly members to impeach him.
25 Senators voted in support of the motion against 2 while 4 abstained when an 11-member committee tabled its report recommending his impeachment for gross misconduct and violation of the Constitution.
The committee chaired by Nyamira Senator Okongo Omogeni found the governor guilty of grossly violating the Constitution; County Government Act as well as the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal and Public Finance Management laws.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murokmen was among two Senators who voted against the impeachment.
Senate Minority Leader James Orengo, Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, Migori Senator Ochilo Ayako and Omogeni chose to abstain.
37 out of 45 MCAs last month voted to send the Governor home for what they also said was an attempt to undermine their oversight role.
Abuse of office, irregular expenditures and failure to update ward reps on the status of development projects are among the reasons that led to his impeachment.
A Special Senate Committee established to substantiate the charges recommended for his removal having considered evidence submitted by parties in which they proved the allegation of the violation of the rights of the health of the people of Wajir.
Omogeni however, observed that going forward the task of impeaching governors, should not be left solely at the discretion of members of the county assembly
“There should be a law that obligates those who are proceeding with impeachment motions against governors, they should also collect signatures from members of that particular county who elected the governor,” he said.
The Senate team was unable to substantiate the second charge of abuse of office and gross misconduct.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka directed Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud to appear before the Senate and make his submissions in which he defended himself before Senators proceeded to debate on the motion.
At least 24 out of the 47 elected senators are needed to sustain the charge.
However, the committee made an observation that not each violation or failure to observe a particular section of a statute should lead to impeachment.
“On the allegation of failure to submit annual report of the implementation status of county policies and plans, the committee arrived at a finding that the governor had not complied with this requirement,” he said
Senator Omongeni stated that of all the 15 allegations in support of the charge, the committee was not able to find that there was any substantiation against 13 allegations and the same were dismissed.
The Committee agreed with MCAs that Wajir’s health sector was in disarray and ended up in a deplorable state, which has in turn compromised and undermined the realisation of the right to the highest attainable health standards as enshrined in the Constitution.