|Embu Governor Martin Wambora PHOTO: COURTESY|
By MOSES NJAGIH
Embu Governor Martin Wambora was on Friday pegging his hopes of survival on elected Senators after the special committee that has been investigating his impeachment recommended his removal from office.
The 11-member committee recommended the removal of Wambora after they found that three of the five charges for which he had been impeached by the County Assembly of Embu had been substantiated.
Senate was expected to debate and vote on the recommendations of the committee chaired by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, a move that could see a precedent set, if the 47 elected legislators agree with the report.
But while the committee found the charges against Wambora substantiated, it absolved his Deputy Dorothy Nditi of any wrongdoing, after finding that none of the five charges against her had been substantiated, and thus found no ground to have her impeached.
The fate of Wambora was to be decided by the elected legislators, in their capacity as Leaders of Delegation from their respective counties, who were to either vote in support of the recommendations, shoot it down or even amend the report.
Wambora was to be granted a last chance to plead for his case before the whole House, in a last bid to convince the Senators to save him from going down as the first public officer to go down from an impeachment process in Kenya.
Moving the report, Khalwale said that his committee had found Wambora to have violated the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, the Public Finance Management Act and the violation of the Constitution.
However, the committee found charges of abuse of office and violation of the County Government Act not substantiated.
Khalwale said the committee had found that there were procurement irregularities and “outright violations of the relevant laws” in the manner the procurements of crucial tenders were undertaken.
The charges were in respect to procurement of 16 tonnes of maize seeds at Sh 3.52 million, which later emerged to have been condemned and thus failed to germinate, and another tender for refurbishment of Embu Stadium at Sh 8 million.
The committee noted that when the Governor appeared before them, he presented himself as having been a “mere by-stander and observer in the procurement debacles”.
“The Governor gave the impression that he had totally distanced himself from the controversies surrounding the works of the Stadium and the defective maize seeds, leaving these matters primarily to the County Secretary, if not to no one in particular,” noted the report.
“It is the view of the committee that while the primary liability for violations may lie with individual officers, the Constitution which provides for responsibilities of leadership lead to the conclusion that the Governor will be held liable for violations that occur during his watch,” it further stated.
The committee took issue with what it perceived as inaction by the Governor and shifting of blame for violation of the Public Finance Management Act to his subordinates.
“…Far from showing remorse or conceiving of remedial action, the Governor variously pleaded ignorance and shifted blame to his subordinate officers or otherwise repudiated responsibility lead to the culpability complained of,” noted the committee.
Khalwale said the committee was shocked by the manner the Governor approached the charges before him, saying that instead of taking the chance to defend himself, he only feigned ignorance or passed the buck to his junior.
“Instead of seizing the moment, he chose to tell us how he was an alter-boy and relying on other issues that could not convince us of his innocence,” said Khalwale.
Khalwale further took issue with the governors insistence during proceedings that the Sh 3.5 million used to purchase maize seeds was too little, arguing that similar amount had been used by MPs in CDF to transform lives.
Seconding the motion, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said Senate must stand up in its constitutional obligation to defend devolution, and thus send Wambora home to serve as an example to others.
“We must show Kenyans that we respect devolution so much and this evening declare that Mr Martin Nyaga Wambora must go home, for his failure to trend in the ways of devolution,” said Murkomen, who was the committee vice-chairman.
Murkomen also took issue with the defence by the Governor that he was not in the know of the ongoing in many operations, and branding some of the issues raised against him as “small issues”.
“Tonight is the morning that we must take a stand that our devolution must be protected by men and women who do not take responsibility. Many of the men who have been impeached have fallen to the so called small issues,” Murkomen said.