Why impeaching Deputy President William Ruto is no walk in the park

Siaya Senator James Orengo.
After Sunday’s indication by Siaya Senator James Orengo that a move may be afoot to impeach Deputy President William Ruto, the big question is now how this may be done.

Apart from the constitutional procedures, it would take a lot of political work convincing MPs and Senators to vote for the impeachment. This is so because the standoff between the Deputy President and the President has split Jubilee in the middle.

Back to the Constitution, the Deputy President may be removed from office on the ground of physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of the office.

He can also be removed on impeachment on the following grounds:

  • A gross violation of a provision of this Constitution or any other law
  • Where there are serious reasons to believe that the Deputy President has committed a crime under national or international law
  •  For gross misconduct.
Deputy President William Ruto.

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The Constitution also stipulates that the same procedure used to remove the President also applies to the removal of the Deputy President “with the necessary modifications” applying the provisions of Articles 144 and 145.

According to the sections, removing the Deputy President by impeachment with the necessary legal modifications in place will entail:

A member of the National Assembly, supported by at least a third of all the members, moving a motion for the impeachment of the Deputy President on the grounds of:

  • A gross violation of a provision of this Constitution or of any other law
  • Serious reasons for believing that the Deputy President has committed a crime under national or international law
  • Gross misconduct
 If the motion in the National Assembly is supported by at least two-thirds of all the members:

  • The Speaker shall inform the Speaker of the Senate of that resolution within two days; and
  • The Deputy President shall continue to perform the functions of the office pending the outcome of the proceedings required by the law.
Within seven days after receiving notice of a resolution from the Speaker of the National Assembly:

  • The Speaker of the Senate shall convene a meeting of the Senate to hear charges against the Deputy President; and
  •  The Senate, by resolution, may appoint a special committee comprising eleven of its members to investigate the matter.

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The special committee appointed shall:

  • Investigate the matter; and
  • Report to the Senate within ten days whether it finds the particulars of the allegations against the Deputy President to have been substantiated.
The Deputy President shall have the right to appear and be represented before the special committee during its investigations.

 If the special committee reports that the particulars of any allegation against the Deputy President –

  • Have not been substantiated, further proceedings shall not be taken under this Article in respect of that allegation; or
  • Have been substantiated, the Senate shall, after according the President an opportunity to be heard, vote on the impeachment charges.
Lastly, at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate vote to uphold any impeachment charge, the President shall cease to hold office.

[Additional reporting by Sammy Wambua]

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DP William RutoJames OrengoConstitutionwilliam ruto impeachment