Speaker gets reprieve after Oparanya convinces them to abort planned impeachment

Kakamega County Assembly Speaker Morris Buluma during his meeting with Senate Public Accounts Committee at Parliament over audit queries. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]
Plans to debate the impeachment of County Assembly Speaker Morris Buluma were scuttled at the last minute after ward reps met Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

The speaker, an ally of the governor, had been accused of blocking debate on the Auditor General's reports touching on questionable expenditure by the executive and assembly.

The ward reps further accused Mr Buluma of serving the interests of the executive, ruling with an iron fist and absenteeism.

They also accused the speaker of not providing at least three support staff for nominated ward reps and furnishing their offices. They also claimed that a majority of them had not been granted mortgage facilities and blamed Buluma for not intervening.

The impeachment motion was tabled in the assembly on Thursday, September 5, by Khalaba ward rep Boniface Osanga.

But the debate, scheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday, September 10, failed to take place after the mover of the motion as well as ward reps affiliated to Amani National Congress, Jubilee and Ford Kenya parties, who form the minority in the House, failed to turn up.

The sittings were then adjourned due to a quorum hitch.

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It turned out that the missing ward reps were holed up in a meeting with Governor Oparanya at Bishop Nicholas Stam Pastoral Centre, about five kilometres away from Kakamega town.

The meeting was called after the minority ward reps protested that the governor had only met Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ward reps, who form the majority in the assembly, in his efforts to convince them not to impeach the speaker.

The governor met ODM ward reps on Monday afternoon.

When the motion was tabled last week, chaos erupted after minority ward reps blocked the speaker from accessing the chambers.

But after the meeting with Oparanya, even the fiercest critic of the speaker went quiet.

Details of what Oparanya told the ward reps to convince them to back off from impeaching the speaker remain secret.

Resisted pressure

Earlier, the speaker had defended himself from the allegations levelled against him.

Buluma vowed to resist pressure to step aside, saying the ward reps did not follow the required procedure by discussing matters that were not in the order paper.

This was the second attempt to impeach the speaker and the second time the governor was stepping in to save his ally.

In October last year, ward reps ousted Buluma and elected Sango ward rep Kennedy Kiliwake acting speaker

However, Oparanya met the ward reps and resolved the row.

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Speaker Morris BulumaKakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya