More trouble for Waititu as MCAs vote to kick him out

Kiuu ward MCA Daniel Ngugi (centre) flanked by other Kiambu MCAs address the press in Nakuru yesterday. They had met to deliberate over the impeachment of Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu has been impeached by an overwhelming majority of ward representatives.

Only one of the 92 MCAs voted against the impeachment motion yesterday, with 28 others abstaining.

Focus now shifts to the Senate, which is expected to either uphold the impeachment or dismiss it.

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and his Minority counterpart James Orengo (Siaya) will be tasked with creating an 11-member committee to consider grounds for Mr Waititu’s removal.

SEE ALSO :Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu impeached

The Senate is currently on recess. But that notwithstanding, Speaker Ken Lusaka will have to call a special sitting once he receives communication from Kiambu County Assembly Speaker Stephen Ndicho on the impeachment.

Mr Murkomen will propose six members to the committee while Orengo will nominate five. 

Yesterday, as the impeachment motion gained momentum at the Kiambu assembly, Waititu's support among the MCAs crumbled.

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Not even Mr Ndicho, who is his staunch ally, could save him.

The motion to remove Waititu was filed by Ndenderu MCA Solomon Kinuthia. Cyrus Omondi, the Kahawa Wendani MCA, seconded the motion.

SEE ALSO :Court of Appeal upholds ruling barring Waititu, Sonko from office

Mr Kinuthia cited violations of the Constitution, the County Government Act, the Public Finance Management Act, and County Assembly Standing Orders as grounds to oust Waititu.

He also claimed that Waititu had demonstrated a failure to exercise accountability in the management of county resources by incurring unsustainable debts of over Sh4 billion.

“Failure to disclose these debts in the County Fiscal Strategy Paper, 2019 amounted to a clear violation of Articles 201 (e) of the Constitution and Section 107 (2) (e) of the Public Finance Management Act,” Kinuthia asserted.

He also noted that Waititu’s actions had placed Kiambu in a highly precarious financial position.

This is because the county may be forced to fight protracted court battles with creditors, incurring high legal fees, and a possible auction of its assets.

SEE ALSO :Explainer: How a governor is impeached

The censure motion against Waititu was to be tabled on December 10, but it was put on hold.

This was apparently after another impeachment motion against Kiambu Deputy Governor James Nyoro that had been filed by Witeithie Ward MCA James Taki was abruptly withdrawn.

Mr Taki allegedly withdrew the motion following intervention by Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju.

Tuju intervention

Taki said Mr Tuju asked him to withdraw the motion because it was painting President Uhuru Kenyatta's home county in bad light.

SEE ALSO :Court deals heavy blow to governors facing graft cases

Sources who spoke to The Standard said there was belief among MCAs in Waititu's camp that once the Nyoro ouster motion was withdrawn, the other one targeting Waititu would also be dropped.

However, Waititu's allies appeared to have been dumbstruck days later when they learnt that the Kiambu assembly intended to continue with debate on his impeachment.

The allies complained that the impeachment was like kicking a man when he was already down.

Waititu, his wife Susan Wangari and eight others have, since July 29 this year, been battling corruption charges.

The governor has personally been confronted with accusations of conflict of interest, money laundering and abuse of office.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji spelt out the charges after adducing enough evidence to incriminate Waititu and his wife.

Earned kickbacks

The evidence revealed that Saika Two Estate Developers Ltd, a company owned by the embattled governor and his wife, allegedly received more than Sh25 million from Testimony Enterprises Ltd, a contractor that the county hired to develop roads through irregular tendering.

The governor was dealt a blow when High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi barred him from accessing his office in a precedent-setting ruling.

Justice Ngugi ruled that officials facing graft charges lack the moral authority to continue running public affairs.

Waititu’s fate now lies in the hands of 67 senators who are expected to ratify or overturn the impeachment vote.

In a tweet, Murkomen said: "To all senators, please cancel your Christmas plans. Those out of the country take the next flight back. Duty calls!"

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Ferdinand WaitituKiambu GovernorWaititu ImpeachedKiambu MCAs