In a lightning move, the Speaker of the Senate Kenneth Lusaka last night gazetted the impeachment and removal from office of Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu Babayao hours after the House passed a motion to that effect.
The gazetting also cleared the way for another equally swift move — the swearing-in of Kiambu Deputy Governor James Nyoro.
High Court Judge John Onyiego is expected to swear in Mr Nyoro as the third Kiambu governor anytime from now.
According to the gazette notice, the Senate found Waititu guilty of:
According to lawyers we spoke to, the governor can seek the reversal of the impeachment all the way to the Supreme Court.
Embu Governor Martin Wambora, who was impeached in a similar fashion, was shielded by court orders.
The Senate’s impeachment of Mr Wambora was overturned by the Court of Appeal that ruled there was no clear evidence that the governor acted in gross violation of the Constitution.
How Babayao went home
The two-day trial and eventual impeachment of Waititu was a double blow for the governor who was barred from accessing his office following a court order in a corruption case.
Pro-handshake senators ganged up to uphold all the three charges tabled against him.
This, is as the differences between the warring Jubilee factions of Kieleweke (pro-President Uhuru Kenyatta and Tanga Tanga (associated with Deputy President William Ruto) played out their differences on the floor of the House.
The Tanga group spiritedly tried to save Waititu from sinking into political ruin, arguing that the Kiambu County Assembly did not a two-thirds majority to constitute quorum ahead of the impeachment.
They accused their colleagues of playing to a political gallery and that Governor Waititu was being impeached because of his political stand.
In the first charge of violating the Constitution, 27 senators voted to impeach the governor while 12 voted to rescue him; in the second charge of violating national laws, 28 against 11 voted for the ouster and in the third charge of abuse of office it was 28 verses 11.
At the end of the day, 28 senators voted to end Waititu’s 27-month long reign as the governor of the largest county by population.
How they voted according to the Hansard