How Mithika Linturi survived impeachment

Kathiani Member of Parliament Robert Mbui during an interview on Spice FM. [Screen Grab]

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi has recently found himself in the spotlight as the first Cabinet Secretary to face impeachment in the Kenya Kwanza regime.

Linturi was however exonerated as seven out of the 11-member Select Committee ruled out his impeachment motion, stating that the claims against him were unsubstantiated.

The allegations he faced included constitutional violations, such as the approval of fraudulent fertiliser procurement and distribution by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

Despite this outcome, Members of Parliament allied to various political factions have united in calling for an investigation into Linturi and the 11-member committee for alleged impropriety. Some have even suggested that a majority of the Select Committee members were bribed, casting doubt on the integrity of the motion's outcome.

Kathiani Member of Parliament Robert Mbui, speaking on Spice FM on Wednesday, May 16, did not deny the bribery allegations, admitting to being approached but rejecting any involvement.

According to the MP: “The allegation of bribe is not unfounded because I was approached but I did not touch the money.”

Mbui explained that the decision to spare Linturi was predetermined during the committee's formation. He criticised the committee's approach, asserting that instead of conducting a thorough investigation as required by law, it acted more like a judicial body, neglecting its parliamentary duties.

The MP highlighted the committee's failure to call key witnesses, including the Principal Secretary, who could have provided crucial information regarding Linturi's culpability. Despite the committee's authority to summon witnesses, Mbui claimed that certain members, led by the chair, refused to do so, citing procedural loopholes.

“They (members of the committee) turned this committee into a court, so instead of it being a quayside judicial process, it became a judicial process meaning the parliamentary process was completely ignored,” he revealed, adding “there were many allegations that were not substantiated, by the fact that there were some witnesses we did not hear from.”

According to Mbui, the committee's proceedings lacked an investigative nature, with key members prioritising judgment over fact-finding. The report submitted by the committee reflected this bias, said the Kathiani MP.

The 11-member committee, as mandated by the Constitution, was responsible for investigating the allegations against Linturi and issuing a report based on their findings.

However, Mbui asserted that the committee failed to conduct a thorough investigation, with certain members focusing solely on reaching a predetermined conclusion.

In the vote to save the CS, Marsabit Woman Rep Naomi Waqo chaired the committee, joined by MPs George Murugara (Tharaka), Samuel Chepkonga (Ainabkoi), Malulu Injendi (Malava), Njeri Maina (Kirinyaga), Kassim Tandaza (Matuga), and Kitui South MP Rachael Nyamai.

Only four MPs, including Robert Mbui (Kathiani), Catherine Omanyo (Busia Women Rep), T J Kajwang (Ruaraka), and Yusuf Farah (Wajir West) dissented.

Despite the ruling, the Agriculture CS remains under investigation by various agencies, including the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and both the Agriculture Committees of the National Assembly and the Senate, concerning his role in the procurement and distribution of counterfeit fertilizer to farmers.