Speaker Kingi receives approved impeachment motion against Governor Kawira

Speaker of the Senate Amason Kingi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi has received the approved impeachment motion against Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza.

At least 67 Members of Meru County Assembly voted on Wednesday, December 14, to remove Governor Mwangaza from office over alleged abuse of office, gross misconduct and violation of the Constitution.

On Thursday, December 15, Meru County Assembly Speaker Ayub Bundi transmitted to the Senate the approved impeachment motion against the county chief.

Speaker Kingi now has seven (7) days to convene a special sitting to debate on the matter.

The Senate, by resolution, may appoint a special committee comprising 11 of its members to investigate the impeachment allegations.

If the Senate forms an 11-member committee, then the committee will have ten (10) days – from the special sitting date – to hear the matter and make its recommendations to the House.

“If the special committee reports that the particulars of any allegation against the governor have not been substantiated, further proceedings shall not be taken in respect of that allegation,” says Section 33 (6) (a) of the County Governments Act.

However, if the special committee finds that the reasons for the removal of the governor cited by the MCAs are weighty and proven, then the committee can recommend the ejection of the governor, though the entire Senate has to vote to either endorse the recommendation or reject it.

Before voting, however, the Senate will give the governor a right of fair hearing.

If a majority of the senators vote to uphold any impeachment charge, the governor shall cease to hold office.

Section 33 (8) of the County Governments Act says: “If a vote in the Senate fails to result in the removal of the governor, the Speaker of the Senate shall notify the speaker of the concerned county assembly accordingly and the motion by the assembly for the removal of the governor on the same charges may only be re-introduced to the Senate on the expiry of three months from the date of such vote.”

The law allows MCAs and the Senate to impeach a governor under the following grounds: incompetence, abuse of office, gross misconduct, physical or mental incapacity or gross violation of the Constitution.

Minority Whip in the Meru County Assembly Dennis Kiogora, who is the MCA for Abogeta West Ward, on December 14 cited gross misconduct, abuse of office and gross violation of the Constitution as the reasons for seeking Governor Mwangaza’s impeachment.

Kiogora said Mwangaza engaged in nepotism, illegal appointments, unlawful dismissals, usurpation of constitutional and statutory functions, incitement, bullying, vilification and misleading campaigns against other leaders.

Other accusations were forceful entry into the county assembly and mobilising unlawful riots against MCAs.

The governor had, unsuccessfully through the courts, attempted to stop her impeachment by MCAs.

Big win

Kawira Mwangaza, who won election on Independent ticket, was the first woman in Meru region to be elected governor.

She defeated political heavyweights Mithika Linturi (first runner-up) and Kiraitu Murungi (second runner-up).

Mwangaza got 209,158 votes against Murungi’s 110,850 in the August 9, 2022 gubernatorial race.

Murungi vied on his Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP) ticket.

Mithika Linturi, who ran on the region’s popular United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party, got 183, 859 votes. Linturi is now the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Agriculture in President William Ruto’s administration.

Shortly after being sworn into office in August, Mwangaza fell out with MCAs, whom she accused of attempting to arm-twist her over ward development fund.

The ward representatives, on the other hand, accused Mwangaza of being a lone ranger, who refused to heed their calls for consultations.

Mwangaza, a first-term governor, served as the second Woman Representative of Meru County between 2017 and 2022 after Florence Kajuju (2013-2017).

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