All eyes are on the 11-member Senate Committee tasked to investigate Kirinyaga County Assembly’s recent impeachment of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru over alleged misconduct.
The lead up to the formation of the team, chaired by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, was marked by intense jostling between those who wanted her case subjected to a committee to interrogate the accusations and accord her a chance to respond and those who preferred a plenary trial.
There have been claims that a smaller committee is likely to be compromised to vote in her favour and hence render her impeachment a nullity.
Those who hold this view cited the impeachment of former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, which was upheld by the plenary. Opponents of Ms Waiguru held that failure to subject her to a similar process amounted to partiality.
SEE ALSO: Waiguru-allied MCAs kicked out of House
The two instances, however, cannot be subjected to the same yardstick. In Waititu’s case, he had been investigated by relevant agencies and a recommendation for trial in court made – a position that the Director of Public Prosecutions concurred with. Indeed, by the time he was being impeached, Waititu had been barred from accessing his office for the duration of his trial.
In that regard, the MCAs with the support of local leaders, including acting Governor James Nyoro, had no recourse but to impeach him so that residents could be better served.
In Waiguru’s case, while the MCAs have raised serious integrity questions over her management of the county’s affairs, neither the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission nor the Directorate of Criminal Investigations have indicted her for any wrongdoing.
Neither has the Auditor General raised any audit queries regarding the management of finances in Kirinyaga.
While in Waititu’s case it was the MCAs who took the initiative to remove him from office, Waiguru’s impeachment appears to be the work of outside forces.
SEE ALSO: Waiguru-allied MCAs suspended from House sittings
Indeed, Siaya Senator James Orengo alluded to this during the stormy debate in the Senate on Tuesday when he said those who want Waiguru’s “head” were not the MCAs themselves.
It is clear that Waiguru’s big political ambitions do not sit well with everyone. She has proven to be one of the leading lights in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard and one of those political watchers are keeping their eyes on ahead of the 2022 election.
A staunch supporter of the President’s Big Four Agenda and the handshake deal with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Waiguru has not made any secret that she has her eyes on landing a slot on the envisaged expanded national executive, possibly as a prime minister or deputy prime minister. Is someone out to edge her out of the post-2022 equation?
Within Kirinyaga circles, there have been claims that she is being fought by Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, but he has come out to strongly dissociate himself from her woes.
According to him, he has no political interest in the county and thus has no reason to fight Waiguru, who in any case serves in the same Jubilee government with him.
SEE ALSO: Waiguru blames Kibicho for budget impasse, political hostility
Kenyans must, therefore, ask themselves; who could be fighting the governor? Your guess is as good as mine.
It also mirrors an attempt to impeach her when she held the powerful office of Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary during which an influential aide to a top government official was said to have dished out money to woo MPs to back the bid before it failed at the last minute.
Senator Malala has assured that his team will be impartial in adjudicating the matter and that both the governor and the people of Kirinyaga can expect justice. The committee should live up to this promise by honestly listening to the two sides before taking a vote to determine whether the governor was unfairly treated or there are grounds to sustain the impeachment.
As it were, the MCAs hid behind the Covid-19 restrictions under the guise that the situation is under control in Kirinyaga to execute their plot and hence the need to give Waiguru a chance to defend herself, which only the committee route can deliver.
While MCAs have a critical role to play in making governors accountable, there must be safeguards to ensure impeachment is not used as a tool to settle political or personal scores.
Mr Nyamweya is the immediate former President of Football Kenya Federation.