The Court of Appeal has nullified the Senate's recommendation to impeach Embu Governor Martin Wambora.
Sitting in Nairobi yesterday, the Court of Appeal overruled the High Court's decision to kick the governor out. Justices John Mwera, Hannah Okwengu and GBM Kariuki ruled that there was no clear evidence that Mr Wambora acted in gross violation of the Constitution, warranting his impeachment.
"Collective responsibility is not a principle of individual responsibility. The tenders involved many parties thus the appellant was not individually liable," the judges ruled.
Represented by advocates Paul Muite, Ahmed Nasir, Wilfred Nyamu, Julius Kemboi, Peter Wanyama, David Njoroge and Mansour Issa, the county boss had appealed against a ruling in which the High Court in Kerugoya said the Senate and the county assembly had the final say on the veracity of the alleged illegal tendering of deals.
The county assembly twice resolved to oust Wambora, on February 14 and later on May 13. The governor had been accused of flouting the County Government Act by appointing public servants without the assembly's approval.
Additionally, he was accused of flouting the Public Procurement Act in the purchase of Sh35 million worth of maize seeds that never germinated, procurement of vehicles and authorisation of the renovation of Embu Stadium at a cost of Sh50 million, up from Sh8 million.
Yesterday, the appellate judges said some petition cases had taken too long to conclude.
"We take judicial notice of the fact that litigation in courts can drag for a long time and a situation may arise where the court process may be manipulated or abused, so that the appeal remains pending until after the applicant's term in office expires," the judges noted.
Yesterday, Wambora said members of the county assemblies were no longer executing their constitutional mandate of legislation at the county level, but were focusing on trying to remove governors from office.
He said impeachment would not serve as a solution but would only create bad blood between the governors and the MCAs. Several other governors have faced impeachment threats from MCAs.
Back in Embu, his supporters expressed optimism that the governor would now be in a position to firmly steer the county to prosperity. They said God had heard their prayers and the governor was now free to implement his development blueprint.
Silvano Mbogo, a youth leader, urged local leaders to give their governor a chance to complete the projects he had started.
Embu Nyangi Ndiiriri council of elders challenged Wambora to concentrate on uniting the different communities living in the county. Chairman Andrew Ireri urged other Embu leaders to join Wambora in uniting residents.