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Executives threaten to resign if Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua impeachment is upheld

COUNTIES
By Nderitu Gichure | September 8th 2016
Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua (left) and his deputy Samuel Wamathai during a press conference at his residence in Nyeri. Members of the Nyeri County Executive Committee vowed they would resign if Governor Nderitu Gachagua was forced out of office by the Senate. (PHOTO:KIBATA KIHU/ STANDARD)

Members of the Nyeri County Executive Committee vowed they would resign if Governor Nderitu Gachagua was forced out of office by the Senate.

They made the declaration yesterday as Mr Gachagua maintained his innocence against charges levelled against him. Led by the County Secretary Alice Wachira, seven committee members announced that they would leave office in solidarity with their boss if he was removed on the grounds cited in the impeachment motion.

"In the unlikely event that the governor is hounded out of office, we will all resign in the spirit of collective responsibility and as a way of demonstrating our solidarity with him," Heath Executive Charles Githinji said.

The others were Timothy Ngunyangi (Water and Environment), Stanley Miano (Trade), Erastus Karanja (Education), Robert Thuo (Agriculture) and Lucy Wanyitu (Special Programmes).

The grounds cited for impeachment, Mr Githinji said, emanated from resolutions of the committee.

"Allegations made against the governor are of a purely operational nature. The committee should have, in the first instance, been given the opportunity to respond to them," Githinji observed.

He said Gachagua was denied a chance to respond to the allegations.

Last week, Deputy Governor Samuel Wamathai also threatened to resign if Senate went ahead to impeach the county boss.

But speaking to The Standard, MCAs led by Majority Leader Duncan Gituanja said the county executives' resignation was long overdue. He further welcomed the move by the Senate to hear the impeachment on the plenary as opposed to having a select committee handle the matter.

Yesterday, Gachagua accused County Assembly Speaker Mwangi Mugo of denying his legal team the right to defend him during the impeachment motion last Friday. Speaking at Iria-ini Tea Factory in Othaya, the governor said that unlike the assembly, the Senate committee that deals with such cases respects the rule of law.

"For any removal to pass the required constitutional and legal threshold, one must be given the right to be heard and defend oneself," the county boss explained.

He pointed out that the exercise must be subjected to the process of public participation.

"The law is well settled by the Court of Appeal that there must be public participation in an impeachment process and not just approval through collection of signatures," he said.

"No force, not even that of the 32 MCAs who voted for the motion or even of the people waiting to reap from this through (next year's) elections can bend the law to suit political greed for power," he stated.

The governor termed his removal defective and devoid of any constitutional or legal merits, adding that the decision was politically instigated.

"The plot to impeach the governor is orchestrated purely by political malice and subterfuge, besides being a sham and an outright mockery of justice," he added.

Gachagua has been accused of gross violation of the Constitution, going against the County Governments Act, Public Finance Management Act and Public Procurement and Disposal Act.

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