Siaya MCA's impeach Water CEC Caroline Onyango

Siaya County Water CEC Caroline Onyango.[Isaiah Gwengi, Standard]

Members of the Siaya County Assembly have impeached Water CEC Caroline Onyango.

Ms Onyango was impeached Tuesday afternoon after a resolution by 39 out of 42 MCAs who were present in the house.

Her impeachment comes a few days after Deputy Governor William Oduol was summoned by the County Assembly over his utterances against his boss James Orengo.

The lawmakers listed three reasons for her impeachment, noting she violated the Constitution, abuse of office and gross misconduct.

According to a five-member Ad-hoc Committee report tabled by Yimbo East MCA Francis Otiato, the committee substantiated the allegation of failure to honor invitations and summons by a committee of the Assembly.

"The Select Committee, found the allegation to be substantiated that the CEC Member was in breach of Article 183 (3) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, Section 39 (2) of the County Governments Act, 2012, and Section 22 (1) and (2) of the County Assemblies Powers and Privileges Act, 2017," reads the report.

On the allegation of harassment, mistreatment and intimidation of junior officers, the committee found the allegations to be substantiated after the County Executive allegedly violated the provisions of Article 232 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010; and Sections; 11 (a), (b) and 34 (1) of the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012.

The committee also impeached Ms Onyango on the grounds of alleged assault of a female member of the public.

"The committee found that the conduct of the CEC Member during the alleged assault incident contravened the provisions Articles 73 (1) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010; Section 144 (1) and (2) of the Water Act, 2016 and Sections: 7, 8, 9, 11 (b), and 13 (1) (b) of the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012," stated the report.

The impeachment of Ms Onyango is considered a blow for Governor Orengo six months after he was sworn into office.

Ms Onyango's woes started during the vetting by the Assembly after she was nominated for the docket by Governor Orengo.

Ms Onyango, who appeared before the Committee for vetting on November 11, 2022, holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biotechnology from UCSI University.

According to a report by the Committee on Appointments, it was observed that the nominee's identity in terms of names was peculiar.

"In her national ID, the name is Caroline P Adhiambo Akinyi Onyango. In the presented Bachelor's degree certificate, the name indicated is Caroline P Akinyi Onyango. An attached sworn affidavit introduces another name 'Jullie" and explains that 'P' stands for Phoebe. In essence, the nominee goes by the name Caroline Phoebe Jullie Akinyi Adhiambo Onyango. However, the combination of names used differed from time to time as was noted," read the report.

The embattled County Executive was also reported to have been unable to justify the much-needed relevance between her first degree and the portfolio.

According to the report, Ms Onyango indicated that the BSc in Biotechnology degree could be used in several fields, saying "because everything is connected to everything".

"She further explained that the degree could be important in using available technology to tackle emerging challenges in the docket," stated the report.

During the vetting, the then-nominee indicated that she was earning a salary of Sh1.1 million per month.

However, the committee could not authenticate her proof after she provided copies of cheques drawn from the account of Eco ERA Consulting Ltd of the value of Sh770,000 per month net of taxes.

"The Committee could not confirm the authenticity of this proof given that data on tax paid if so, were not availed," read the report.

Ms Onyango through her Counsel Oduor Aluoch however termed the decision by the Assembly to impeach his client as politically instigated.

While appearing before the Assembly on Tuesday, Mr Aluoch the right to a fair trial was not accorded to his client.

"We were never allowed to cross-examine one of the witnesses' testimonies on the allegations of assault," said Mr Aluoch, adding that the witnesses' testimonies were also never shared with the CEC in advance.

He said the grounds did not meet the test of impeaching a member of the County Executive.

But while seconding the motion, East Gem MCA Seth Baraka said the motion should not be viewed as a fight against the Governor.

"We are fighting a serious problem that is in the best interest of the people of Siaya," said Baraka.

His East Asembo ward counterpart Gordon Onguru said the Assembly has a role to check the executive for purposes of service delivery to the people of Siaya.

"Failure by the CEC to appear before the House Committee is a clear indication that she is not fit to hold the said office," said Onguru.