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I was used as sacrificial lamb, Martin Wambora says

EASTERN
By MURIMI MWANGI | June 25th 2014
Embu Governor Martin Wambora

Embu, Kenya: The drama surrounding besieged Embu Governor Martin Wambora is far from over. Wambora now says he was impeached to serve as a sacrificial lamb in the supremacy wars between senators and governors.

Through senior counsels Paul Muite and Ahamednasir Abdulalahi, the governor claimed the Senate merely rubber-stamped his impeachment by the Embu County Assembly to certify senators' quest to intimidate governors. Muite, who was arguing Wambora's case before the Court of Appeal in Nyeri said the Kerugoya High Court, which reinstated Wambora in April, ought to have protected him from the second impeachment.

Tuesday, the counsel told appellate judges Alnashir Visram, Martha Koome and Otieno Odek that the High Court, in failing to bring closure to Wambora's woes, left him vulnerable to the turf wars.

Muite faulted High Court judges Hedwig Ong'udi, Cecilia Githua and Boaz Olao for failing to exonerate the governor from the allegations of malpractice, despite reinstating him.

"The courts must take care not to be intimidated when political question is weighed in on the judicial process. This appeal seeks a precedent-setting judgment that will stop this proliferation of superficial impeachment of governors," said Muite.

Muite told the court that there was no nexus between Wambora and the allegations of procurement malpractices cited by the assembly. "It was a complete misdirection for the honourable court to turn its back on the issue yet it was one of the protestations the governor had presented before it," said Muite.

But lawyer Charles Njenga for the Embu County Assembly and Speaker Justus Kariuki Mate said Wambora's appeal is persuading the court to "scavenge into the jurisdiction of other constitutional organs". Njenga added that the assembly exercised its oversight powers appropriately and the High Court had no jurisdiction to absolve Wambora from allegations.

Justice Odek questioned the timing of the appeal, and asked Muite whether it may have been overtaken by events since Wambora had already been impeached for a second time.  Wambora sat pensively taking notes throughout the hearing – on a day when his county was expected to release its 2014/2015 budget.

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