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Senators clear Meru governor, say allegations can't be proven

 Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza (second-right) flanked by her deputy Mutuma M'Ethingia (right), Senators Gloria Orwoba and Hamida Kibwana at the Senate on December 30, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza on Friday survived impeachment after the Senate said that the grounds seeking for her removal from office could not be substantiated.

The Special Senate Committee led by Kakamega Senator Bonnie Khalwale in a report tabled before the Senate during a special sitting Friday said the 62 allegations against the governor could not be proven. 

“The committee having investigated the matter in accordance with its mandate under section 33(4) of the County Governments Act and standing order 80(2) of the Senate Standing Orders reports to the Senate that it finds that the five charges against the Governor of Meru county have not been substantiated,” reads the committee report.

Mwangaza was facing accusations of nepotism, illegal appointments, unlawful dismissals and usurpation of the constitutional and statutory functions of the county organs.

The governor was also accused of incitement, bullying, vilification and misleading campaigns against other leaders, forceful entry into the county assembly precincts and mobilisation of unlawful riots against MCAs.

The MCAs also accused Mwangaza of violating the public finance management laws, and misconduct relating to the nomination of County Executive Committee members.

But while tabling the report before the House, Dr Khalwale said: “The positions the Meru County First Gentleman is alleged to have been appointed to be non-existent in the structure of the Meru county government.

“In addition, the witnesses for the county assembly acknowledged that the positions do not exist in the structure of the Meru county government.”

The MCA’s had adduced evidence that the governor made public pronouncements at the county headquarters appointing Meru County First Gentleman Murega Baichu as the patron of Meru Youth Service and the Meru Hustler Ambassador.

Evidence adduced

The committee also observed that from the evidence adduced, the Governor did make public pronouncements reappointing Rufus Miriti as the Meru County Secretary and argued that the county assembly could not fault an extension that they have accommodated all along.

Khalwale told the House that Meru Senator and Senate Deputy Speaker Kathuri Murungi has not made any complaints or representations on the allegations of being vilified by Mwangaza with no documents presented either to the county assembly or to the Senate.

The committee chairperson also told the House that Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi has not made any complaints on the allegations of being vilified by the governor, neither have they been provided with evidence that he has filed any proceedings on the matter.

“Tigania East MP Mpuru Aburi has not made any complaints or representations on the allegations of being vilified by the governor neither has the committee been provided with evidence that he has filed any proceedings on this matter against the governor,” said Khalwale.

The Kakamega Senator said the Catholic Diocese of Meru did not send any formal representative or submit any documents to the county assembly or the Senate to complain of the alleged vilification by the governor with the Catholic Priest who appeared before the committee doing it in his personal capacity.

The Senate was also told the governor did not forcefully enter the county assembly premises since on the said date she was scheduled to make an address.

There was no evidence provided that the sitting in which the governor addressed the assembly had been degazetted.

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi ruled that there would be no further debate on the matter.

“The committee has found all allegations against the Governor not to be substantiating... Therefore, the matter of impeachment of the Governor of Meru is now put to rest,” said the Speaker.

Mwangaza, who addressed the media outside Parliament, thanked God for the victory and pledged to work with all elected leaders for the sake of development.

“I would like to thank the Senate for giving me another chance to serve the people of Meru as their governor since for the last two months I have tried everything for things to work. I am calling upon all Meru leaders to join me in serving our people,” she said.

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