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Legal experts react to court ruling that MCAs have no power to impeach

By Abigael Sum and Brigid Chemweno | October 10th 2014

A High Court ruling that Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs) have no power to impeach county executives has elicited different reactions from legal experts.

Constitutional lawyer Peter Wanyama said the ruling made it difficult for MCAs to impeach until Parliament enacts the necessary legislation. He said Section 40(3) of the County Government Act that empowers MCAs to remove executive members from office has been declared unconstitutional following the ruling.

"They have powers to impeach county executives but a section of the law which supports the county executive impeachment has been declared unconstitutional, meaning it will affect the impeachment process unless Parliament urgently intervenes," said Mr Wanyama.

On Tuesday, Bungoma High Court judge Alfred Mabeya ruled MCAs have no powers to impeach county executives, following a case filed by Bungoma Roads Executive Stephen Nendela.

In his ruling, Justice Mabeya indicated county assemblies could not give accused persons a fair hearing because they have been shown to be partisan, adding they were also the drafters of the charges against the accused.

But lawyer Donald Rabala who spoke to The Standard by phone said the body that appoints a person to office has the right to remove him or her.

"If they went through the vetting process through the hands of the MCAs, then the MCAs can impeach them. What happens if some executives are incapable, incompetent or corrupt?" he posed.

He, however, said even though MCAs could remove a county executive from office, they had to follow the parameters laid down by the law.

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The MCA for Wabera Ward in Isiolo County, Kiambi Nabea, said the ruling was untimely. He argued county executives would now sleep on the job.

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