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Coming soon: Governor Waiguru’s fate to be known in a matter of hours

By Emmanuel Too | June 26th 2020 at 11:23:32 GMT +0300

Governor Ann Waiguru

Today is a make-or-break moment for the embattled Kirinyaga Governor Anne Mumbi Waiguru as she awaits to know whether or not she will remain Governor.

This comes as the 11-member Senate special Committee is expected to table its recommendations to the Senate in the afternoon.
 
The committee chaired by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala retreated to make its final report after two days of thorough grilling and sustained legal battles in the chambers.
 
Today, thus draws the line. The decision to either oust the governor or reinstate her as Kirinyaga Governor
 
The committee had however been termed as a ‘sanitization booth’ for governor Waiguru after some legislators claimed that the special committee had already made up its mind on reinstating the governor and that the die was already cast for the people of Kirinyaga. 
 
But Senator Malala was quick to defend the committee, dismissing the claims and maintaining that the team was up to the task and would deliver a fair judgment.
 
“The membership of this committee is competent and we assure the people of Kirinyaga and the general public that all parties will be treated equally,” said Malala.
 
“We know the stakes are high. We know the whole country is watching us, but the only assurance we can give is that the judgment will be fair and we turn to God to give us the wisdom to transact this business,” he added.
 
The committee will today at 2:30 PM hand in its report to the House, in a session that will involve all senators. The stakes are already high as the governor’s hour of reckoning inches even closer with emotions expected to run high. 
 
This follows the gazetting of a special senate seating by the Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, to consider the committee’s report on the impeachment of the County chief. 
 
"The business to be transacted at the sitting shall be the consideration of the report of the special committee on the proposed removal by impeachment," the gazette notice read.
 
"In accordance with the Standing Orders the business specified shall be the only business before the Senate during the special sitting following which the senate shall stand adjourned until July 7 at 2.30 pm."
 
Governor Waiguru is facing among other allegations, abuse of office, gross violation of the constitution, violations under written law, and undermining the authority of the county assembly.
 
The country was treated to a two-day spectacle when the committee was receiving statements and witnesses to aid in the making of the cases.
 
During the heated exchanges that ran into the dead of the night, lawyers representing their clients clashed as they argued their cases in front of the committee.
 
One after the other, witnesses were ushered in, taking the hot seat where they gave their sides of the stories before cross-examination to ascertain the veracity of their statements.
 
During the televised proceedings, the Kirinyaga County boss submitted that she was clean and that the Members of County Assembly were only out to destroy her and maliciously bring her efforts down.
 
“Unfortunately what is before you is in every respect false, unfounded and salacious allegations, which have no place in an impeachment motion,” she said. 
 
“The grounds contained in the allegations are obvious falsities, unfounded and malicious. They relate to minor administrative issues that would easily have been clarified by a routine inquiry,” she concluded.
 
Among her defenders was a battalion of lawyers led by her husband Kamotho Waiganjo, who did not miss a chance to throw a shield to protect her sweetheart. 
 
Other experienced lawyers were also thrown in the battle to save the governor who had been previously linked to a National Youth Service scandal when she served as the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning.
 
Governor Waiguru also rubbished allegations of receiving travel allowance to the tune of Sh10 million despite failing to travel, undermining the county assembly by failing to provide State of the County address and meddling in the recruitment of the counties and having a hand in procurement and tendering process of the county.
 
Through her lawyer, Paul Nyamodi, Waiguru argued that she had nothing to prove in the case because it was the MCAs who crafted charges against her, hence, it was upon them to prove the validity of their case.
 
“It is the county assembly that framed the charges and there is no way her responses can be used against her. The governor has no issue to prove. It is the MCAs who should prove their allegations against her,” said Nyamodi.
 
This was after the county assembly lawyer Ndegwa Njiiru made a submission where he adduced evidence arguing that travel documents provided the governor were not clear enough. 
 
“It is difficult to respond substantively to what she has said about her travels because of the nature of the documents given to us,” said Njiiru.
 
Waiguru was ousted on June 9, 2020, after 23 out of 33 ward representatives voted in support of her impeachment on the strength of charges of violation of the Constitution, abuse of office, and gross misconduct. Four MCAs abstained and six of the ward reps were absent.
 
The motion was tabled on March 31 by Mutira Ward Representative David Kinyua Wangui who faulted the governor for deliberately failing to submit county plans and policies to the County Assembly for approval.
 
“The governor has deliberately refused, failed and/or neglected to deliver the same for the financial year 2018- 2019 which failure amounts to a gross violation of the Constitution and the County Government Act,” said Kinyua.
 
Today will also validate or invalidate the claims made by the pro-DP Ruto team which sensationally claimed that the committee was only working on a script already penned down for them by higher forces.
 
During the charged debate in the Senate, some legislators, led by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, opposed the formation of the committee, saying the people of Kirinyaga wanted the plenary route following precedence set in former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu's case.
 
“The senators who are here know very well that if a committee is chosen and for whatever reason, they go and clear a governor that is the end of the matter. It will never come to this House,” said Murkomen.
 
Senators Charles Kibiru (Kirinyaga), John Kinyua (Laikipia), and Njeru Ndwiga (Embu) also called on their colleagues to back the plenary route, saying the governor would be more confident when exonerated than the suspicion the committee would generate.
 
However, in the end, forty-five legislators voted to the committee way against fourteen who voted no, putting the matter on the 11-members’ shoulders.
 
In today’s decision making, only six members are required to save the governor after the hearing. This will form the simple majority of the members.
 
Waiguru, is one of the two women governors remaining after the late Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso succumbed to cancer last year. 
 
Impeachment drums are however also growing louder in her Kitui counterpart’s backyard. This is after a notice of motion to impeach her was on Tuesday served to the clerk of the County Assembly awaiting tabling and debate mid next week.
 
The motion that is set for tabling on Wednesday also accuses Ngilu of undermining the authority of the county assembly and conflict of interest in awarding county tenders.

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