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Martin Wambora out of office after Senate backs his ouster, again

By Moses Njagih | May 14th 2014 | 3 min read

By Moses Njagih

Nairobi, Kenya: Senators voted to send home embattled Embu Governor Martin Wambora after confirming his impeachment by the Embu County Assembly, again.

They upheld the same decision they had made in February to sack him but which was nullified by the High Court, handing Wambora temporary relief.

And by a declaration made by Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro after the near unanimous vote, Wambora ceased being the Governor of Embu yesterday at 1.30pm, in accordance with the law.

Now the impeached governor is restricted by law from holding any public office, for a period of 10 years, as a result of his removal from office through impeachment.

Of the 47 elected senators, who are the only ones whose vote is empowered to impeach, 35 agreed with the recommendations of the Special Committee that was probing the allegations made against him on three counts of irregularities, including “gross violation of the Constitution”.

Only Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who strongly punched holes on the committee’s report, opposed the vote to impeach Wambora, while Embu Senator Lenny Maxwell Kivuti abstained even after supporting the Motion during its debate.

Ethuro invoked Section 68(5) of the County Government Act to seal Wambora’s fate, declaring that from the time the motion was carried by a simple majority of the elected senators, the governor is removed from office. “Consequently, at 1.30pm on this day May 13, Wambora ceases to hold the office of Embu governor as stipulated in the law,” declared Ethuro.

All the senators who had contributed in the debate of the motion, moved by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale as the chairman of the Special Committee, supported the recommendation to remove Wambora from office, saying the grounds of impeachment cited by the County Assembly of Embu had been substantiated.

The senators found Wambora guilty of the three charges brought against him; gross violation of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, violation of the Public Finance Management Act and the gross violation of the Constitution.

The charges were in relation to the governors’ procurement of maize seeds, which he distributed to the residents of the county but either failed to germinate or had “at best” a germination rate of only 20 per cent; improprieties in procurement for facelift of Embu Stadium and irregularities in procurement for renovation of county offices.

Protecting devolution

Another allegation, which the Senate found substantiated related to the purchase of a Toyota Prado by the governor, but which was allegedly registered as a private vehicle and which was recorded as having been under the use of “the First Lady of Embu”.

The committee found that the car had among the highest fuel consumption rates, bought through the county revenues, yet the governor had never used it for his official functions.

“Senate must speak so that devolution is not perceived by the people of Embu as the element that occasioned them the catastrophe of famine and deaths by starvation because of their governor’s mistake,” said Khalwale while moving the Motion.

Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki said senators must live to their duty of protecting counties. “We must continue disciplining the Executive both at the national and county levels, so that they realise that they need to be servants of their electorate and not lords,” he said.

House Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula criticised Wambora for failing to personally appear before the Special Committee, saying the “arrogance” was not helpful to him.

Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi and Kivuti distanced themselves from accusations by the governor that they were the architects of his woes, for quitting their “Bus” party.

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