Bill seeking to tame MCAs on the way

By Stephen Makabila                            

Judicial injunctive orders or reinstatements may no longer feature  when a governor is impeached if a draft Bill is passed by the Senate.

The Impeachment Draft Bill by Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki seeks to have 15 per cent of registered voters in each ward within a county approve an impeachment process before it takes off.

It also proposes a wider range of recommendations by the Senate other than the current two options—impeachment or acquittal. In an interview with The Standard on Sunday, Kindiki said impeachment of a governor was not a court process.

“The Bill will make impeachment process immune from the courts. Unlike election petitions, impeachment proceedings are final and should not be subject to any judicial interference,” he added.

But on locking out courts from the process, the President of the East Africa Law Society James Mwamu said LSK will move to court to have such an article struck out if the draft Bill is passed by Senate. The draft  Bill also pushes the threshold of proof on corruption higher, with calls for significant evidence beyond reasonable doubt from expert institutions such as the Auditor General, Controller of Budget and the Ethics and Ant-Corruption Commission. Kindiki also says the Bill was the only one to bring changes to the current impeachment law, and dismissed two other Bills proposed by members of the National Assembly as being misplaced.

Overstepping mandate

“The National Assembly has no role in impeachment of governors and it should therefore stop overstepping boundaries. Its only role is on the presidential impeachment and even that role ends at the initiation stage,” said Kindiki.

In the last one week, two Governors – Martin Wambora of Embu and Prof Paul Chepkwony of Kericho county – have been impeached.

Council of Governors chairman and Bomet County Governor Isaac Ruto says at least 12 governors have been targeted for removal by the national government, which he claims has been compromising MCAs.

Senate resumes on June 3, after which the Bill will be tabled. It recommends a raft of changes at the county assembly and Senate, which makes removal of a governor a tall order. “We want to ensure the office of the governor is not the most insecure among all elected positions in this country. If its difficult to recall an MCA, MP or Senator, why should it be much easier to impeach a governor?” posed Kindiki.

Mwamu argued every political process has a legal component. “Even in the US, the President is free to move to court if he feels the impeachment process by the Senate was unfair. Locally, it will be a violation of the Bill of Rights for one to be denied chance to seek redress,” he said.