Fresh details have emerged on the surprise turn of events at the Senate over the impeachment of Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu.
The Standard has reliably learnt that senators from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard led a revolt to reject an 11-member select committee proposed by Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo/Marakwet).
The rejection implies that Waititu’s removal from the office will be prosecuted in the plenary next Wednesday.
The governor and the representatives of Kiambu County Assembly will now appear before Senate on January 29 to argue out their cases, following a gazette notice by Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.
Inside sources told The Standard those opposed to Murkomen’s motion claimed there was a plot to stop Waititu’s ouster since six of the proposed 11-member select committee ?— which was to either uphold or dismiss the charges brought against the governor by the county assembly ?— are Tangatanga sympathisers.
Kieleweke-leaning senators, therefore, opposed the proposed committee from the word go, winning the support of their NASA counterparts to decide the governor’s case at the plenary.
The proposed team was to be chaired by Deputy Minority Leader and Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and deputised by Majority Whip Senator Susan Kihika (Nakuru), a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto.
The committee’s members linked to Ruto include Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Mithika Linturi (Meru), Anuar Oloitiptip (Lamu), Hargura Godana (Marsabit) and Iman Falhada (nominated).
NASA team, which is pro-Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), include Malala, Mohamed Faki (Mombasa), Sylvia Kasanga (nominated), Okong’o Omogeni (Nyamira) and Fredrick Outa (Kisumu).
“Malala was named chair to hoodwink us. We learnt of this scheme early so we had to stop or else, we would have handed Waititu a clean win despite the weighty issues raised by the Members of the County Assembly of Kiambu,” said a senator from central Kenya who voted to reject the list.
Senator Isaac Mwaura (nominated) found himself on the receiving end when he claimed there was a conspiracy to let the governor off the hook.
“The Senate cannot be used to sanitise governors because we are protectors of the people. We cannot have a list that was developed without consultation,” he said.
A clear departure from the past, the membership of the proposed committee only had first-term senators, save for Hargura, to handle the impeachment which saw senators raise issues of neutrality.
Senators Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu), Abdullahi Ali (Wajir) Kangata(Muranga), Farhiya Ali (nominated), pitched the plenary way, saying it would give them an opportunity to interrogate the matter.
Senator Ali opposed the committee formation from the word go saying there was no consultation from the Jubilee side.
Sakaja faulted colleagues for insinuating the life and reputation of an individual (governor) were on the line and sought to know who was fighting for millions of Kiambu residents affected by corrupt practices.
“The past impeachments have left Kenyans asking if Senate is acting in full support of devolution as it should. We are 11 members in the committee, but, in essence, only six people will be required to prosecute. That is not fair to the people of Kiambu and the delegations that we have in this House,” Sakaja said.
He added: “We are sitting as quasi-judicial. We should resolve to investigate the matter in plenary.”
He took issue with requirement that any member can allowed to attend committee sittings but only six can make a decision.
Dr Abdullahi Ali (Wajir) faulted the committee leadership for trying to gag them.
“Every member is here by right. There is no senator special than others. I would not go the committee way. There is a lot of politics and perception and therefore members should not condemn others, as there is no one more qualified than others,” he said.
Kangata said the Senate has considered seven impeachments – governors Nderitu Gachagua (now deceased), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a), Martin Wambora (Embu), Granston Samboja (Taita Taveta), Machakos Deputy Governor Benard Kiala and now Waititu.
Murkomen was so passionate about the list that even his minority counterpart James Orengo (Siaya), who had seconded the motion for the establishment of the select committee, changed tune and supported the plenary.
“This is a good motion. I believe in the membership proposed and will not change my mind,” stressed Murkomen after majority backed the plenary process.
Murkomen’s defiance saw him suffer a humiliating defeat, with only 16 senators supporting the motion to establish the committee, against 28.