Jack Wamboka storms out in dramatic closure of Linturi's impeachment hearings

Bumula MP Jack Wamboka. He vowed to seek other ways of getting Mithika Linturi out of office. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

As the curtains fell on the protracted ouster trial of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi on Friday, the burden of determining his fate was transferred to the House. 

The 11-member select committee has now retreated for report writing and is expected to table it together with its verdict on the floor of the House for debate during a special sitting on Monday.

During the sitting, MPs will evaluate the observations made by the committee by way of submissions and decide on whether to let Linturi off the hook or condemn him to political oblivion by sanctioning his ouster.

“We have set precedence on how to conduct the removal process. As a committee, we created the rules of procedure which were not in place previously. We shall analyse each and every piece of evidence presented by the parties and make our findings within the stipulated time frame,” said committee chair and Marsabit Woman Rep Naomi Waqo.

But as the three-day process came to an end on Friday, claims of an already predetermined verdict rocked the proceedings with the mover of the motion, Bumula MP Jack Wamboka, alleging a plot by the committee to save Linturi from the guillotine.

Shortly after making his closing statement, Wamboka stormed out of the chambers asserting that the committee’s voting lines were “clear” given the rulings it had already made during the trial.

“I don’t see the need for me being here. Voting lines are so clear specifically on the rulings you made on this motion. I had given and committed myself to this committee until the two rulings were made. We will leave you to decide for Kenyans,” exclaimed Wamboka.

“Whatever outcome this committee makes, we will emerge victorious and it will haunt people. Farmers are crying, where does the responsibility fall?” posed Wamboka.

The legislator also insinuated that should the committee choose to save Linturi from ouster, he would seek other ways of getting him out of office.

“There are so many ways of killing a rat. Some would use Rat and Rat, some will burn the house. But I would sit on the rat and it would die. There are so many ways on this, one is the select committee, but we will be proceeding ahead with this,” said Wamboka.

“We are very determined to ensure justice for the Kenyan farmer. Mithika Linturi must go for playing a role in the procurement of substandard fertiliser. Mithika must go,” he added.

Prosecuting Counsel Lady Asha, who was acting on behalf of Wamboka, urged the committee not to politicise the matter and ensure justice for the farmers.

“Farmers are waiting to see what the committee will do since the law is very clear. We don’t care who is the CS. Our issue is that we want to see what you are doing for Kenyans.  I urge the committee not to turn a blind eye and interpret this as a political situation,” she submitted.

She added: “If we don’t uphold the rule of law, we will become a banana republic. The law should be enforced otherwise we will be taking the wrong trajectory.”


Wamboka’s frustrations seemingly emanated from an earlier decision by the committee not to allow his request to summon and cross-examine Agriculture Principal Secretary Paul Ronoh and KEL Chemicals Chief Operating Officer Devesh Patel, who he had argued were crucial witnesses in his motion.

The MP had made the application at the beginning of the trial on Wednesday and was keen on expanding his list of witnesses to eight but the committee resolved to make a decision on whether to summon the PS and COO before conclusion of the process.

Wamboka’s fears were also compounded by the fact that during the debate on the motion on whether to impeach Linturi on the floor of the House, a majority of the members who now constitute the Select committee voted to save him.

According to the National Assembly’s voting record, Waqo, Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South), George Murungara (Tharaka), Moses Malulu Injendi (Malava), Njeri Maina (Kirinyaga Woman Rep) and Kassim Tandaza (Matuga), all voted to save the CS from impeachment.

Those who voted to have him ousted include Robert Mbui (Kathiani), T. J. Kajwang (Ruaraka) and Catherine Omanyo (Busia Woman Rep). One member Yusuf Farah (Wajir West) was not in the House during voting.

And during the morning sitting on Friday, the Waqo-led committee voted not to allow the admission of new witnesses by Wamboka.

They, however, did not give any explanation for rejecting the bid.  

“This committee retreated and took a vote on whether to summon PS Ronoh and KEL COO Mr. Patel. They were two different votes. On whether to summon the PS only Hon. Robert Mbui and Hon. Kassim Tandaza voted in favour while the rest were against it. On whether to summon Mr Patel, only Hon. T.J Kajwang and Hon. Catherine Omanyo voted in favour. The majority will have their way,” stated Waqo.

When it was Linturi’s turn to make the closing statements, his lawyer Muthomi Thionkolu insisted that the CS had no role in the procurement of the fake fertiliser.

He reiterated that his side had sufficiently proven that the CS was neither the accounting officer in his ministry nor at the National Produce and Cereals Board (NCPB) and urged them to take this into account when making their verdict.

He tried to water down the prosecution’s argument that Linturi should resign based on his now, allegedly, tainted image – thanks to his involvement in the fake fertiliser scandal.

Cruel joke

“You cannot impeach someone based on perception. Even if we were to assume that Linturi is the twin brother of Lucifer, we cannot ignore the law. We must give him justice,” stated Thionkolu.

He added, “This motion has trivialised an important constitutional framework. We have been treated to a cruel joke by the mover of the motion who invoked the impeachment clause in the most trivial manner.”

Linturi, through his lawyer, also refuted allegations by the prosecution that he had turned the trial into a love affair hearing to gain sympathy from the public.

“It is not us who brought the issue of love before this committee. It was done by the mover of the motion and we had to address it,” he submitted.

Further, Thionkolu criticised all the six farmers and two experts who appeared before the committee, saying their presentations were not credible and should not be considered as evidence by the House team.

“Some of those witnesses had not read the motion, others did not know that their submission would be used before this committee while others were not aware of the fertiliser being submitted through the subsidy programme. One of them was actually a non-registered farmer whereas the experts did not produce any credentials to prove it,” he submitted.