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Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza's new hurdles after surviving ouster bid

Meru County Governor Kawira Mwangaza. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Days after Senators threw out the impeachment motion targeting Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza, she is now facing new hurdles at the Assembly and the High Court.

In a petition filed at the High Court in Nairobi, where Senate Speaker Amason Kingi is listed as the fourth respondent and Senate the fifth, Michael Kibutha alias Makarena, a Meru resident, wants the Senate’s handling of the impeachment proceedings declared unconstitutional.

Mr Makarena, in addition to claiming that the Senate conducted the impeachment sittings on a date that was not gazetted, wants the court to declare the Senate’s acquittal of Mwangaza constitutionally invalid.

Makerana, in court papers, said that the Senate’s Order Paper indicated the last item was a debate on the motion and division, which was to be concluded at 11.50 pm.

Assess evidence

“That, however, the fourth respondent (Speaker), without due regard to the fifth respondent’s (Senate) standing orders, allowed deliberations on the removal of the seventh respondent (Mwangaza) from office as the governor of Meru County by way of impeachment to proceed on a day that was not gazetted as a sitting of the fifth respondent,” Makarena said.

He claimed the Speaker, upon the realisation that the debate was being conducted beyond the gazetted day of November 8, should have notified the Senators.

Further, Makarena stated that the Senate’s failure to uphold the impeachment of Mwangaza by MCAs failed to consider the fact that the grounds they cited met the threshold of what amounted to a gross violation of the Constitution by Mwangaza.

He argued the Senate neglected to assess the evidence presented by the Assembly.

Meanwhile, Meru Assembly Speaker Ayub Bundi said they had received a petition from a section of Meru residents who want seven of Mwangaza’s Executive Committee Members (CECs), and some Chief Officers impeached for gross violation of the Constitution and other statutory laws.

The Executives they want to be sacked are County Secretary Dr Kiambi Atheru, Monica Kathono (Finance), Dickson Munene (Legal Affairs and Public Service), Jackson Muthamia (Water), Thraniara Ithana (Agriculture), Harriet Makena (Trade), Dr Geroge Mungania (Health) and Ibrahim Mutwiri (Roads).

The Chief Officers are James Mutia (Cooperatives), Victor Akawalu (Agriculture), Joyce Kagwiria (Education) and Nchamba Mbithi, the Governor’s Chief of Staff).

Accusations against the officers include the distribution of the “One Dairy Cow One Needy Family Programme” and Mwangaza’s school-feeding programme without a policy framework, making derogatory remarks against Deputy Governor Mutuma M’Ethingia and interference with the management of Meru Level Five hospital.

The petitioners based their case on proceedings of Mwangaza’s hearing at the Senate.

They claimed that during the impeachment proceedings, Mwangaza “consistently” put a defence on the accusations levelled against her and blamed all the constitutional and statutory law violations on her junior officers and appointees in the executive.

Faced with another challenge, Mwangaza, who vowed to unite all leaders after her acquittal, is considering various options, including pushing for the dissolution of the Meru County Government, which will see every elected leader, including MCAs, facing fresh elections.

Political analyst Oscar Mutugi said the Assembly, which is still smarting from a second Senate stillbirth, is going for some county officials after the Governor’s defence team appeared to confer some of the blame on her juniors to exonerate her.

“There are obvious signals that whatever was supposed to have ended at the Senate has just begun. Possibility of dissolution of the county should the chaos persist remains a hot potato, undesired by both camps but remains an idea that both camps have flirted with,” Mutugi said.

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