Linturi ouster motion officially kicks off

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi before the Select Committee on his Proposed Dismissal of the at the Mini Chambers, Nairobi on May 7, 2024. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Bumula MP John Wamboka has said he will write to Kenya’s partners to declare Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi persona non grata following a decision by the House to impeach  him.

This, even as the 11-member select committee investigating grounds for Linturi’s ouster held a pre-trial hearing last evening to set the rules of engagement for the exercise that picks up pace from today at 9am.

During a press briefing yesterday, Mr Wamboka expressed dismay that Linturu had not resigned despite mounting pressure.

Wamboka, who was flanked by his lawyer John Khaminwa, called on the international community and specifically the US and EU-to dissociate themselves from Linturi on the grounds that 149 MPs have no confidence in him.

“If Linturi was a gentleman he would have resigned by now. I will be appealing to Kenyan partners and donors to stop any interaction with the CS and declare him persona non grata on the basis that he was voted out by 149 members,” said Wamboka.

During the hearing, the MP claimed that he was being followed by unmarked cars and his life was in danger. He also said that his wife was being trolled on social media.

“This matter has not been easy. I have been followed forcing me to enhance my security. My wife has also been attacked online, but I know that this is something I signed for and I am not relenting,” said Wamboka, adding, “I have no option but to soldier on.” 

Earlier, Wamboka said that having made all the submissions before the office of the clerk, he was ready to prove that Linturi acted in a manner not befitting a Cabinet secretary.

“We have every fact and detail linking Linturi to the fertiliser scandal.”

He expressed confidence in the committee’s capabilities, noting that given the majority of them came from agricultural zones, they would deliver justice to Kenyans. 

Dr Khaminwa called on Parliament and the committee to deliver justice to Kenyans by ensuring those culpable in the fake fertilizer scandal were held to account.

“One would have thought that a CS would have accepted responsibility and resigned without having to go through all this. Food security is a matter of concern to this country and we will make sure that we hold those in power accountable for their actions. 

“Coming from a constituency that relies heavily on agriculture, we hope that Parliament will uphold the rule of law, human rights and the Constitution. There is need for this matter to be done so that we cannot have a repeat,” he said.

During the pre-trial hearing, Wamboka submitted that he would be relying on evidence from eight witnesses-six farmers and two experts. He has also requested the committee to summon Agriculture PS Paul Ronoh and KEL Chemicals CEO Pankaj Sinha to be part of the committee.

Linturi, who is being represented by lawyer Muthomi Thiankolu, will be relying on only one witness. 

Select Committee chairperson Naomi Waqo said,” As a committee, we will be objective and rely on facts that will be laid before us. We are one committee and will walk this journey as a team.”

The committee is expected to take 10 days to finalise and submit its report to the House next Tuesday at 2.30pm. The select committee will report to the National Assembly whether it finds the allegations against the CS to be substantiated. The CS will then appear in Parliament to be heard by the select committee.

In the event the select committee finds any of the allegations against the CS unsubstantiated, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the allegations.

If the allegations are substantiated, the CS will be allowed to present his case. However, if a resolution is supported by majority of MPs, the Speaker shall deliver the resolution to the President, and the President shall dismiss the CS. 

Linturi is facing accusations of violating various articles under the Constitution by approving the procurement and distribution of fake fertilizer by the National Cereals and Produce Board, allegedly engaging in abuse of office and going against sections of the penal code.