Linturi's date with destiny as his accuser warns of plot to save CS

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi before the Select Committee on his Proposed impeachment at the Mini Chambers, Nairobi on May 9, 2024. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi will today have his date with destiny as Parliament decides whether to impeach him or not.

The National Assembly will, during a special sitting today, consider a report of the Select committee tasked with investigating the grounds for his removal presented by Bumula MP Jack Wamboka over the fake fertiliser scandal.

The CS is facing a barrage of accusations key among them authorising the procurement and distribution of fake fertiliser to farmers under the government’s subsidy programme.

He is also accused of incompetence which has caused a food crisis.

Allegations against the CS range from allowing procurement and distribution of fake fertiliser by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), abuse of office and going against sections of the Penal Code following revelations that the CS ordered the closure of KEL chemical companies.

Also, he declared the company premises a crime scene after the company’s Chief Operating Officer Devesh Patel refused to participate in a staged press conference where he (Devesh) was to take the fall for the supply of fake fertiliser.

The CS is accused of storming into manufacturing plants and purported to revoke licenses without conducting proper investigations or providing any clear policy decisions from the ministry on the matter.

The committee has also been considering submissions on Linturi’s alleged gross misconduct, where he is accused of getting into a public spat with journalists who unearthed the fraudulent fertiliser scam. 

The committee has been on a fact-finding mission to establish whether the CS failed to demonstrate professionalism in carrying out duties of his office “in a manner that maintains public confidence in the integrity of the office, and amounts to gross misconduct contrary to section 11(a) of the leadership and integrity Act.”

But as the House readies itself to announce a verdict, the mover of the motion has cast aspersions on the committee, alleging a ploy by the Naomi Waqo-led team to save Linturi from ouster.

Speaking to The Standard yesterday, Wamboka said he expected nothing much from the committee but vowed to soldier on with his resolve to ensure the CS vacates office.

“There is nothing much we expect from this process, when the matter came on the floor, a majority of the members who now constitute the committee voted against it. It is not going to be easy. We will expose any underhand dealings tomorrow (today). We will speak on the floor about this matter. This is the day that the lord has made and we will rejoice in it,” he stated.

During his closing statement submission on Friday, the legislator accused the committee of being at the whims of the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) whose top brass is keen on saving Linturi.

The legislator also insinuated that should the committee save Linturi, 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.

The MP also termed the process as one that was doomed to fail from the start, given the committees “bias” that was evidenced during the debate on the motion on whether to impeach Linturi on the floor of the House.

Notably, a majority of the members who now constitute the Select committee voted to save Linturi.

According to Parliament’s voting record, Committee chair Naomi Jillo Waqo (Marsabit women rep), Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South), George Murungara (Tharaka), Moses Malulu Injendi (Malava), Njeri Maina (Kirinyaga Women rep) and Kassim Tandaza (Matuga), all voted to save Linturi from impeachment.

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

The committee has however moved to assure the public of its objectiveness in the matter by reiterating that it will make its decision based on submissions by the interested parties.

“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 analyses 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 Waqo.

And in his defense, Linturi termed his ouster bid a political witch hunt propagated by his ex-wife Maryanne Keitany, the Aldai MP.

Through his lawyer Muthomi Thiankolu, he asserted that he had no role in the procurement of the fake fertiliser.

"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 Thiankolu.

The lawyer criticised 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.

All eyes are now on the House as it decides whether to impeach Linturi or not.