In Summary
  • The same pattern was repeated on the third count of gross misconduct.

  • It was a dramatic end to the two-day process, eventually won by the President.

The Senate has voted to kick out Mr Ferdinand Waititu as Kiambu County governor in a motion that had all the hallmarks of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto duel.

There was a total of 38 senators in the House on Wednesday. Some 28 senators, most of them from opposition coalition Nasa, convicted the governor on all three counts levelled against him by the county assembly and voted to remove him from office.

FIRST COUNT

In the first count of violating the Constitution, 27 senators voted to impeach the governor while 12 voted against.

However, in the second count, in which the governor was accused of violating national laws, 28 senators voted for his ouster while 11 opposed, with the same pattern being repeated on the third count of gross misconduct. This is the second time the House has voted to remove a governor out of eight previous impeachments.

It was a dramatic end to the two-day process, eventually won by the President in a trial that had all the symbols of the numbers versus process debate that characterised the 2017 presidential petition which culminated in the nullification of President Kenyatta’s August 2017 win at the Supreme Court.

Perhaps as a sign that the gloves between the President and his deputy are finally off, all Dr Ruto’s men, and women, did not hide their preference or feelings in the matter which confirms the deep divisions in the ruling party.

DEFEND GOVERNOR

The lawmakers went out of their way to robustly defend the governor and, at one point, Nandi senator Samson Cherargei declared on the floor of the House that Mr Waititu’s problems were largely authored by what he described as the “deep state of Kiambu”.

“Mr Waititu is being eaten by the politics of Kiambu. It’s the deep state that is behind this,” he said, echoing lawyer James Orengo’s assertion in 2016 that “regimes eat their own children.”

Mr Cherargei turned emotional and claimed that the county assembly of Kiambu had acted beyond its powers in impeaching the governor and went further to warn the lawmakers they would be haunted if they voted to remove the governor from office. It was the same case with Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.

While the duty of moving the motion fell on his lap, by virtue of his position as the Leader of Majority, Mr Murkomen provided a rare moment of confusion.

Instead of moving the House to vote out the governor, he appeared to question the decision of the county assembly that eventually impeached the governor.

QUORUM

The same pattern was witnessed when key allies of the Deputy President’s Tangatanga wing of Jubilee vehemently opposed the motion. Senators Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Susan Kihika (Nakuru) and Mithika Linturi (Meru) all opposed the motion questioning the process used by the county assembly to impeach the governor.

“We never got any evidence brought to the House as to whether the issue of quorum was ever addressed. It is our job to ensure that the impeachment process at the county assembly was properly handled. Regardless of the outcome of the matter in the House, I am glad that we have courts in this country,” said Ms Kihika, hinting that Mr Waititu may seek redress in court.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula was the only non-Jubilee member who cautioned against impeaching the governor and, just like the rest, questioned the process.

Mr Orengo blamed Mr Waititu’s lawyers for having failed their client. Mr Orengo said they failed to take the accusations raised against the governor with the seriousness they deserved.

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