Kenya: Senate Sets Up Team to Probe Samboja's Impeachment Despite Court Order

16 October 2019

Nairobi — The Senate has set up a committee that will investigate allegations made against Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja and make a recommendation on whether they meet the constitutional threshold to warrant a vote of his impeachment to be held by the House.

The fate of the embattled Governor will be largely determined by the eleven-member committee which was given 10 days to return a verdict on whether Members of the County Assembly were justified in impeaching him.

Senators sitting on the committee include George Khaniri (Vihiga), Njeru Ndwiga (Embu), Ochillo Ayacko (Migori), Agnes Zani (Nominated), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Charles Kibiru (Kirinyaga), Boniface Kabaka (Machakos), Lelegwe Ltumbesi (Samburu), Beatrice Kwamboka (Nominated), Farhiya Ali (Nominated) and Naomi Waqo (Nominated).

Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki shot down repeated attempts by Senators Jones Mwaruma (Taita Taveta), Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay) and Okong'o Omogeni (Nyamira) to stop the establishment of the team due to a court order obtained by the Governor stopping the Senate from proceeding with his impeachment process.

The motion unanimously approved by the House was tabled by Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen who is also the Elgeyo Marakwet Senator in accordance with the County Government Act.

During the sitting, Senators James Orengo, Mutula Kilonzo Junior and Issac Mwaura appealed to the Committee to execute its mandate beyond reproach. Those who spoke argued that if a shoddy job was done, the Senate's credibility will be put to question.

While moving the motion, Kindiki argued that a probe of this magnitude besides being one of its kind under the new Constitution, needed to be professionally carried out.

The move by the Senate to debate the impeachment process despite a court order obtained to stop it was criticised by a number of Senators led by Kindiki who stated that the courts cannot stop the Legislature from doing its work.

Samboja, who was impeached last week, becomes the sixth governor to be impeached since the establishment of devolved governments in 2013.

However, no Governor has lost his seat due to an impeachment as the resolutions have either been overturned by the Senate or by the Courts.

Embu Governor Martin Wambora is the only county boss to have been impeached twice by both the Senate and the MCAs but remained in office after he successfully challenged the process in court.

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