Kenya: DP Ruto Fingered in Governor Samboja's Impeachment Woes

15 October 2019

The standoff in Taita Taveta pitting Governor Granton Samboja and the county assembly seems to be far from getting over as he moved to court to block his impeachment.

This comes even as local leaders claim that Deputy President William Ruto is behind the latest woes facing the embattled governor, with meetings allegedly having been organised both in Nairobi and Mombasa pushing for his impeachment.

On Friday, Governor Samboja got a relief after the High Court in Nairobi temporarily suspended the county assembly's decision to remove him from office.

STAY ORDER

Justice James Makau issued the order staying the county assembly's resolution from being forwarded to the Senate for further action.

He further barred the assembly's Speaker Meshack Maghanga from forwarding the impeachment motion to his Senate counterpart.

But Speaker Maghanga told Nation that he had already notified the Senate Speaker of the approval of the motion by the county assembly.

"I have forwarded to the Senate documents in evidence of the proceedings of the House resolution for further action," he said.

Mr Maghanga said it is now for the Senate's to determine the governor's fate.

DEFEND RESOLUTION

"We are ready to defend our resolution before the committee once we are called to do so," he said.

Among the documents forwarded to the Senate are particulars of the allegations against the governor, results of the vote, a Hansard report of the motion, the attendance register and signatures in support of the motion and those in support of the notice of the motion.

The County Governments Act 2012 gives the Senate the final say on the impeachment of a governor.

The Senate will now set up an 11-member special committee to investigate allegations against the governor.

SUMMON GOVERNOR

The committee will summon the governor to respond to the allegations raised against him as well as the county assembly to shed light on the reasons to remove him from office.

On Wednesday last week, the county assembly voted unanimously to kick out the governor after mediation to end a budget standoff between them failed.

The MCAs accused Mr Samboja of gross misconduct.

Over the weekend, a section of leaders from the region dragged the DP into the impeachment storm that has rocked the county.

The leaders alleged that Mr Ruto was behind the impeachment of Mr Samboja.

RUTO

Taita Taveta ODM elections coordinator Thomas Jumwa claimed the action by the MCAs had the blessings of the deputy president.

Mr Jumwa accused Mr Ruto of instigating the impeachment motion to hit back at the governor who has come out to show his support for the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

"We are aware that the DP met the MCAs twice and they also met some of his supporters in Nairobi and Mombasa," he said.

"The MCAs are the deputy president's guns for hire. That assembly's resolution will not see the light of the day even after it is presented to the Senate for further action," Mr Jumwa said.

ODM Women League Secretary Hope Anisa accused the MCAs of being self-centred for refusing to give dialogue a chance.

She claimed a section of ODM MCAs refused to attend a meeting convened by the party.

"This meeting was meant to discuss the underlying issues pitting the assembly and the executive. We convened the meetings thrice but none of them attended," she said.

But the county's Jubilee Party Secretary Nerious Mwanose dismissed the claims that DP Ruto had a hand in the governors' latest woes.

Mr Mwanose said the DP has never sponsored the MCAs to frustrate the governor.

"The MCAs' move has nothing to do with the deputy president. These allegations are false," he said.

In his recent tour of the county, the deputy president dismissed the governor on his decision to dissolve the county government, terming the move as petty.

The DP later held a private meeting with MCAs led by Speaker Maghanga at Sarova Taita Hills Hotel in Mwatate during which he stated that the President will not dissolve the county government.

The DP's remarks came under sharp criticism from Mr Samboja who told him off and accused him of undermining the Taita Taveta community who supported his dissolution bid.

The governor and the MCAs have been embroiled in a dispute which has paralysed operations in the county.

The governor refused to assent to the implementation of the 2019/2020 budget after the MCAs allocated Sh830 millions to their ward fund kitty.

In June, he collected over 52,000 signatures to petition the President to have the county government dissolved.

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