Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka has called a special meeting of the Senate Business Committee Thursday afternoon to decide the fate of impeached Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.
Mr Lusaka made the announcement as the governor, for the second time in three months, made an attempt to have the courts protect her from the claws of MCAs who are thirsty to get her out of office she has occupied since 2017. They impeached her on Tuesday.
Mr Lusaka summoned the HBC — a committee that schedules Senate business — after he received the communication from Kirinyaga County Assembly Speaker Anthony Gathumbi informing of the resolution of the motion on the impeachment of the governor.
Among the documents that were transmitted to the Senate are the Hansard report of the proceedings during the impeachment, evidence of the allegations used to support the impeachment motion and the list of the MCAs who voted and the respective charges.
At a media briefing in his office, Mr Lusaka said: “I’ve received the notification from Kirinyaga County Assembly and I’ve summoned a special session of the HBC today afternoon to discuss the way forward.”
“I want to assure Kenyans that Senate is a House of integrity and shall serve justice to both the assembly and the governor without fear or favour,” he added.
The Speaker said he will communicate the MCAs’ resolution to the House on Tuesday next week.
While the MCAs were busy with the motion, Ms Waiguru’s lawyers moved to the High Court seeking to shield her from the ouster.
She was hanging on the initial order by Justice Weldon Korir in which he ordered the MCAs to hold their horses in regard to the impeachment during this Covid-19 pandemic.
In a fresh suit, Ms Waiguru asked the court to suspend Tuesday’s resolution passed or made with regards to her impeachment.
She also wants the court to declare that proceedings commenced by the assembly while ignoring the April 7 temporary reprieve order by Justice Korir as null and void.
Observers reckon that Waiguru’s support for the handshake between President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga has seen marked changes in how she has been conducting her politics. A senator, who spoke to the Nation Wednesday, said the Odinga-Waiguru friendship was strategic and futuristic, but one that is also driven by “politics of survival”.
The judge was quick to put a disclaimer to his ruling pointing out that were it not for the coronavirus pandemic, he would not have heeded to her request to stop the ouster.
The judge also cautioned against using the court to advance the agenda of the minority in overturning the majority vote saying that no constitutional organ can use coronavirus disease as an opportunity for micromanaging operations.
“I am confident that all public offices have people who are reasonable enough to make proper decisions in times of crisis while respecting the law and that the court has no powers to adjourn sittings of the Assembly because it’s that same house which may be required to convene urgently to debate an issue related to Covid 19,” Justice Korir ruled.
The governor had argued that the timing of the impeachment was suspect since she cannot adequately prepare her defense since only few staff members are in office following the directive on social distancing.
She told court that she suffers hypertension and therefore working from home to avoid the risk of being infected with the disease yet public servants with existing medical conditions have been advised to work from home to reduce their susceptibility to the illness.
However MCAs who first tabled a motion against her impeachment on April 1 over allegations of abuse of office and graft, were at it again on June 9 and successfully endorsed her ouster before forwarding the decision to the Senate.
While 23 out of 33 voted against her removal, four abstained themselves from the process and another six were absent.
Since she was elected as governor, Ms Waiguru has managed to survive the rumble and tumble of Kirinyaga politics, from one high to another low which has constantly kept her in the eye of a political storm.
And so when 23 out 33 MCAs voted to impeach her on Tuesday it was no surprise coming at a time when the governor has marked interest in having a stake in the Mt Kenya politics come 2022.
Every step she has made in the last six years have been watched closely by political foes and allies, especially her love-hate relationship with ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, both of whom led separately condemned since her days at the Ministry of Devolution as Cabinet Secretary.
Observers reckon that Waiguru’s support for the Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga has seen marked changes in how she has been conducting her politics. A senator who spoke to the Nation yesterday said the Odinga-Waiguru friendship was strategic and futuristic, but one that is also driven by “politics of survival”.
“She has a strong political bond with the two bigwigs. We cannot rule out any political alliances between them in the coming election and therefore we anticipate political pressure in her impeachment proceedings,” the senator said.
She decamped to the Kenyatta-Odinga faction after ditching the pro-Ruto group which she accused of only being interest in criticizing the president’s development record and championing the DP’s political interests instead of pushing for the region’s interests.
This appeared to be a springboard that catapulted her into national politics as she became among the face of BBI rallies spearheaded by Mr Odinga.
With time, she has turned out to be the government’s foremost defender on a number of issues, especially the war on corruption and the Big Four agenda.
Owing to the advantage of numbers in the Senate, coupled with the power of incumbency, it remains to be seen whether senate will agree with Kirinyaga MCAs.
Reporting by Ibrahim Oruko, Maureen Kakah and Kenneth Kimanthi