Senators have voted to uphold embattled Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu’s impeachment.
He faced three charges, all of which were upheld.
The first charge was gross violation of the Constitution, Public Finance Management Act and PPD Act.
For this charge, 27 senators upheld the charge, while 12 voted in the governor’s favour.
In the second charge – crimes under the national law, 28 senators upheld the charge, while 11 voted to drop the charge.
In the third charge – abuse of office – 28 voted to uphold the charge, while 11 voted to drop it.
Waititu becomes the second governor to have the Senate uphold his impeachment.
Embu Governor Martin Wambora’s impeachment was upheld by the Senate, however, he was saved by the court.
Another five governors have been impeached by MCAs, however, they have all survived.
They are Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a), now deceased Nderitu Gachagua (Nyeri) and Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta).
Deputy Governor James Nyoro will now assume office as stipulated by the law.
Waititu had on Wednesday protested his impeachment and poked holes in the charges levelled against him by the county assembly.
The governor, through his lawyers, on Wednesday said the impeachment process was flawed and pleaded with the Senate to throw out the case.
Waititu said the MCAs did not follow procedure as stipulated in the County Government Act and Standing Orders in impeaching him.
Specifically, the county boss claimed there was no requisite number of members in the house during his impeachment.
“The Senate must consider the process that the motion went through in the county assembly. The assembly did not provide a list of members who voted in favour of the motion,” lawyer Charles Njenga said.
He added, “the governor of Kiambu was not impeached in the county assembly. The motion before you is therefore untenable and should be dropped.”
Lawyer Peter Wanyama, also acting for Waititu, questioned the decision of the Senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka to convene the house 28 days after the impeachment of the governor by the assembly.
Section 33 of the County Government Act requires the speaker to summon a sitting within seven days of receipt of a resolution of the assembly.
“Article 187 of the Constitution and Section 33 of the County Government Act have been cast in stone and it doesn’t give the senate any digression whatsoever,” Wanyama said.
Last week, Senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka and Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen explained that the law was silent on what happens when the House is on recess.
Lead lawyer Ng’ang’a Mbugua discounted the evidence adduced by the assembly to firm up the charges of gross misconduct, conflict of interest, gross violation of the Constitution and abuse of office against the governor.
The ward reps accuse Waititu of lacking accountability in managing county resources, thereby plunging the devolved unit into a Sh4 billion debt.
This, they said, amounted to gross violation of the Constituent and PFM Act.
They reckoned that Waititu awarded tenders worth billions of shillings to his relatives, including his wife and children, defrauded a widow of a plot of land in Thika and usurped the powers of county Public Service Board by single-handedly hiring 600 casual workers.
In the charges read out in the chamber, the MCAs said Waititu oversaw the award of a Sh3.3 billion tender for road tarmacking in the county against an approved budget of Sh1.3 billion.
By doing so, he exposed the county to huge losses through potential suits for breach of contract and poor pending bills, a matter they said amounted to violation of the Constitution on the principles of public finance.
But Ng’ang’a said the governor does not play any role when it comes to accumulation of bills.
He added that pending bills are not an impeachable offence.
“You were not talked to about the role the governor played in the alleged award of tender. Does the governor evaluate a tender? Did he award the tender? In what way did he directly award tender? ” he posed.