Before the promulgation of the current Kenyan constitution, Kenyan voters were at the mercy of their leaders and a thought of “forced removal from office” also known by its more technical term the “impeachment”, was unheard of.
But behold, impeachment is very common in Kenyan politics these days. And particularly among Kenyan county bosses. Ask former Kiambu county governor Ferdinand Waititu and he will tell you that nothing kept him awake at night during his reign than staring at an imminent impeachment at the hands of the county MCAs and despite his desperate attempt to save his skin, his efforts were futile as he was summarily impeached from the Kiambu Governorship less than 6 months ago in January 29, 2020. Next stop? Anne Waiguru!
There has been similar concerted efforts by the Nairobi MCAs to send Mike Mbuvi Sonko packing although the attempt fizzled out and the plan was temporarily shelved after President Kenyatta interfered with the MCAs attempt to fulfill their duties as prescribed in the Kenyan Constitution.
Less than 6 months after impeaching Ferdinand Waititu, the county MCAs are at it again. This time round in Kirinyaga. Although controversial, the impeachment of governor Anne Waiguru has once again confirmed that the county government level democratic institutions are firing in all cylinders nationally and that county governors should watch out not to fall out of favor with these unassuming legislators. But will the Kirinyaga County Governor’s impeachment stand? The answer is: Probably not. Keep reading as I highlight below the reasons why the recently impeached Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru may get her job back as the county boss.
Anne Waiguru: A Beacon of Uhuru’s Career
Anne Waiguru is very well known to be an ardent supporter of president Uhuru Kenyatta. The spark between the president and Anne Waiguru was even public when she was a cabinet minister in the Ministry of Devolution. There were even rumours in social media back then that president Kenyatta and Ms Waiguru were romantically involved. Although a love affair between the two is pure hearsay, the support for each other’s career is in the public domain.
Currently, Uhuru Kenyatta needs Anne Waiguru more than the other way round as the president cannot afford to lose the high profile platform to present his BBI propaganda throughout Kirinyaga county which will be easier to do when backed by a current county boss. The fact that a deputy governor takes over in running the county business even exacerbates the situation and make it even dire for president Uhuru to aggressively come to Waiguru’s aid.
This is because it is very rare for a county governor who has strong backing from their deputy to be impeached. As such, there has been a falling out between Kirinyaga County governor Anne Waiguru and her deputy governor Mr. Peter Ndambili. In at least one occasion, Mr. Ndambili has publicly undermined his boss in public and even went a head to term Ms Waiguru as being incompetent.
It is this rocky relationship between the number one and number two in Kirinyaga county politics that makes it highly likely that president Uhuru will not entertain governor Waiguru’s ouster as this will mean Uhuru’s BBI propaganda project and ultimately his chances of remaining in power past 2022 will be eroded since his staunch supporter will be kicked out of office and then unfriendly party to BBI will subsequently be installed as the Kirinyaga county boss.
Court Injunction Violation
The impeachment of Anne Waiguru was carried out in blatant violation of a court order put in place in April 2020, banning any proceedings to impeach the governor until either Covid-19 was over or the accused will be afforded a fair hearing. Whichever comes first.Clearly, the former condition is still in place because the ravages of the coronavirus are still on-going at the moment. The question is whether the governor herself was afforded a fair hearing, as set forth in the constitution.
If both of the court’s conditions from April were violated, then it is obvious that Ms Waiguru will be reinstated by courts as the legitimate county governor of Kirinyaga. But if any one of the conditions is satisfied, Ms Waiguru’s reign as the Kirinyaga governor will sadly come to an end within this month as the senate and the courts will rule against her efforts to undo the MCAs’ decisions to topple her.
Half a Dozen Governors Survived Ouster
Since 2013, more than half a dozen governors have been impeached and at least six of them have miraculously survived their most serious political scare of their lives. History is about to repeat itself by adding governor Anne Waiguru to the list of the governors who have survived the pesky MCA’s ruthless “witch-hunt”. In most cases, the governors were reinstated after it was found that the MCAs violated the law in the manner in which they handled the county bosses’ cases or there was insufficient evidence to support charges leveled against the said governors or such charges were not severe enough to warrant the ouster.
Embu Governor Martin Wambora was the first ever governor to be impeached in Kenya in February 2014, although he was later re-instated by the courts after it was found that at the time of the impeachment, there was a court order in place banning the proceedings against Mr. Wambora and that the MCA had ignored the said court order (Ms Waiguru’s case is similar to Mr. Wambora’s here as there was a court order in April 2020 banning her ouster until at least covid-19 was over). Not to be hampered, the MCAs’ relentless “assault” on governor Wambora reared its ugly head again two months later in April 2014 as they impeached him again.
The courts once again squashed the trigger-happy MCA’s efforts to remove the Embu governor from office for the second time. This time round, the courts argued that there was simply not enough evidence to indicate that Mr. Wambora had violated the constitution and hence his removal from office was null and void. Surprisingly, Mr. Wambora got re-elected as the Embu governor in 2017 to serve his second term in office! Although his re-election was challenged in court, Mr. Wambora eventually survived hence retaining his seat as the current Embu governor to as at today.
Other Kenyan county governors who have been impeached and then reinstated either by the courts or the senate includes Kericho County Governor Mr. Paul Chepkwony, Murang’a govornor Mr. Mwangi wa Iria, the late Nyeri governor Mr. Nderitu Gachagua, and the Taita Taveta govornor Mr. Granton Samboja. The current Nairobi governor Mr. Mike Mbuvi (Sonko) was on the chopping board as MCAs considered ousting him, but his close relationship with Uhuru Kenyatta quickly poured cold water on the efforts to remove him from office. In exchange for this favour, Mr. Kenyatta however forced Mr. Mbuvi Sonko to hand over key functions of the Nairobi County to the president himself. The president proceeded to appoint the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) as the custodians of the critical functions pertinent to the Nairobi City County operations.