Mwangaza on her own with Senate set to decide her fate

Written by on 16 December 2022

The Senate is set to reconvene on Thursday next week to determine the fate of impeached Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza.

An impeachment notification was forwarded to the Senate by the Meru County Assembly yesterday.

“Please note that the Speaker shall call for a Special Sitting  of the Senate to read out the charges and resolutions of the County Assembly against the governor, and the Senate’s  consideration of the impeachment shall commence, as per the third schedule of the Standing Orders and section 33 of the County Government’s Act,” read a brief from the Senate.

The Special Sitting, according to Section 33(3) of the County Government’s Act, shall be held within seven days, which lapses on Thursday next week.

Yesterday, the embattled governor termed her impeachment as “brand building” and accused the MCAs of being paid “millions of shillings” to get her out of office. Mwangaza said her detractors spent sleepless nights plotting her ouster.

“They have used millions of money, sleepless nights, a lot of energy, sponsored headlines, engaging public seriously, connections with different types of people,” she wrote on her Facebook account after her ouster motion sailed through on Wednesday evening.

She becomes the first county chief to be impeached since the August 9 election, ending a four month standoff with the MCAs.

The governor was voted out by all 67 MCAs present in the Assembly during deliberations on the impeachment motion.

Only two MCAs were absent and did not, therefore participate in the exercise.

 Mwangaza, a former Meru Woman Rep, had made headlines when she felled political giants like her predecessor Kiraitu Murungi and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithikas Linturi in the August 9 election on an Independent ticket.

But her four-month stint has largely been characterised by frosty relations with the MCAs, who accused her of nepotism and high handedness among other ills.

Wednesday’s impeachment motion, sponsored by Abogeta West MCA Dennis Kiogora, had initially been stopped by High Court Judge Thripsisa Cherere, who had termed it flawed.

Come Wednesday and the Ward Reps ignored Justice Cherere’s orders and went ahead to unanimously vote her out, in a way vindicating Kiraitu who had predicted her downfall.

Inside out

Claiming that he knew Mwangaza inside out, Kiraitu described her as among other expletives, “arrogant, hypocritical and drama queen” who lacked the capacity to run a county government.

“Kawira is a drama queen, what we are dealing with is not a simple village woman but a ruthless, arrogant, cunning, deceitful person who cannot work with anybody,” Kiraitu had said during the campaigns.

Speaker after speaker during the impeachment motion accused Mwangaza of high handedness. The governor had earlier threatened to sue the Assembly Speaker Ayub Bundi and the MCAs of acting in contempt of court if they went ahead with the motion.

Mwangaza skipped the session despite being invited to appear before the MCAs and defend herself.

In a letter addressed to the Speaker, lawyer Elias Mutuma for Mwangaza, said the Assembly Standing Orders prohibited the MCAs from dealing with any matter that is before the court.

“Proceeding on the same shall be deemed as contempt of court which shall attract the appropriate legal action against any contemnors who shall be held personally liable,” Mutuma stated.

Small group

The defiant MCAs, all clad in black pairs of trousers, white shirts and red ties nonetheless went ahead with the motion even as a small group of the governor’s supporters protested outside the chambers.

Heavy security was deployed both inside and outside the chambers as the MCAs debated the motion before voting.

The 67 MCAs who appended their signatures to the motion listed nepotism, illegal appointments, unlawful dismissals and usurpation of the constitutional and statutory functions of county organ, contempt of court, and incitement, bullying, vilification, and misleading campaigns against other leaders as the reasons for ouster motion.

Other grounds include forceful entry into the Assembly precincts and mobilisation of unlawful riots against Assembly Members, violation of Public Finance management regulations and misconduct relating to the nomination of County Executive Committee Members.

Mwangaza was also accused of disregarding criteria for the establishment of offices within the county public service including failing to submit her husband Murega Baichu’s name before appointing him to serve in the county government.

Mwangaza had recently appeared to tone down following a sustained onslaught from the MCAs, even appealing to President William Ruto to intervene.

Her impeachment was greeted with muted silence from the Meru political elite, including Linturi, Kiraitu and area Senator Kathuri Murungi.

Mwangaza recently accused Kathuri and Linturi of demanding a share of county jobs and that they were using the MCAs to arm-twist her into yielding to their demands.

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