NAIROBI: Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru Thursday survived impeachment after National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi slammed the brakes on a motion to oust her. The motion has been caught up in parliamentary bureaucracy for a fortnight.
In a one-page letter to the sponsor of the motion, Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), the Speaker said Mr Keter had fallen short of the required numbers by eight MPs and therefore there was no way the motion was going to be introduced in the House.
“Please be advised accordingly,” the Speaker said in a letter dated October 22. Keter, who had collected 97 signatures, was Thursday told that only had 80 MPs supported Ms Waiguru’s removal – meaning 17 MPs had backed down from the motion.
“People have been intimidated, coerced and some have been bribed to pull out. Now they have sent me
back (to the drawing board), but I have six members who have told me they will sign, and then I will look for two more and will be good to go,” Keter told a news conference just moments after a parliamentary orderly handed him the letter.
Stung and still in disbelief, Keter could be seen hurriedly moving from MP to MP seeking fresh signatures to bridge the gap. He then called a news conference in the evening to explain what he had gathered as the reasons behind the withdrawals.
“People have been threatened, they have been intimidated, they have been bribed with a million shillings to withdraw their signatures. I don’t know how or where they are getting this money but I shall not be intimidated. I am pushing ahead. This thing has to be settled in the House because we must fight corruption,” said Keter.
He requires 88 MPs to back him for his motion to be approved and to consequently get listed on the Order Paper.
“Many MPs have requested through letters to the Speaker to remove their signatures from the list on a special motion,” Muturi said.
This is the second time that Waiguru has survived censure in the National Assembly just when some MPs were eager to kick her out from the powerful docket over the multi-million scandals at the National Youth Service and the queries on the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS).
The Speaker issued new rules on how, henceforth, impeachment of Cabinet secretaries and even the pending one on President Uhuru Kenyatta shall be conducted.
Much to the chagrin of the Opposition, which has been instrumental in getting tainted State officers kicked out, the Speaker said all the motions to impeach State officers must have evidence attached showing grounds of impeachment.
“…averments made in the Special Motions should be accompanied by the necessary evidence including annexures and sworn testimonies,” said the Speaker.
Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem) said MPs should never be allowed to withdraw their signatures. “… it looks really bad, it looks suspect and really cheap when a member goes and withdraws their signature from a list,” said Midiwo, who described the Speaker’s ruling as “curious” at a time when the Opposition was getting ready to impeach the President.
Quoting the rulings of the High Court that have kept Embu Governor Martin Wambora in office even after double impeachment in the Senate, and another ruling from Nigeria’s Judiciary, Muturi said he will reserve the right to determine if an impeachment motion should go on or not as soon as he is “satisfied of the constitutional and evidential propriety”.
The second bit where the threshold will be decided is as soon as a special committee to investigate the matter is settled.