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Gachagua to face whole Senate in survival battle

James Murimi @Jamesmurymy

The fate of embattled Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua now lies with a plenary session of the entire House after the Senate overruled a proposal to form an 11-member committee to probe him.

The move comes even as six of his County Executive members threatened to resign if their boss is axed. Senators yesterday opposed a motion by Leader of Majority Kithure Kindiki to establish a special committee to look into the matter that has elicited public debate.

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro is today expected to guide legislators on how the plenary session will be conducted to fairly deal with Gachagua’s impeachment. “I will make a substantive ruling on the way forward tomorrow (today) because this is a new thing and unprecedented,” he said.

The motion had proposed Senators Lenny Kivuti, Peter Mositet, Kimani Wamatangi, Billow Kerrow, Isaac Melly, Joy Gwendo, George Khaniri, Stewart Madzayo, Judith Sijeny, Moses Kajwang’ and Janet Ong’era to investigate the matter.

The committee was supposed to investigate the proposed removal of Gachagua from office and to report to the House within 10 days on whether it finds the particulars of the allegations to have been substantiated.

Khaniri (Vihiga) was the first to oppose the motion, saying the special committees mandated to deal with previous four impeachment matters (Embu, Kericho, Makueni and Murang’a counties) failed to fully execute their mandate.

“The disadvantage with the special committee way is that once the members find that the allegations by the county assembly have not been substantiated, it ties completely the hands of the House which has to deal with the decision of the committee,” he said.

“The plenary way will give Kenyans and the people of Nyeri at large the opportunity to follow the debate through broadcast and print media. I see a lot of expertise in the membership of this committee but I oppose this motion,” continued Khaniri.

His Kakamega counterpart Boni Khalwale drew the rivalry between Senate and Council of Governors (CoG) by lashing out at it for its recent reaction towards the impeachment of Gachagua by Members of the County Assembly.

Khalwale, who also opposed the motion, accused CoG Chairman and Meru Governor Peter Munya of belittling the powers of Senate by threatening to defend Gachagua in court.

“I want to appeal to the Judiciary to come to the reality that once a decision has been made by Senate it is done with finality and there is no room for appeal. I don’t know from which international practice they got this gymnastic that people can be allowed to challenge the final decision on impeachment made by the Senate,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by West Pokot Senator John Lonyangapuo who lashed out at Governors for declining to honour Senate summons to account for queries on funds mismanagement.

Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) condemned the recent storming of Nyeri county headquarters and alleged forceful entry in the Governor’s office by MPs saying it was unlawful and demeaning. Murkomen said the MPs had no right to dictate the jurisdiction of the Senate.

On September 2, Nyeri MCAs approved an impeachment motion against Gachagua on grounds of gross violation of the Constitution, failure to comply with the Law and abuse of office. Among other allegations are his failure to account for more than Sh400 million.

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