In a dramatic turn of events, Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza is once again at the center of political turmoil as a fresh attempt to impeach her gains momentum. The latest move made today Wednesday 15 November, 2023 comes just a week after the Senate narrowly saved her from a second impeachment trial, where a majority of senators dismissed seven charges brought against her by the County Assembly of Meru.
The new impeachment notice, filed by Member of the County Assembly (MCA) Evans Mawira, accuses Governor Mwangaza of abuse of office, violation of the Constitution, gross misconduct, and discreditable acts that have allegedly brought shame and scandal to the county and its leaders. Mawira, supported by over 15 Meru residents, claims that the governor’s continued stay in office has interfered with service delivery to the detriment of the Meru people.
“From the aforementioned, it is uncontroverted that the aforementioned executive officers have violated, infringed and threatened the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and other established statutory laws, the constitutional rights of the residents of Meru County which is illegal and that is punishable under the law,” the petitioners argued.
This development follows a series of attempts to remove Governor Mwangaza from office, with the previous impeachment motion failing in the Senate despite the Meru County Assembly’s overwhelming support. The allegations in the previous motion included misappropriation of county resources, nepotism, bullying, contempt of court, and other charges related to the governor’s conduct in office.
The Senate’s decision not to uphold the impeachment charges in the previous attempt sparked public outcry and legal challenges. Michael Kibutha, a Meru resident, moved to the High Court seeking a declaration that the Senate acted unconstitutionally by failing to uphold the impeachment decision of the Meru County Assembly. Kibutha argued that the Senate’s failure to consider each specified ground for impeachment properly was inconsistent with principles of constitutional governance and the rule of law.
In the petition, Kibutha highlighted procedural irregularities, such as the Senate’s deliberations extending past midnight, which he claimed rendered the proceedings constitutionally invalid. He contended that the Senate’s decision was not justifiable given the gravity of the allegations outlined in the notice of motion passed by the County Assembly.
The Senate, in its defense, maintained that the charges brought against Governor Mwangaza were not substantiated beyond a reasonable doubt. The senators voted against each charge, including misappropriation of county resources, nepotism, bullying, illegal appointments, contempt of court, and naming a road after her husband.
“Pursuant to Article 181 of the Constitution, Section 33 (8) of the County Government Act and Standing Order 87 of the Senate Standing Orders, the Senate has failed to remove from office by impeachment Governor Kawira Mwangaza and the Governor accordingly continues to hold office,” Kingi proclaimed in the Senate’s conclusive verdict
The governor, in her defense, portrayed herself as a victim of political forces and pleaded for a second chance, emphasizing her commitment to working harmoniously with county leaders.
Now, with a fresh impeachment notice on the table, Meru residents and political observers are closely watching the unfolding political drama. The accusations in the new motion echo some of the concerns raised in the previous attempt, emphasizing the persistence of underlying issues within the county government.
The Meru County Assembly, which played a pivotal role in initiating both impeachment motions, is once again thrust into the spotlight. The Assembly will need to carefully consider the merits of the new impeachment notice and assess whether it provides substantial grounds for removing Governor Mwangaza from office.
Governor Mwangaza, who has survived two impeachment attempts within a short span, faces a challenging period ahead as she navigates the complexities of local politics and governance. The recurring attempts to oust her raise questions about the stability of leadership in Meru County and the ability of its political stakeholders to work collaboratively for the benefit of the residents.