Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika Faces Impeachment Threats

The First Time Senator, Tabitha Karanja Calls for Impeachment of Governor Over War Memorial Hospital Ownership Dispute

In a shocking turn of events, the ownership dispute over Nakuru’s War Memorial Hospital has intensified, leading to a legal battle and potential political consequences. Nakuru Senator Tabitha Karanja has called for the impeachment of Governor Susan Kihika, alleging mismanagement and endangering lives through the controversial takeover of the century-old health facility.

Senator Karanja expressed her concerns about the county government’s actions, stating,

“The raid by the county government, which left tens of patients unattended, is reason enough to impeach the governor.” She emphasized the legitimacy of the hospital’s land lease and accused some individuals of attempting to seize the prime land.

The situation escalated on Monday when the county government reportedly took over the hospital’s management, leading to the eviction of staff and patients. Lawyers representing the Nakuru County Government denied the accusations of forcefully seizing the hospital and ejecting patients. However, the High Court, responding swiftly to the unfolding events, ordered the county government to vacate War Memorial Hospital immediately.

Justice Millicent Odeny issued a stern warning to the county government, stating, “Court orders are not given in vain. There is a pending contempt of court application. Inform your client to obey orders. Otherwise, there is no reason why we should be sitting here.”

The court’s deputy registrar, Priscah Nyotah, reported that the county government had forcibly entered the facility, vandalized equipment, and disrupted hospital operations.

Senator Tabitha Karanja continued her advocacy, asserting that she was fulfilling her oversight duty. She sympathized with affected families and urged the Ministry of Health to intervene to prevent further loss of lives due to the ongoing dispute.

Senator Tabitha Karanja in a past press briefing Image: Courtesy

“We sincerely sympathize with the patients, next of kin, doctors, workers, and investors. We pray that God gives them endurance and power to overcome,” she remarked.

In a press conference, Senator Karanja criticized Governor Kihika, accusing her of being “incompetent and inhumane” for allegedly sabotaging health operations, resulting in the loss of lives at War Memorial Hospital. Karanja claimed that Kihika’s actions, including the closure of the hospital, had hindered medical care and led to the deaths of patients.

The senator also alleged that Governor Kihika had laid off over 500 health workers in July, replacing them with incompetent individuals. She linked Kihika’s actions to disruptions in other healthcare facilities in the county, including Mai Mahiu Hospital, Naivasha Hospital, Gilgil, and Njoro, claiming that these actions had jeopardized the health sector and contributed to the death of Mau-Narok Sacco chairperson, David Kimani.

“What Nakuru residents have experienced since Friday 19, after the arrest of the doctors of WMH, it is something that has never been anywhere in the world, and we can never forgive the governor,” Senator Karanja declared.

The ownership dispute over the 25-acre piece of land hosting War Memorial Hospital dates back to October 2023 when the Nakuru County government took over the management, alleging document forgery by the hospital’s directors. Last week, patients were forcefully transferred to the Nakuru Provisional General Hospital Annex Wing due to the ongoing dispute.

The legal battle took a new twist with the Office of Public Prosecution (ODPP) announcing charges against five individuals, including Nakuru War Memorial Hospital Directors Simon Watene and Roger Joslyn, land surveyor Kipkemboi Kigen, and Ministry of Lands officials Peter Nzuki Mutwiwa and Stephen Kihengo Mwaura. The allegations involve fraudulently obtaining documents for the renewal of a lease title that expired in 2021.

The prosecution, gearing up for a trial scheduled to begin on July 31, 2024, has lined up 26 witnesses. According to the ODPP statement, the accused are alleged to have forged lease documents to secure a 50-year lease title for the 25-acre piece of land hosting War Memorial Hospital.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the fate of War Memorial Hospital remains uncertain. The High Court’s order for the county government to vacate the facility adds a layer of complexity to an already contentious situation. The potential impeachment of Governor Susan Kihika further highlights the gravity of the crisis, with political ramifications echoing beyond Nakuru County.

The coming months promise intense legal battles, political maneuvering, and public scrutiny as the stakeholders involved navigate the intricate web of allegations, counterclaims, and the pressing need to restore normalcy to War Memorial Hospital and the broader healthcare sector in Nakuru.


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