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UNCONSTITUTIONAL

My impeachment motion illegal, Ngilu says as lawyers harassed

Governor has obtained conservatory orders temporarily suspending debate on her removal bid

In Summary

• The governor says speaker wrote to her before the lapse of seven days as required. 

• Says public participation was not done. 

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu
EMBATTLED: Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU

 

 

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has moved to court to stop her impeachment by the county assembly, saying the motion is unconstitutional.

 

Ngilu on Thursday last week obtained conservatory court orders from the High Court in Nairobi suspending Monday’s tabling and debate on the impeachment motion sponsored by Majority leader Peter Kilonzo.

The assembly was served with the court orders by lawyer Morris Kimuli on Friday. The orders suspended debate on the motion until the main suit in which Ngilu has sued the county assembly and speaker George Ndotto is heard and determined.

In the suit papers seen by the Star on Monday, Ngilu said there were illegalities in the process of the motion, questioning the manner in which Kilonzo and Ndotto approved it for tabling.

Ngilu said the two wrote to her notifying her of the motion before the lapse of the constitutional deadline.

The governor said Standing Orders stipulate that with the speaker’s approval of such a motion, the sponsor shall proceed to give seven days notice calling for the impeachment of the governor. Ngilu says Ndotto erred when he wrote to her about the impeachment before the lapse of seven days.

Ngilu said Kilonzo filed the impeachment motion on June 16 with Ndotto writing to her five days later on June 23.

The speaker sought the governor's defence in utter contravention of Standing Orders, Ngilu said. She also picked holes on the public participation process for the  impeachment motion.

 

On Monday, Ngilu's lawyers Morris Kimuli and Martin Oloo were violently ejected from the county assembly premises for allegedly attempting to intercept Ndotto’s procession.

The two lawyers had accessed the assembly at around 10am when they ran into  trouble with the orderlies.

Both Kimuli and Oloo were shoved out of the county assembly premises after attempting to intercept Ndotto who was in a procession to the assembly chambers for start of business.

The two lawyers who were in company of some aides were blocked by the orderlies who pushed and shoved them outside the assembly precincts.

“They had attempted to commit a grievous mistake by trying to intercept the speaker’s procession. It is extremely official and hallowed and no person is allowed to interfere with the procession lest they bear the consequences,” assembly head of communication Mutetei Mutisya said.

In court papers, Ngilu said the Kitui assembly failed to abide by the mandatory constitutional provision demanding that the assembly should facilitate public participation on such a move.

She says although the clerk to the assembly placed a public notice on the impeachment motion asking members of the public to fill questionnaires, giving the impression of public participation, it fell short of the constitutional threshold.

The governor questioned the legality of giving the people of Kitui a three-day notice to get involved and participate in the impeachment motion.

“The notice as structured does not guarantee credibility and there is no mechanism of verifying the authenticity of the interviewees,” Ngilu said.

Kitui county has a population of 1.13 million people with a vote enrolment of 474,512. Ngilu said that number is too big to be given just three days for public participation.

“The foregoing even becomes impractical given the prevailing circumstances in respect to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ngilu said.

 

Edited by P.O