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November 15, 2018

Besieged county speakers now want their impeachment decided by Senate

The County Assembly Forum wants enhanced protection for county speakers and their impeachment process amended to the threshold of governors.

Intergovernmental Legal Committee chairman Joshua Kiptoo yesterday told senators that the current law where speakers can be impeached within hours is disastrous to the war on corruption in the counties.

He claimed that assembly speakers have resorted to playing safe at the expense of steering the house to oversight the executive for fear of being impeached.

Kiptoo said CAF has already drafted a petition to the Senate to have members have a final say on the fate of impeached speakers.

Like governors, the speakers want their impeachment once passed by the assemblies to proceed to the Senate for reconsideration.

As it is, governors under the County Government Act, 2012 can only be sent home after an MCA moves a censure motion which must be supported by a third of all the members to impeach a governor by notice to the speaker.

Read: Why Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi has been impeached

More: Not even Raila’s call could save Elachi from Nairobi MCAs’ ire

The motion must then be supported by two-thirds of the MCAs and if successful the county Speaker must notify the Senate within two days of the resolution.

The senate then forms the committee to probe the matter, where the impeached governor is allowed to defend himself or herself.

 The committee is required to present within 10 days a report in the House on its findings, which are heard before the Senate. 

“As speakers, we are the most vulnerable group in this country. We live one day at a time. MCAs can choose one evening to impeach you and the following morning the motion is tabled and you are sent home within hours,” Kiptoo, who is the Nandi county speaker, said.

“We need an appeal process where once you are impeached you can turn for reconsideration. When the speaker is certain that his or her office is secured, then he or she can steer the assembly towards oversighting the executive.”

In the last one month, Homa Bay, Nairobi, Kakamega, Nyandarua and Kisumu assemblies have been rocked by chaos, as MCAs fight to remove their speakers.

Homa Bay and Nairobi speakers have challenged their ousters at the High Court.

On Tuesday, the court in Kisumu reinstated Homa Bay speaker Elizabeth Ayoo pending the determination of her case.

CAF also accused governors of sponsoring impeachments motions against speakers in a political witch hunt. “Up to three-quarters of these motions are driven by the executive, where governors are coming out to sort the speakers who don’t toe the line.”

Kiptoo appeared before the Senate’s Justice and Legal Committee chaired by Nandi senator Samson Cherargei to shed light on the rampant corruption in the county assemblies.

More: Homa Bay MCAs impeach speaker over incompetence, bias

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