Close

IMPEACHMENT

Will Uhuru save Governor Waiguru?

The Special Committee should hold the hearings to determine whether the charges are credible.

In Summary

• It does not take much to see her troubles could be the work of Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and other political foes from within and without

• Kibicho is an unassuming though powerful individual and even though Waiguru has a long history with the president and remains a close ally, she is not as powerful as he is.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru
Image: FILE

In politics, there are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends, only permanent interest, so goes the saying.

Your friend today will be your enemy tomorrow and vice versa.

An enemy of your enemy is your friend.

 

When any of these things happen in life, you are sure to have a surprising outcome between and among the players involved.

When all three converge in action, you are bound to have an even more surprising, if not shocking outcome.

When Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga stepped outside Harambee House and shook hands on March 9, 2018, all these three elements were present, producing a shocking outcome as no one expected the handshake.

Less than a few months later, Uhuru unwittingly started the “Tangatanga” movement when he said Ruto was roaming the country on weekends.

This came as a total surprise as everyone assumed the two were joined at the hip, and that therefore could not even criticise one another.

Everyone, that is, except those who already knew by then this was a broken political marriage with no prospect for reconciliation.

On November 2, 2018, Uhuru broke his silence on the still raging succession talk to say who whomever he will pick as his successor will shock us.

 

That was the first significant public indication Uhuru was done with Ruto and will likely, therefore,  not back him for President.

Could Uhuru have meant his handshake partner Raila Odinga to be the one he would back?

That remains to be seen but backing Raila will certainly be a surprise and a shock to those who hate him.

Meanwhile, when then Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru got into trouble in connection with the NYS scandal, many were surprised Uhuru did not come to her rescue.

Uhuru did initially come to Waiguru’s defence, but pressure mounted for him to do something about the scandalous heist at NYS. This, no doubt, had the President in a bind because Waiguru was not just any ordinary CS, but a long-time aide and friend.

Given the mounting pressure, however, something had to give and in this case, friendship was out of the window—or had to be.

Waiguru then sought a second life in politics as Kirinyaga governor, and she succeeded in being elected to that office.

After assuming office as governor, the national government sought to have her allocate 100 acres for the Sh15 billion Kenya Medical Research Institute project.

The governor refused to hand over the title, forcing the government to compulsorily take it.

Shortly thereafter, impeachment moves by Kirinyaga MCAs went into high gear and in no time, Waiguru was impeached.

The fact that MCAs succeeded to impeach her under Covid-19 restrictive conditions points to the higher up in Jubilee leadership having okayed it. That might include the President.

Which begs the question, why would Uhuru not save Waiguru this time?

The short answer is distancing himself from Waiguru is exactly what he needs to do. In other words, this is de javu back to NYS scandal days.

Uhuru has since taken a tough stance on corruption and the last thing he wants as he re-builds his legacy, are charges he is protecting his corrupt friends and cronies—or those accused of corruption.

The motion to impeach Waiguru was based on allegations she abused her powers, engaged in gross misconduct, and irregular awarding tenders.

Hard to believe, however, Waiguru is also accused of irregularly allocating herself money from the county’s petty cash fund for use in trips abroad.

This accusation must have tipped the scale for Uhuru to distance himself yet again from Waiguru because, if true, it borders on “mtado” arrogance.

It also does not take much to see her troubles could be the work of Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and other political foes from within and without, including Ruto himself.

Kibicho is an unassuming though powerful individual and even though Waiguru has a long history with the president and remains a close ally, she is not as powerful as he is.

However, she has been in the process of building up on what she has, to possibly emerge as a powerful woman in the region and in her own right.

The power-play between the two is such that Kibicho has the upper hand. But will Kibicho now vanquish Waiguru in the Senate impeachment proceedings against her?

Again, it is not clear Kibicho is behind the impeachment moves by these Kirinyaga MCAs, but it is enough these two have a feud going on and it may as well be the fuel that propelled the engines.

Remember your enemy’s enemy is your friend. So, in this case the political enmity, whether real or perceived, between Kibicho and Waiguru could have easily helped her other political enemies to finish her politically.

My belief is Kibicho would rather watch and see whether Uhuru comes to Waiguru’s rescue, which he will not do.

Uhuru has more to gain if Waiguru is not impeached than if she is, but he cannot openly come to her rescue.

The only person who can save Waiguru other than Uhuru is Raila.

The County Government Act requires in Article 33 that charges of impeachment against a governor be heard in a Special Committee of 11 senators. Senate rules, however, make this optional.

The senate will decide on Tuesday whether to refer the charges to the Special Committee or have them heard and disposed in the full senate.

The better route would be to have the Special Committee hold the hearings to determine whether the charges are credible.

With Raila on her side, and the president not calling for her head, Waiguru may just survive the impeachment to continue playing the key role she is in bringing BBI across the finish line.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator