The governor of Nyamira, a region in western Kenya, is on the spot, facing possible impeachment on Tuesday next week.
Some 28 of the 34 members of the County Assembly (MCA) signed a petition to impeach Governor Amos Nyaribo on nine counts, including abuse of office, misuse of public funds, favouritism, irregular recruitment of staff and ignoring court orders.
Nyaribo was re-elected last year under the opposition United Progressive Alliance party.
The lawmakers accuse the governor of misappropriating Ksh444m ($3000) that was meant for development projects in the county.
MCA Josiah Mang’era, who sponsored a 19-page motion, says they have a strong case and he is confident that the governor will soon be tossed out of office.
“We have laid our evidence, we have witnesses,” he said.
The push is meant to improve public services and improve economic activities for their constituents who depend on banana and tea farming, says MCA Minda Riech, who supports his impeachment.
“We are not doing this because of personal reasons. We are the only county in the country without street lights. We want a better county,” he said.
Progress in the county is too slow, says Nyamira town resident Dennis Nyangweso, who supports the governor’s impeachment.
“I’m ashamed of my county. 10 years down the line, we still have poor housing and no electricity in our town,” he tells The Africa Report.
How can a Governor be impeached?
Article 181 of the constitution provides grounds for removing a governor from office, which include:
- Gross violation of the Constitution or any other law;
- Serious reasons to believe that the county governor has committed a crime under the national or international law;
- Abuse of office or gross misconduct;
- Physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of the office of the county governor.
Section 33 of the County Governments Act gives powers to members of county assemblies to impeach their county governor by a notice to the speaker.
If Nyaribo is impeached, a special sitting will also be held at the national Senate in the capital, Nairobi, where a special committee will be formed to also investigate the charges brought before them and decide on his fate.
Nyaribo is the second county leader facing impeachment process since the 2022 election after Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza was ousted last December by the Senate. She survived, but is now facing a second impeachment bid.
A symptom of the national problem
Nyaribo says he remains unbowed over allegations against him, which he terms as false and malicious.
He accuses his political enemies of sponsoring his impeachment motion, to derail his development agenda.
“No one will intimidate me. I was elected by the people, who have the last say over my fate,” he told a gathering despite calls for truce from religious leaders.
The events taking shape in Nyamira County is a symptom of a bigger problem and a clear sign of a bad working relationship between governors and MCAs across the country, Alenga Torosterdt, policy and governance analyst, tells The Africa Report.
“MCAs feel demeaned by governors. The two institutions must respect each other to deliver for the people,” he says.
He adds that MCAs do not trust governors when it comes to spending county funds and employing staff.
“Governors should avoid running county affairs alone. They should always consult,” he says, adding that inclusivity is the only solution for building bridges between county leaders.
Source: The Africa Report