What you need to know:
- We have had cases of county assembly speakers, too.
- But most Kenyans think any impeachment must lead to the accused losing office.
The Constitution provides for impeachment of the President, Deputy President and governors and their deputies. But it is the county bosses who have borne the brunt of impeachments. We have had cases of county assembly speakers, too.
Impeachment is the act of calling into question the integrity or validity of a process. It is a charge of misconduct made against a holder of a public office. ‘Impeach’ comes from Latin ‘impedicare’, meaning to catch or entangle.
Save for county assembly speakers and majority and minority leaders, who seem to be at the mercy of marauding MCAs without recourse to a review by the Senate, impeachment should not in itself remove an official from office.
Similar to an indictment in criminal procedures, it is, essentially, a statement of charges against the official. But most Kenyans think any impeachment must lead to the accused losing office.
It is precisely because the process was bound to be abused that there are checks and balances to ensure fair hearing and natural justice.
While most impeached speakers have sought court intervention, governors have an advantage as the Senate is mandated to review their impeachments, giving them a second chance.
But it is the crude, unskillful and rough-and-ready tactics that MCAs employ that turn them into ‘Haunters of the Deep’.
On July 9, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the County Governments (Amendment) Bill 2020 that removed the requirement that a court of law must approve any initiative to recall an MCA.
This will, no doubt, make governors immune to MCAs’ threats and blackmail. Working with voters, they should turn the heat on conniving ward reps if they continue with their abuse the power to impeach as if it is the only way to hold county executives to account.
Mr Churchill is presiding convener of Civil Society Reference Group, [email protected] .