Showdown looms as senators debate Kisii Deputy Governor Robert Monda impeachment

Robert Monda

Kisii Deputy Governor Robert Monda.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A political showdown is looming in the Senate with the lawmakers set to consider the impeachment of Kisii Deputy Governor Robert Monda.

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi is today expected to communicate Dr Monda’s impeachment resolution before the House, setting the stage for intense lobbying ahead of the hearing.

Impeachment hearings in the Senate have often taken a political angle with party lines being drawn during the process. 

With party politics set to take centre stage, the supremacy battle between the Kenya Kwanza Alliance and the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party is expected to determine the fate of the embattled DG.

Dr Monda was impeached on Thursday last week after 53 out of the 70 MCAs voted in favour of the impeachment motion. He becomes the second deputy governor to face the Senate since the 2022 elections following in the footsteps of Siaya’s William Oduol, who was saved by the House.

On Saturday, Kisii County Assembly Speaker Phillip Nyanumba officially notified Mr Kingi of the impeachment resolutions as stipulated in Section 33 (2)(a) of the County Governments Act.

The law requires the Speaker of the county assembly to inform the Speaker of the Senate of the resolution of the regional parliament within two days.

The development paved the way for the speaker to notify the House of the receipt of the resolutions and lay the case for hearing within seven days.

According to Section 33(3) of the Act, the receipt of the notification will set in motion a seven-day period for Mr Kingi to read out the charges the county assembly has brought against Dr Monda.

Thereafter, the hearing of the impeachment shall commence, as per the Standing Orders and Section 33 of the County Governments Act. 

Dr Monda was impeached on grounds of gross violation of the constitution, abuse of office, gross misconduct and crimes under national law. The mover of the impeachment motion, Ichuni MCA Wycliffe Siocha, accused Dr Monda of taking a bribe of Sh800,000 from a poor, jobless and desperate youth from Kisii in exchange for an employment opportunity, which was not forthcoming.

The DG, who was represented by lawyers Katwa Kigen and Wilkins Ochoki, denied all the charges levelled against him.

“We expect that due process shall be followed to give the deputy governor and the people of Kisii justice,” Narok Senator and Minority Whip Ledama Olekina told Nation yesterday.

Nairobi Senator and Deputy Minority Whip Edwin Sifuna said the lawmakers will not make any judgment before seeing the particulars of the charges levelled against the DG and the evidence supporting the accusations.

“I am waiting for the communication and the impeachment bundle to go through in order to determine the case objectively just like we have done with other ouster cases,” said Mr Sifuna, who is also the Orange Democratic Movement secretary-general.

Kisii Senator Richard Onyonka said the Senate will follow due process while using the Constitution as the guide.

He expressed optimism that the process will be free and fair and justice will be dispensed in accordance with the law.

“If we find that he has committed an offence, we will uphold the impeachment but if we find that he is just being fought politically, then the Senate will acquit him,” said Mr Onyonka.

Upon notification, the Senate, by resolution, will appoint a special committee of 11 members to investigate the matter or hear the case in plenary. 

If the Senate chooses the committee approach, the team will investigate the matter and report to the Senate within 10 days.

The deputy governor will have the right to appear and be represented before the special committee during its investigations.

But if the Senate decides to do hear the case as a committee of the whole House, he will be tried in plenary.

If the Senate committee finds the particulars of the charges unsubstantiated, that will be the end of the matter.

But if the special committee finds proof on any of the grounds, the Senate shall proceed to vote on impeachment charges.

However, the vote will only take place after an assurance that the deputy governor has received a fair hearing.

If a majority of the senators, 24 in this case, vote to uphold the impeachment charge, the deputy governor will cease to hold office.

On the other hand, if the MPs vote to reject the impeachment charge, the Senate Speaker shall notify the Speaker of the county assembly of the decision.

Should he be impeached by the Senate, the deputy governor also has an opportunity to appeal the resolutions in a court of law.

This will be the second time the Senate will be hearing an impeachment case against a deputy governor following Mr Oduol’s case.

Last year, the senators heard and dismissed — by a majority vote — the ouster bid against Governor James Orengo’s deputy.