Governor Mwangaza moves to court to block her impeachment
Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza on Thursday moved to court seeking to bar members of the county assembly (MCAs) from debating an impeachment motion against her set for Wednesday next week.
Meru High Court Judge Thripsisa Cherere certified the matter as urgent and set a hearing for Monday afternoon.
Justice Cherere also ordered Ms Mwangaza to serve the assembly and Speaker Ayub Bundi, whom she names the first and second respondents, respectively, by close of business Thursday.
She also directed the respondents to file and serve their responses by close of business Friday, while the governor was asked to file and serve further affidavits by 9am on Monday.
Through lawyer Mutuma Gichuru, Ms Mwangaza said that allowing the motion to proceed would be unfair to her because its outcome was pre-determined as 68 of the 69 MCAs supported it.
She expressed fears that the county assembly would not act as an impartial arbitrator and thus would violate her rights to have the dispute determined before an independent and impartial body.
The governor argued that the motion was incurably incompetent and defective as it was issued by Mr Charles Launi, the county assembly deputy clerk, who signed off as the acting clerk.
She argues that the position of the assembly clerk fell vacant on November 19 and the process of finding a replacement had not started.
Ms Mwangaza also wants the court to suspend letters issued by Mr Launi this week inviting her to respond and appear before the assembly for the impeachment motion.
MCAs, she said, only kicked off a public participation drive on the anticipated motion this week by calling members of the public to submit their views and make presentations.
Ms Mwangaza asked the court to grant her conservatory orders suspending the tabling, debating and considering and or acting upon the impeachment motion dated November 21 by MCAs.
She also sought conservatory orders prohibiting the respondents from discussing, debating or dealing with the impeachment motion against her.
She claims the orders would "curtail any further infringement and derail a sham process which is maliciously carried out in a surreptitious manner constituting a flagrant subversion of the constitution and the majority will of the residents of Meru County".
Ms Mwangaza says she was popularly elected governor of Meru by a vast majority of voters and residents had a legitimate expectation that she would serve a full term of five years.
The governor says that soon after assuming office, she and MCAs became involved in tussles over the ward development fund.
They held a consultative meeting attended by Ms Mwangaza, county assembly leaders and the controller of budget, and the latter dismissed the fund as illegal.
She claims the fund was the source of her tribulations because soon after, she was invited to respond and appear before the assembly for the motion of impeachment.
Ms Mwangaza dismissed the framing of the impeachment motion that accused her of flouting the Employment Act, arguing that the matter was pending in the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Meru.
She said the action was sub judice (under judicial consideration and thus prohibited from public discussion elsewhere) and a violation of county assembly Standing Order number 90 and is tantamount to interference with the independence of the Judiciary.