Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza impeached for the second time in 10 months

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza when she appeared before a 11-member Senate special committee at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi last year. 

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza has been impeached for the second time in 10 months after all 59 ward reps present supported a motion tabled by Majority leader Evans Mawira.

However, 10 MCAs who opposed the impeachment process were not present in the assembly.

Speaker Ayub Bundi allowed debate on the motion to proceed after affirming that 64 out of 69 MCAs had appended their signatures hence meeting the threshold needed for the tabling of such proceedings.

An attempt by the governor’s lawyers to stop the debate on various technicalities was ignored, with the Speaker maintaining that the debate should proceed.

Governor Mwangaza was first impeached by the county assembly in December last year barely three months into office but the resolution was overturned by the Senate on December 30, 2022.

The governor is accused of misappropriation and misuse of county resources, nepotism and unethical acts, vilification and demeaning of other leaders, illegal appointments and usurpation of statutory powers.

Other accusations are contempt of court, illegal naming of a public road after her husband and contempt of the assembly.

While tabling the motion, Mr Mawira said the grounds against the governor were gross and well substantiated.

“The governor has grossly violated county laws and brought her office into disrepute. Past efforts by this assembly to summon members of the executive have failed. This is why we have resolved to give the highest punishment to the senior most head of the county executive,” Mr Mawira said.

He said the county had lost more than Sh16 million following the governor’s move to send four executives on compulsory leave while on full salary for a year.

However, Ms Mwangaza, who was represented in the assembly by seven lawyers led by Mr Danstan Omari and Mr Elias Mutuma, dismissed the motion as defective and insufficient.

Mr Omari kicked off his defence by poking holes into the impeachment motion, citing the assembly for breaching the process as well as its standing orders.

“How did this motion of impeachment pass the threshold to be a subject of discussion? I urge the assembly to reconsider its decision and allow the matters before court to be determined,” Mr Omari said.

While referring to several active court cases, Mr Mutuma sought the Speaker’s directions on whether debate would proceed.

However, Speaker Ayub Bundi declined to comment on the issues raised by the lawyers, saying the motion would proceed.

Lawyer Mutuma faulted the impeachment process on grounds that the MCAs were acting under duress and instructions from outside.

But all MCAs who contributed to the debate supported the impeachment motion, arguing that all attempts to keep the executive in check had failed.

They also dismissed the assertion by the governor’s lawyers that the motion was sub judice, arguing that the assembly is operating within the principle of separation of powers.

They also denied taking an oath at the Njuri Ncheke shrine and acting on instructions from outsiders.

“The allegation that MCAs took an oath at the Njuri Ncheke shrine and were under threat is false. What happened at the Njuri Ncheke shrine were Ameru traditional prayers,” Abogeta West MCA Denis Kiogora said.

Muthara MCA Aurelio Murangiri said the governor breached the principles of good governance and abused her office.

“You cannot use your office to give your relatives or yourself undue advantage at the expense of public interest,” he said.