Ruling in Governor Mwangaza impeachment case could come hours after MCAs’ debate

Ndegwa Njiru

Lawyers Ndegwa Njiru makes his submissions before Meru High court judge Thripsisa Cherere on November 28, 2022, during the hearing of a petition filed by Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza seeking to bar the county MCAs from tabling an impeachment motion against her slated for November 30, 2022.

Photo credit: Charles Wanyoro I Nation Media Group

The Meru High Court will Wednesday afternoon rule on whether to stop the tabling of an impeachment motion against Governor Kawira Mwangaza, while members of the county assembly (MCAs) plan to table it in the morning.

Justice Thripsisa Cherere said she would rule on Ms Mwangaza’s request for conservatory orders at 2.30pm, with MCAs planning to kick off debate on the motion at 10am the same day.

Ms Mwangaza wants MCAs barred from tabling, debating and considering and or acting upon the impeachment motion dated November 21.

She contends that allowing the motion to proceed would be unfair to her because her fate had been sealed as 68 of the assembly’s 69 MCAs supported it.

But MCAs insist that the High Court did not have jurisdiction at this stage to stop the assembly from proceeding with the motion.

This came as 10 residents filed a fresh suit alleging that Ms Mwangaza was being targeted for removal because of her gender.

Police Meru Court

Police in anti-riot gear stand guard outside the Meru High court on November 28, 2022, during the hearing of a petition filed by Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza seeking to bar her impeachment by the county MCAs slated for November 30, 2022

Photo credit: Charles Wanyoro I Nation Media Group

In an affidavit sworn by Jude Karole, they say many politicians vowed that the Meru government would never be led by a woman governor and hatched a plot to impeach her immediately after she won the August election.

She claims that impeachment motion mover, Dennis Kiogora (Abogeta West), had appeared on TV before the elections and urged voters not to elect Ms Mwangaza.

“He warned the electorate that if they made the mistake of electing her, then he would ensure that she is impeached soon after assuming office,” the petitioner says through lawyer Ndegwa Njiru. 

“It is only today (Tuesday) that they were holding the public participation forum in one location, yet Meru has a population of over one million people.” 

On Monday, lawyers Muthomi Thiankolu and Mugambi Mawira urged the court to strike out the petition filed by Ms Mwangaza, arguing that it was being used to fight political battles.

They said Ms Mwangaza would not be prejudiced as she would be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations before the assembly.

“The county assembly must be allowed to proceed with its legal mandate, the court should only intervene when rights have been violated,” Mr Muthomi said. 

“At one time, the court made it difficult to prosecute people facing criminal cases. The court will have killed Article 181 of the Constitution. If it entertains it, people will be rushing to court and getting orders halting their prosecution.”

But lawyer Mutuma Gichuru, for Ms Mwangaza, said she had rights before the court, insisting that she was being dragged through a flawed process.

“No institution is immune from the court process. The Constitution gives this court powers to grant such orders; you don't have to wait for the Supreme Court,” he argued. 

“This court has in the past issued such orders in the Wajir impeachment motion yet the orders were not contested or annulled.”